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Why Do Great White Sharks Congregate in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean?

Once a year, a large contingent of great white sharks that typically prowl the coast of California take a break from their hunting activities and head out to a remote spot in the Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Baja California and Hawaii. Scientists are not quite sure why these massive sharks, some as long as 22 feet (6.7 m), travel to what has become known as the "White Shark Café." It takes around 30 to 40 days for them to swim to this featureless and out-of-the-way spot. After they arrive, the male sharks inexplicably dive deep into the ocean, typically to depths of 1,000 feet (305 m), as often as every 10 minutes or so.

A great white mystery in the Pacific:

  • This secluded spot, technically known as the Shared Offshore Foraging Area, is a watery wasteland, with little prey to attract the sharks, and no apparent reason for this annual pilgrimage.
  • Some scientists believe that the most likely explanation is that this is where the great white sharks mate. But if this is indeed the reason for gathering at the White Shark Café, the mating activity is occurring deep in the ocean and has not been formally documented.
  • Both male and female sharks make the journey, along with juvenile sharks, leading some to discount the mating hypothesis. The sharks usually hang around at the White Shark Café from April to July.
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