While many snowbirds head south toward Hilton Head Island this time of year, a shark named for the island appears content to stay well north of the U.S. border.
On Tuesday, at 4:26 a.m., Hilton the shark “pinged” — meaning the tag on his dorsal fin broke the surface of the water and sent a signal to a satellite — off the coast of Cross Island, Nova Scotia.
The great white shark measuring 12 feet, 5 inches, and weighing 1,326 pounds was tagged by researchers with Ocearch on March 3 during a mission dubbed “Expedition Lowcountry.” Since then, Hilton has traveled more than 5,200 miles and has spent the last several months crisscrossing the southeastern shore of Nova Scotia.
“Good morning. I can see the Cross Island Lighthouse from here!” HiltonTheShark tweeted on Tuesday morning to his nearly 18,000 followers.
Ocearch founder Chris Fischer told The Canadian Press in a report published Monday that he has an idea about why Hilton is hanging around Nova Scotia when most other sharks are heading for warmer water, and it’s not because Cross Island’s red-and-white lighthouse reminds him of one in Beaufort County.
“I believe he’s up there looking for love and has been all fall,” Fischer told the news agency. “They should only have one thing on their mind, and that’s making baby sharks.”
Fisher said Ocearch believes Nova Scotia’s waters could be a shark mating site and is looking to collaborate with Canadian scientists on research there.
The temperature on Cross Island on Tuesday about midday was in the low 30s, reported The Weather Network.
Great white sharks typically prefer water temperatures in the 60s and 70s, according to sharksider.com.
To track Hilton’s path, go to www.ocearch.org/profile/hilton.
Savannah, another great white shark tagged off the coast of Hilton Head Island two days after Hilton was tagged, pinged two weeks ago off the coast of Delaware and appeared to be on a track headed south.
The most recent shark tagged off Beaufort County, Harry-Etta, a pregnant tiger shark tagged in St. Helena Sound on Nov. 1, was recorded as being off the coast of St. Augustine, Fla., on Monday night.
Lisa Wilson: 843-706-8103