Bon voyage, Mary Lee

  • Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Charleston, the Lowcountry and indeed the entire state take well-earned pride in our shared reputation for Southern hospitality.

But while guests from elsewhere are welcome when they come to enjoy our gracious place, the recent exit of one particular visitor is quite a relief.

That tourist who headed back northward is known simply as Mary Lee.

She’s a 3,500-pound great white shark who lingered off the Southeast coast for weeks. Tagged with a tracking device, she was near the South Carolina-Georgia border on Jan. 19 — in other words, near here.

But according to researchers in Long Island, N.Y., Mary Lee was back in their vicinity as of last Thursday.

She was originally tagged in September off Cape Cod, Mass. Her relatively rapid return to Northern waters, after going as far south as Jacksonville, caught experts by surprise.

Chris Fischer, founder of OCEARCH, which studies great whites and other large marine species, told The Associated Press:

“Lo and behold, Mary Lee goes down there for a little while and then bugs out and now she’s off Long Island and we realize we don’t know anything.”

But lo and behold, we know this:

It’s OK with us if Mary Lee finds another destination for her next winter vacation.

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