VIA – HAWAII 24/7
Diver encounters great white shark off Kona shore
Posted on 4:04 pm, Sunday, March 18, 2012.
This is not the great white shark spotted by Mark Barville off the Kona shore, but this photograph does show the clear line between the dark grey body and milky white underbelly. (Photo courtesy of Terry Goss)
(Editor’s Note: Mark Barville, an experienced Kona diver and spearfisherman, shares his story with Hawaii 24/7)
I was attacked by a 16-foot great white shark around noon Saturday (March 17) while I was spearfishing. The attack was in about 20 feet of water, approximately 100 yards from shore.
About 50 people were on shore, on a rocky point above a finger reef, having a memorial for their “Aunty Nella.” After they spread her ashes in the water, they all saw the shark trying to eat an 18 lb. awa I had speared that was hanging from my dive buoy.
The surface of the water was somewhat dirty, and when I approached my dive buoy, I realized there was a giant shark eating my awa. Actually, it had swallowed the awa whole and was trying to finish swallowing it, but couldn’t because my kui line is 600 lb. hard mamoi mono.
Mark Barville and the awa he caught that the white shark was trying to eat. Photo by Lynnette Stevens | Special to Hawaii 24/7
The first thing I noticed after looking at the tremendous size of this shark, was that the color was all wrong for a tiger shark. The upper portion was a solid color: dull, light brown/gray. Then I saw the distinctive jagged line near the bottom of its sides where the color changed to solid milk white.
I am a commercial fisherman, and a very experienced spearo, with tens of thousands of hours in the water. My credibility is rock solid among my peers.
I know my sharks, and this was definitely, unquestionably, a great white shark, even though it was the first I have ever seen in my life in the water. I’ve had encounters with many sharks and there is no question this was a great white.
It was not a mako (they have large black eyes and a pointed nose), it was not a tiger (they have a flat nose like the side of a table, and their colors are darker and mottled at the very least, and you can usually see the darker vertical stripes).
It was aggressive and it was injured. There’s no way I would ever imagine a great white shark coming so close to shore. I’ve never even talked to anyone who has seen a great white off the Big Island. It must have been hungry.
It was about 16 feet long, confirmed by the 50 people who saw the shark from shore, many of whom took photos of the shark.
The shark moved very slowly and deliberately. It had severe wounds all over its body that looked like they were pretty fresh. The shark had a severe abrasion, deep into the skin, on the right side of its body, about 4 feet long and 2 feet high.
It had deep cuts in many of its fins. The left side had numerous other fresh abrasions. It may have had a recent battle with a long line (that’s a guess).
I used every technique I knew to scare the shark away. It was impervious to my yelling underwater, screaming, and hitting it with my gun.
At that point it regurgitated the awa, then it made a slow turn and came directly at me, but not increasing speed. I held my large speargun (which was not loaded, and did not have the spear tip on) towards the shark.
The head of the shark was utterly enormous, and I knew I was in trouble. It was like seeing a dinosaur.
It closed the membrane over its eyes and opened its mouth. I made a bullfighter maneuver to get out of its way, then I took my gun and jabbed it with all my strength into its belly which was about 3 feet away.
The shark was not even phased by this deep jab (it felt like jabbing into a steak covered with 1/4 inch leather). The shark turned and approached me again, so I dove directly at it, screaming and yelling and hitting it with the tip of my gun (I had a shaft in the gun, but I never had time to load the gun)…
for the full crazy story go here:
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