A Maui kayak angler realized he had attracted an unwanted visitor Saturday when he heard a loud splash behind his 12-foot vessel.
“When I look behind me, nothing there,” Leo Pagaduan told Hawaii News Now. “When I look on my right side again, right there, it’s coming.”
The angler had landed a small opelu moments before hearing the splash.
The great white shark, as long as the kayak, circled Pagaduan as he paddled beyond the Ukumehame firing range in West Maui.
“The first time I saw, I was scared, because this was not a tiger shark,” he recalled. “It’s a great white.”
Great white shark encounters are rare in Hawaiian waters. Pagaduan said the shark circled for about an hour, long enough for him to capture GoPro video footage.
What was most unnerving, he said, was that the shark seemed to vanish, then suddenly reappear. “Sometimes even you thinking she not there anymore, then suddenly she show up,” he said.
Concerned about the safety of surfers, Pagaduan told Hawaii News Now that he remained offshore until he was certain the shark was no longer following him.
Bishop Museum zoologist Richard Pyle identified the shark as a great white after viewing Pagaduan’s footage.
Great white sharks can measure to about 20 feet. Juveniles prey mostly on small fish and rays before reaching about 12 feet, when they begin to hunt much larger prey.
Pagaduan said the encounter will not prevent him from fishing in the area.