An intrepid great white shark nicknamed Lydia is off having the journey of a lifetime, and the public is getting to follow along on the unprecedented adventure. She's crossing the Atlantic ocean, but she's not alone. The 14-foot-long shark carries a satellite tracking tag and her movements are constantly updated on the Ocearch Shark Tracker site.
Lydia isn't the first shark to be tracked by Ocearch, a nonprofit ocean predator research organization, but she is the first tracked shark to go gallivanting all the way across the Atlantic on a personal cruise. The map of her movements is impressive. She has traveled around 20,000 miles since she was tagged about a year ago.
Lydia's path seems unusually ambitious for a great white. Tracking expedition leader Chris Fischer told the BBC he believes she may be pregnant and gestating her babies. Her ultimate destination could be in the Mediterranean in waters the sharks are known to use as a nursery.
The tracking technology updates every time her fin gets above the surface of the water, so her whereabouts tend to be updated multiple times throughout any given day.
In order to bring the tracking online, Ocearch had to first tag the animal. She was trapped in waters near Florida, raised onto a platform, and then examined and tagged on her dorsal fin while she was still awake. She was then released to continue on her way.
She is now giving researchers a unique window into the lives of great whites, especially considering her unusual penchant for long trips. If she keeps this up, we're not going to need a bigger boat; we're going to need a bigger ocean.