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Shark Sightings Seem on the Rise

It seems that there have been more shark sightings recently than is normal.   On Sunday, April 29, a 10-12 foot Tiger-shark sighting  a couple hundred yards off shore caused the closing of Ala Moana Beach until Monday morning.  Yes, Ala Moana!  Keep in mind, “a couple of hundred yards” would put the shark “outside” of the reef, so it posed more of a risk for surfers than typical beach goers using Ala Moana Beach.

A little over a week ago, a 10-12 foot Tiger-shark was spotted off Kaimana Beach, near that Natatorium at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki.  And, last Wednesday, there was an unconfirmed report of a shark sighting off Waikiki Beach.

Two weeks ago, a 8-9 foot Tiger-shark was seen swimming near Kalama Beach, near Kailua, on the windward side of the island.

This would be a good time to review some of the…

Common-Sense Tips to Avoiding Shark Attacks.

  • Avoid swimming/surfing at dawn and dusk…low light conditions often precede shark attacks.
  • Avoid swimming/surfing alone.
  • Don’t go swimming with bleeding wounds or open cuts, for obvious reasons.
  • Don’t wear shiny jewelry, as it attracts sharks attention.
  • Avoid murky water, many shark attacks are investigatory bites from sharks trying to identify their potential quarry.
  • Avoid  areas where streams/rivers enter the ocean, especially after heavy rains. (Often murky water conditions.)

While the odds of a shark attack remain low, following these tips can help you lower the odds even more.

Since January, there have been several shark sightings and beach closures around the state.

  • January 12:  A 15-foot Great-White shark spotted off of Yokohama Bay on Oahu’s northshore
  • January 25: Life guards close the beach after spotting an 11-foot Tiger shark at Kamaole Beach Park III, on Maui.
  • February 14: Life guards close Makena Beach after spotting a 10-12 foot shark just 30-45′ from shore.
  • April 3: Officials close Ke’e and Haena Beaches, Kauai, after a shark was spotted in the area.
  • April 4: Officials close a 2-mile stretch of beach on Oahu’s north shore after a surfer suffered a shark bite to his foot, at a popular area known as “Leftovers”, which is also one of the “shark-iest” beaches in the US.  (Jupiter, FL was #1, Leftovers was #2)

So, while the number of shark sightings seem to be frequent, there really is no cause for alarm.  Part of what causes this increase in shark sightings is the fact that we have more people looking for them.  At any rate, heed the precautions listed above and enjoy a day at the beach!

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