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An Inlet's Great White Way

Because the water here is too cold for the shark to live year-round, scientists are considering how to coax it away if it does not leave. Suggestions have poured in from around the world, said Ann Dunnigan, who works in the visitor information center at the oceanographic institute.

An Australian diver offered his services to swim the fish back through the channel.

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"One mother from Nantucket e-mailed a suggestion from her 4-year-old son," Dunnigan said. "He thought we should get a big crane to lift it out of the water and deposit it somewhere else."

But in Woods Hole, where the shark has given new life to a sometimes slow fall tourist season, residents said they hope it sticks around for a while. As might be expected with fish stories, its reputed size has grown with its exposure.

"There is no way that thing is less than 17 feet," said Steve Murphy, who works in a rigging shop at the oceanographic institute, after he and two colleagues took a motorboat to see the shark during their lunch break Tuesday. "I've been on the water my whole life and never seen anything like that."

Mike Ryan, who grew up in Woods Hole and owns a charter fishing and tour boat company, estimated that he has shuttled more than 300 people out to see the great white since Friday. The shallow water makes small boats a must, so he and his crew have led 10 daily, six-person trips on a 22-foot dinghy. He charges $100 per journey.

"It has been quite a windfall for us," he said.

Over the weekend several hundred people lined up on the small marina, including one man who wore a shark emblazoned T-shirt and whose license plate read "Jaws75," said Matt Lundberg, who works for Ryan.

There was some pushing and shoving, Lundberg said, and many people were turned away for lack of space.

" 'Jaws' scared people away from the water," Lundberg, 20, said. "This thing is having the opposite effect."


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