The gorgeous and normally peaceful Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii, turned ugly yesterday, Jan. 28 when a surfer was attacked by shark or at least thought that’s what bit him. The victim is a tourist from Minnesota who was surfing by the pier in the beautiful Bay and was bitten as he headed back to shore according to eturbonews. The almost pristine, white sand, two-mile-long Hanalei Bay is the largest bay on the island and a year around playground for swimmers, snorkelers and surfers. Steeped in Hawaiian culture, the area s often referred to as ‘heavenly Hanalei’ for its celestial beauty and serenity. After yesterday’s incident the beach was closed for swimming by the Department of Land and Natural Resources that posted ‘shark sighted’ and ‘no swimming signs in the sands.
The surfer suffered lacerations on both hands but is fine. He was able to drive himself to a local medical facility for observation. Officials are assessing the scene today and will decide if it’s safe for people to go back in the water. If you happen to be on Kauai and were planning a Hanalei Bay outing just be sure to use caution as you should always do in the ocean. Keep your eyes open both for sharks and waves.
There unfortunately were a number of shark attacks throughout the Hawaiian Islands in 2015 according to a listing by the Hawaii government which lists the following 10 tips for beach goer safety:
- Swim, surf, or dive with other people, and don’t move too far away from assistance.
- Stay out of the water at dawn, dusk, and night, when some species of sharks may move inshore to feed. But be aware that tiger sharks are known to bite people at all times of the day. (See graphic below.)
- Do not enter the water if you have open wounds or are bleeding in any way. Sharks can detect blood and body fluids in extremely small concentrations.
- Avoid murky waters, harbor entrances, and areas near stream mouths (especially after heavy rains), channels, or steep dropoffs. These types of waters are known to be frequented by sharks.
- Do not wear high-contrast clothing or shiny jewelry. Sharks see contrast very well.
- Refrain from excesive splashing; keep pets, which swim erratically, out of the water. Sharks are known to be attracted to such activity.
- Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present, and leave the water quickly and calmly if one is sighted. Do not provoke or harass a shark, even a small one.
- If fish or turtles start to behave erratically, leave the water. Be alert to the presence of dolphins, as they are prey for some large sharks.
- Remove speared fish from the water or tow them a safe distance behind you. Do not swim near people fishing or spearfishing. Stay away from dead animals in the water.
- Swim or surf at beaches patrolled by lifeguards, and follow their advice.
And while this won’t prevent a shark attack, be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen when exposed to the Hawaiian sunshine.