Deep Blue, the Massive, 20ft-long Great White Shark Thought to Be Biggest on Record, Spotted Off Hawaii Coast

A great white shark, believed to be one of the biggest on record, has been spotted off the coast of Hawaii.

Divers found the huge creature, named Deep Blue, as she fed on a dead sperm whale, around nine miles from the coast off the Hawaiian island of Oahu, KHON2 reported. Dr. Melanie Hutchinson, a shark expert at the University of Hawaii, told KHON2 the animal is thought to measure between 15 to 21 feet in length.

Read more: Video: Great white shark swims inches from kayaker's boat off California coast

Hutchinson said some of her friends were out at sea searching for tiger sharks when they spotted Deep Blue. She said it was a "fun surprise" for them when they noticed her.

The animals have been gathering in the spot "forever," she added.

"About 20% of the population from California and Mexico migrate here every year or every other year," Hutchinson explained.

The sharks generally gather in Hawaii in the winter when they carry out deep dives during the day, she said, meaning they're not typically spotted by humans.

"I think the sperm whale kind of presented an opportunistic foraging opportunity so that's probably why people saw this animal," Hutchinson said.

Divers were able to identify the shark as Deep Blue thanks to a tag she was given when she was found off the coast of Guadalupe Island around two decades ago.

Mark Mohler, a diver who snapped photos of Deep Blue, wrote on Facebook: "Deep Blue, possibly the biggest White Shark identified, coming in at nearly 7 meters, was last spotted in Mexico."

He said she had come to Hawaii for an "all-you-can-eat vacation."

Mohler wrote that fellow diver Kimberly Jeffries was the first to see her on 13 January, and the pair confirmed Deep Blue's identity with the white shark authority.

As Deep Blue fed, she spread "chunks of whale and oil" in the water, he wrote. "Thank you all for the surface support, surface photos and videos, and putting up with the smell," half-joked Mohler to fellow divers in his Facebook post.

ABC-affiliate KITV reported that Deep Blue found the whale carcass after it washed up on Sand Island last week, and was later towed out into the ocean.

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The legendary animal even has its own human-run spoof Twitter account, and has appeared on the Discovery Channel's Shark Week.

Hutchinson told KHON2 that although great white sharks don't group together in schools like other species, it's likely other sharks could be attracted by the whale carcass, too. Amateur divers are advised to keep away from Deep Blue, she said.

shark gett stock
A great white shark, similar to Deep Blue who was spotted off the coast of Hawaii. Getty Images

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