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Mike Stewart saves family from shark

Well, okay, the headline is somewhat tabloid, but reading his account of a recent family outing makes your skin shiver - over to the big man ... Ok this is my story about this morning. I was diving at Hapuna beach on the north end with my family. No spear guns just site seeing. We dove there yesterday but my six year old was having issues with her mask so we cut the dive short. This morning we went back better prepared. We brought a bright pink inflatable inner-tube toy that my son found by the pool and floated my daughter on it. The water was a bit murky because of the fresh water spring near there. Once we got out further on the point things cleared up and my daughter got some courage and jumped in and started diving around looking at all the fish and coral, so my son took over the inner tube. There was quite a bit of fish in the water and it was really quite beautiful. I saw a few Papio and even a few Kahala swim nearby. As we ventured further around the point I looked up and out of nowhere came face to face with a fricken BIG tiger shark. I have been in the water quite a few times with sharks and had no issues but I have to say this thing made me shit! This was straight out of a bad dream. I quickly grabbed my wife and said BIG shark get in. Looking out of the water for my kids I saw my son now laying in the dam inner tube trying to paddle the thing splashing about completely oblivious as was my daughter still diving around. I have to say I had some pretty awful visions quickly run through my head. I told them to get in as calmly as I could muster so they wouldn’t panic and my daughter just asked why, why. Just get in, I grabbed her and pulled her towards the rocks. As I was trying to quickly figure out how to get everyone out of the water and onto some exposed lava rock nearby, my daughter screamed Daddy, Daddy but there is a huge eel under you. I didn’t see it and I didn’t give a crap (plus when I asked my wife later the thing was only big to her it was like 2 feet). We got onto the reef ok with the addition of some vana spines in the foot. Until this point I was the only one who saw this thing. As we stood there on the reef we saw a dark shadow come in towards where we were and I thought to myself shit that’s not too big I am a wimp, Then I looked over further next to us and saw another shadow that was considerably bigger. There was two of them. They looked like they were cruising the point looking for turtles. A stand up paddle boarder from the beach I believe was the lifeguard from the hotel, paddled out and I waived my hand for a shark gesture, how big he yelled, I showed him both hands indicating 10 and then 2 for 12, he nearly tipped over and headed back to the beach to warn everyone. This was a Sunday at one of the only white sand beaches on the coast and it was packed. I saw someone swimming in the middle of the bay, I saw some divers also in the middle. The sup paddled over to them and I think warned them, but they continued to dive as most divers would. Everyone else got out of the water and the beach was empty. But I thought no way are these divers going to stay in the water if they see what I saw. Sure enough they got a good look. The recent report said that there was actually three total. One was twelve foot and the other two 14 footers. Ok the one thing I learned was that his shark could have easily eaten my family and I and it didn’t. It could have eaten any number of people on any number of days and it didn’t. They don’t necessarily want to eat people and rarely do.
  • July 28, 2011
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