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Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

Macedonia, OHio
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Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

I've been reading about the recent shark attacks. Is there a safe calm beach to snorkel for a timid snorkeler? I love to snorkel but I'm always cautious as it is. With the recent news reports, I am wondering if I need to leave that part of the trip.

Minnesota
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1. Re: Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

There are always sharks in the ocean...it is where they live. The shark "attacks" were when the water was murky and choppy...times you are told not to be in the water anyway. Maui has wonderful snorkeling, but only you can decide if you want to or not. It did not and will not stop me or many other people from enjoying the underwater world of Maui.

La Costa, California
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2. Re: Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

Absolutely not. I've been swimming in the ocean my whole life and there have always been sharks.

It makes the news when someone is attacked by a shark but a million or so visitors snorkel Maui and don't have a problem. You are safer, statistically, snorkeling than you are driving to the beach :)

Have a great trip, the snorkeling is excellent on Maui,

Dave

NORTH CAROLINA
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for Oahu
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3. Re: Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

Conditions like tb4 said are the biggest consideration.

We tend not to go real far out and are cautious also so yes we may miss out on seeing some things but have seen quite a lot not going out far.

Our last trip in june we were able to snorkel every day from the small beach in front of our condo in Honokowai and conditions were the calmest in the a.m. hours.

Iowa
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4. Re: Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

Aloha Vacaready,

I'll bet you buckle up and follow traffic laws when you drive, and you do not spend time imagining or even obsessing on the traffic accidents that could possibly happen.

Just like that, you will follow ocean safety guidelines - especially staying out of dark choppy water, as tb4 says - and you can let those worries of possible attacks go away. Read the top questions on this page about snorkeling, reef etiquette, and ocean safety.

If you let us know when you are traveling and where you are staying, people can give you some help with good snorkeling spots. You may also want to book a snorkel boat tour, since they will go to the areas known to have good conditions on that particular day.

Every choice you make in life has some element of risk. If you judge the risk worthwhile, then I say - focus on the reward. The rewards of snorking make it well worth it for me and many others here.

Edited: 13 October 2013, 15:49
San Diego...
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5. Re: Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

I don't know. In my opinion and it is just that, I think the conditions off Maui are changing. In the 60s and 70s there was a shark culling program to make the waters off Hawaii safer and thousands of sharks were killed, including over 500 tiger sharks. They breed slowly and migrate all over the island chain which is 1500 miles long, so maybe now the population has rebounded. Seems like the food supply in deeper water may have been overfished. The turtle population has increased quite a bit and they live in shallow water. I have read some of the results of tagging programs and tiger sharks move around a lot and it that pregnant female tiger sharks migrate down from the Northwest Hawaiian Islands in the fall to Maui to give birth.

So it could be more sharks, more food and more people all close to shore. There is certainly a lot more discussion about the subject on TA. Lots of other places i.e. Florida, the Bahamas have shark issues. Up until recently things have been quiet on Maui but now there is a lot more shark activity. Maui has commissioned a $187,000 study to find out why, so something must be changing.

I am more careful when I snorkel. In addition to the ocean conditions, I don't go in if there is any fishing or spear fishing activity near by, fish blood in the water is the dinner bell. I stay close to the reef and keep my eyes open around me. Since I am a diver I also take my dive knife with me. I try to keep in mind that I am swimming around in a food chain and the reef fish are at the bottom and who else might be around doing some grocery shopping. I still enjoy it, but take it for what it is worth a wild environment and that is why I enjoy it.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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6. Re: Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has commissioned a study. That is state, not the county of Maui. Either way, I doubt they would come up with anything more than they know now.

I snorkeled Maui for 5 years straight and never saw a shark. Now, with the increase in sightings, I would just be a bit more careful. There is just so much you can do when you enter their world.

Vancouver, BC
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7. Re: Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

Wailea Beach was closed the other day when we were there as there was a tiger shark in the water. We just packed up and went to Ulua... No big deal. It was beautiful clear conditions at both spots.

San Diego...
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8. Re: Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

I agree that there is only so much that you can do. I just don't think that this idea that as long as you don't swim in turbid water you are ok. It is almost 50 /50 of the attacks were in clear water and none of the victims saw the shark prior to the attack. The fact that you don't see any sharks when snorkeling doesn't mean anything in the long run. The visibly while snorkeling might only be 20-30 ft a shark can cover that in a couple of seconds and when snorkeling people tend to have tunnel vision, looking at the reef fish and totally unaware of their surroundings. I have experienced that diving, turning around and whoops there's a giant manta ray swimming by. In the Bahamas a 6ft Caribbean Reef shark came in on our group, the diver in front of me was facing the other way. The shark came close enough to almost touch the back of her head and she never saw it and wouldn't believe us when we told her. I saw a video of a guy diving somewhere and his buddy was filming him. Out of nowhere a tiger shark popped up over the reef and bit this guy's tank. The guy looked around like what the heck was that, had it been an arm well...the whole thing took about 3 seconds. I have been in Maui waters 23 years and I just think that things are changing that's all and more caution is needed that's all

Minnesota
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9. Re: Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

Which attacks were in clear water? None of the recent ones were. This summer, the one on Oahu was right as the storm was arriving and things were stirred up. Then the one snorkeler on Maui admitted she was in murky water and the girl who died was as well.

I am not saying at all that they won't be in clear water and it is easy to miss seeing them. My husband missed the white tip that swam by me to him and back. But...in clear water they are more apt to know what you are and don't do the bump and bites as much. Yes can still happen, but not as frequently.

I think the reason it has been talked about on TA so much is because people heard about the cases and were freaked out and kept asking about it. The reality is that we are in their environment, but I don't believe there is anything that crazy going on yet. They have said yes we had a number in a short time, but looking at things over time, things have not changed that much.

San Diego...
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10. Re: Maui Bound in November-Sharks :(

All you have to do is look at the Hawaii shark attack file going back to 2001. 21 attacks on swimmers and snorkelers..11 in clear water. In the last 10 months or so Maui has had 9 shark attacks whereas the annual average is 1-2. Sure the last couple were in turgid water....but that is not a panacea. White tips don't count they are more like cats, I am referring to tiger sharks that are fearless, have the most varied diet of any shark usually 2-3 times the size of any white tip and does not hesitate to take a bite of anything

I saw a video crystal clear water maybe the Caribbean. They wrapped up a hunk of wood in metal. A number of fish and sharks investigated it. Out of the blue came a tiger shark and it just gulped it down. They don't bump and run. They will eat anything and test with their teeth. They are called the garbage men of sea for a reason. After a period of time they are able to empty out their stomach maybe every few months of everything that they could not digest so no harm no foul to give it a try. The fact that they can see you just makes it easier for them. They have no natural predator and they are usually bigger than you and have no fear. I am not saying anyone should panic, not go to Maui or not go in the water. I am just saying that I see a lot of conversation on the TA where people are saying stay out of turgid water you are ok and I just think that is too simple, the shark has a more complex behavior and feeding pattern than that and for whatever reason shark activity on Maui has increased recently and I accept that and will deal with it...leaving to 2 weeks for Maui