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upfront most nets. And Hatteras falls on the superhighway for a number of oceanic species. The nearby presence of the Gulf Stream interacting with cooler water makes it incredibly productive and it makes sense for a white shark to take advantage.”



Don’t worry. The predators mostly follow the continental shelf, scavenging whales and feeding on tuna, smaller sharks or the occasional porpoise. And while random seals have appeared along the Outer Banks beaches in recent winters, it takes a concentrated, year-round population for white sharks to take notice. And they don’t seem to be staying long enough to look around. (Tags show the average travel time between Cape Cod and Florida is less than two months, with individuals spending just 10 days off Hatteras.) All of which explains why there are no documented attacks and only one or two sightings a year.


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“I’ve spent a lot of time out on the water, and that’s still the only one I’ve ever seen off North Carolina,” says Captain Charles Perry, whose 2004 clip of an 18-foot female remains a YouTube favorite. “I just wish I’d followed it. After some scientist friends in Monterey saw the footage they told me it looked like she was ready to spawn. And nobody’s ever witnessed that before.” Which explains why Skomal is asking fishermen to keep watch ahead of time. The more eyes looking in the magic months between October and December — or March and May — the greater chance somebody will witness something important as they tackle their next objective in the ongoing effort to understanding this mysterious species.


“At this point, we want to tag whites off the Southeastern U.S.,” says Skomal. “Much depends on whether or not we can find them. But, if we get credible reports, we will mobilize and head south quickly.”

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It’s a whirling blur of neon wheels and purple knee socks. Black helmets and blazing tattoos. Hard concrete and brutal heat. There’s laughter. Sweat. A couple coarse words and a few big spills. After an hour of sprints, bouts and “burpees in rollerskates,” all ten women collapse to chug water and check blisters. But this isn’t some new tough-love workout or “boot camp on wheels”; it’s regular practice for the Outer Banks’ latest sporting upstart: the Kill Devil Derby Brigade. “I wanted to start a team the moment I saw the outdoor skate rink at Aviation Park,” says Willow Lewis — aka “Rollin Bayou” — who played for Seattle’s Rat City Roller Girls before moving to Kill Devil Hills in 2009. “It’s good exercise. It’s super fun. And once you get the bug, it’s almost obsessive.”


A Taste of the Islands

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It’s also come a long way from the “ripped tights, fake fights” stereotype of ‘70s TV. By emphasizing athleticism and camaraderie over theatrics, modern “flat track racing” is an international craze with 117 leagues in the U.S. — including “Roller Girls” outfits in both Cape Fear and Raleigh. And while yesterday’s players tore fishnets, these ladies sometimes tear rotator cuffs. “That’s why we’re getting the skating skills up to speed before

DERBY’S come a long way from the “ripped tights, fake fights” stereotype of ‘70s TV.

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