BRRRR, SHARKS FREEZING SOLID IN THE OCEAN
If you’re currently in the United States you’re either too cold or too hot. But this past week you were most likely too cold. And by cold we mean freezing. Freak winter Storm Grayson has set some serious records for snow, wind and damage up and down the Eastern seaboard. But have you ever heard of frozen sharks? In the ocean? On New Year’s Eve people found a fourth frozen thresher shark near Cape Cod. In the ocean. Think about that for a second. That’s how you know winter isn’t coming, it’s here and with a vengeance. Frozen sharks is a cold deal.
WE NEED A WARMER BOAT, WINTER STORM MEETS JAWS
The Cape Code Times reported on the fourth frozen shark just after the New Year. People found the shark on an “ice pack,” which is an area of floating ice on the ocean, near Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Evidently, thresher sharks aren’t too good at generating their own heat. What that really means is that they really aren’t good at generating heat, as most sharks don’t tend to anyway. And no, you aren’t going crazy if thresher sharks sound familiar. In Jaws, that’s the kind of shark that tore apart Hooper’s childhood boat, as performed by Richard Drefuss. But Hooper never saw a frozen shark. And the northeast hasn’t freezing sharks in a winter storm before.
SHARKS CONFUSED, BUT WHY? IT’S FREAKING COLD, THAT’S WHY
But of course scientists can’t agree on how or why this happened. Except that maybe the sharks were confused. But why were they confused? I think it’s because it was so damn cold. But most sharks tend to travel in groups, which is maybe what happened to these threshers. “All sharks travel in same sex and size groups. It’s normal for them to be traveling together. Freezing together, not normal,” said Michelle Wcisel, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s program director. Clearly, the water got cold faster than he sharks could escape. Right? It’s certainly a freak event.
SCIENTISTS AGREE TO DISAGREE, BUT IT’S DAMN COLD, RIGHT?
But Greg Skomal, the senior fisheries scientist for Massachusetts’ Department of Fish and Game, had a different opinion. “The rapid cooling associated with this cold snap and water temps is forcing the sharks to move south at a faster pace, and the landmass of Cape Cod is contributing to them getting stranded in shallow water.” Well, now I’m confused. Cause it sounds like the sharks were confused, and stranded. I hope I don’t freeze too!
ONCE IN A LIFETIME FREAK STORM, OR FROZEN SHARKS NEW NORMAL?
But hey, this is clearly a different kind of winter system to start the New Year. Just so long as frozen sharks isn’t something we see on Shark Week. Or maybe this is the start of a new phenomenon, and we’ll see Tiger sharks and Great Whites frozen soon, too. But that would be even more confusing.