Friday, November 30, 2012

Shark Attack at Makena

Shark attacks? No, really. Seriously? Like out of Jaws? Eeeekkkk! I’m not going in the water. No way!

Yes, Maui does have sharks in the waters. All the islands do. Most of the sharks are harmless, even regular sharks that have particular haunts and predictable behaviors, like certain gray sharks that have hang out in certain caves. They don’t usually like to hang around people, but every now and then, there are erratic sharks who defy prediction. Like the occasional drunk driver or lone gunman shooter.

A few weeks ago, DH and I saw this sign at the entrance to Big Beach (Oneloa Beach) at Makena State Park. By the way, no one really says Makena State Park or Oneloa Beach, despite what is on maps or websites. It’s always Big Beach.

Shark sighting: 11/7/12.
That's what a beach "closed" sign looks like...
It's too hard to close the ocean.

DH couldn’t resist a few silly sharky poses and we heard various rumors and tidbits as we walked along. The lifeguard passing by, said the beach is closed and don’t go in the water. DH asked, what about just up to the knees? The lifeguard said that was not a good idea as he whizzed by on his beachmobile.

True or false:
A.   It was a shark from the Galapagos Islands.
B.   It chomped on a woman’s leg three weeks ago as she stood in shallow water.
C.   The shark took a fish off a spear during a spearfishing trip
D.  The lifeguards found a diver’s body off the point.

After talking with a few more people, this is what we think is the real story. It was a rogue shark from the Galapagos. Yes, it traveled all this way to Hawaii and got off course. It did take a fish from a spear fisherman’s spear a couple of times. The spear fisherman whacked the shark a couple of times on the nose and was going to kill it, but it got away. (Big cojones, this one).  Answers to the above: A and C are true (as far as I know). B is sort of true - there was a shark attack at Makena Landing, a mile or so up the road. The last one I think was made up to really scare people, but there was a shark attack on a Maui diver in the waters around Wailuku recently.  

Lifeguards making their rounds around the point
between Big Beach and Little Beach. 

We had a beautiful day at the beach. Sunny and calm water. The lifeguards went back and forth on jet skis warning people to get out of the water, accompanied by true and perhaps fictionalized accounts. We didn’t see any sharks. The lifeguards even jetskied to the other beach, Little Beach to warn the nudists to stay out of the water.  

I confess, I did go into the water quickly a couple of times just to cool off, when the lifeguards weren't looking. The lifeguards also made regular warning announcements on the loudspeakers.

What to do in case of a shark attack?
I've heard that one has to kick and punch and hit the shark in the nose, or the eyes, places that are sensitive. But that's really hard to do in the water, but do anything to make the shark realize you're not an easy victim. National Geographic offers these tips to defend oneself during a shark attack and also how to avoid a shark attack. The tip I do know is to avoid the water if one has an open cut or during one's period. 

It never hurts to have a healthy respect for the ocean. "Don't turn your back on the ocean," is a popular saying here. And avoid sharks, unless you're crazy. 

This is my last post for Nablopomo. Yay. 


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