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Shark sighting update (July 25)

Shark sighting off Hapuna Beach Sunday (July 24). Video via YouTube.

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Big Island beaches were closed along four stretches of the Kohala Coast after authorities spotted at least five large sharks lurking about early Monday.

A Fire Department spokesman said the county helicopter conducted aerial surveys early Monday after shark sightings closed Hapuna Beach on Sunday.

Crews spotted four big sharks around Hapuna Bay and another one near Waialea Bay, which is between Hapuna Bay and Puako Bay. They were not able to identify whether they were tiger sharks, the spokesman said.

According to Hawaii County Civil Defense, the sharks seen during Monday morning‘s flyover, sizes ranged from 12 – 14 feet in length and three were confirmed as tiger sharks.

Two tiger sharks were observed by Ocean Safety just north of Hapuna about 20 – 50 yards off shore. And the third tiger shark was observed to the south at Waialea Bay.

The sightings were enough for authorities to close beaches at Waialea Bay and Mauna Kea, as well as Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and Spencer Beach Park.

Crews also surveyed the shores along the Kona Coast, but spotted no large sharks.

Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) staff have deemed it necessary to close the park areas through at least noon Tuesday, July 26. Both park entrance gates will be closed.

“The closures of these two areas are precautionary measures to ensure safety of the public,” says William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairman.

In the video above, Mike Uyehara and his 15-year-old son have a close encounter early Sunday at Hapuna Bay.

Uyehara, who visits Hapuna from Oahu to do some spearfishing, told a Honolulu TV station they had only been in the water a few minutes when they were confronted by a 10-foot tiger shark about 20 yards offshore.

They managed to captured some video while calmly backing away from the shark, which took a couple of passes around them before losing interest and swimming away.

Uyehara and his son exited the water fairly quickly, with a fish story they’ll surely be telling for some time.

One Response to “Shark sighting update (July 25)”

  1. I like the way the shark swoops in to look at the speargun, almost like, “you’re not pointing that toothpick at me, are ya?” Thanks for sharing!


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