>> Related: Katharine the great white shark returns to Florida waters
While George and Katharine have so far stayed far offshore, in 2013 another shark ventured closer to shore.
Mary Lee, a more than 16-foot long mature female, came close enough to shore that OCEARCH posted a note on its Facebook page alerting Jacksonville residents that the 3,500-pound shark was in the surf break off 6th Avenue South and 1st Street S.
Jacksonville Beach, FL residents and beach users please read. Mary Lee is a 16 1/2 ft, 3,500lbs mature female white...Posted by OCEARCH on Monday, January 7, 2013
That George is joining Katharine in Florida's winter waters is no news to shark researchers who published a paper in 2014 that looked at great white migrations. The research found many great whites spend their summer's in the northeast, and winter in the south from the Carolinas into the Gulf of Mexico.
"White sharks are generally a cool water species so that's why we see them down here mostly in the winter," said Dean Grubbs, associate director of research at Florida State University's Coastal and Marine Lab. "They may be following a food source. It's a pretty common migration for everything."
Greg Skomal, a scientist with the Massachusetts division of marine fisheries, said it's unusual for white sharks to come close to the beaches in Florida.
Unlike Massachusetts, where seals are shark prey and lure them close to shore, that's not the case in Florida where white shark meals are likely further out to sea.
"There is nothing to draw the white sharks that tight to shore in Florida," Skomal said. "There are not a lot of sightings right on the beach."