I've only got chased by a shark once.
Well he wasn’t chasing me so much as he was chasing the fish I shot around 60′ of depth.
Me and my buddy had swam out along the Pua'ena Point channel around 4:30pm.
It wasn’t uncommon for us to jump in this late since we knew we could hit the grounds relatively fast.
A couple weeks prior, we had dove here and noticed a huge school of white papas along the Haleiwa Boat Channel.
This sounds pretty dangerous but it is technically “legal”, and our logic was that hardly anyone tried diving this spot because of it.
We had our mandatory dive buoys, and trusted that we wouldn’t get run over!
When we ran into the massive school of fish it seemed as if our gamble had paid off.
That morning I stoned a 6lber. My partner shot one about the same size as mine and the rest of the school fled.
On this particular day though the school seemed to be vacant.
Luckily my partner and I brought some chum in Longs Drugs bags(ghetto style) with an odd variety of frozen fish that would’ve been used for bait otherwise.
Upon reaching the outside, each of us took our chum bag out and started cutting them up with our dive knives to call in bigger game.
We also spotted a huge school of golden 'venue swimming close to us. We shot a couple decent size ones to chum the water more.
About 15 minutes go by and we had been taking drops back and forth to see if there was anything coming in.
Sure enough there was a couple small black-tip sharks eating the scraps and soon after came the papio school we were targeting.
A few dozen of them were frantically eating all the chum pieces and we were stoked that this chum method had worked. On my next drop I targeted the biggest one I could see and took the shot. I hit it mid-body and it tried taking off down into the shelf pulling quite a bit of line out of my reel.
Literally out of breath, I swam back up to the surface tightly gripping my line to keep the tension on the fish.
As I neared the surface, reeling my fish up at the same time, I noticed a BIG green shadow shooting from the depths towards my position.
I thought it was an omilu(bluefin trevally) at first, and got excited hoping my friend who had just taken a drop 15 yards from me would see it and shoot it.
But it wasn’t an omilu at all.
As it got closer and closer I yanked my fish towards me and it broadsided, finally revealing itself.
It was a 10 ft Galapagos Shark
At this moment I damn near sh*t my pants.
With the shaft on the other side of the fish, my speargun was now just a dull wooden stick, leaving me with a dinky little dive knife if I had to defend myself.
It moved back and forth with so much ease and power that all I could do is watch helplessly.
Up to this point I dove regularly for about 3 years and never had an encounter like this. Of course I’ve run into small reef sharks in caves or cruising by. But I never really seen a shark in any sort of aggressive nature.
A couple minutes go by, in what seemed like forever, and the shark began descending back into the murky abyss.
My friend had surfaced by this time already, notifying me that the papio school had swam off. I told him what happened and his response was pretty funny.
“Forreal?…… That’s nuts! Get plenty sharks over here den, we go swim in already”
My buddy didn’t see the big shark, but instead seen two more hammerheads; giving the grand total in our area to now 5 and counting. Almost enough to have each one feature a day on shark week. And I wasn’t to fond of shark week.
The sun went down FAST as we swam in. And you can bet I looked over my shoulder the whole time. We finally got to our cars and we talked about it and just laughed. Adding just another awesome diving experience to our long list of adventures.
The bigger picture…
After this I had a true understanding of hunting in the ocean. It’s not your territory, and don’t pretend like it is.
At any moment something can rip your life away and there’s you can do about. And I know this sounds harsh but you have to believe that it’s true, because it is.
If you don’t believe this then you can’t truly enjoy the experience. There’s power to not being in control. It’s vindicating. It’s natural. It’s what humans are deprived of nowadays.
Keep in mind this doesn’t mean NOT to take as many precautions as you can; and I’ll talk about this extensively here. But realize that you are essentially going out into the wild and trying to hold your own.
Just think of yourself as a soft-skinned shark with a lot of cool gadgets and gizmos hunting the same things they are… sorta.
And then when the real sharks swim by, show your respect, pee yourself a little bit, and soak in the sight of these beautiful creatures.
Thanks for reading!