Blue Water Hunter owner Rob White and friends shared a rare face-to-face encounter with an 8-foot blue shark last week.
This large, slender, bluish gray shark has a pointed snout, long pectoral fins and anterior. It typically migrates between the surface and 1,800 feet during the day and surface and 600 feet at night. It tends to roam offshore during summer months, but appears to move closer to shore at twilight in the spring, returning to open ocean before sunrise, according to Hawaii Sharks, an education website by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
“The blue shark is not common in Hawaii, but they are not rare, either,” White said. “It is typically witnessed by nighttime fishermen feeding on squid and whatever else it can catch, but is very uncommon to see one during the day.”
On Sept. 3, White, Capt. Deron Verbeck and California resident Keith Herman went spearfishing at C Buoy, located off the Kona Coast, between Honaunau and Kealakekua. After Herman caught a 20-pound bull mahi, a shark made a beeline for the mildly struggling fish.
For about 10 minutes or so, the shark visited White and Herman repeatedly, requiring them to push it off. The shark’s continued presence also allowed White to determine the type and photograph it.
“It never became what I would call aggressive, just inquisitive, which gave me time to figure out what kind of a shark it was,” White said. “I swear, it was the strangest thing in the world, when the shark was swimming straight at us it looked brown or bronze colored. Then when it turned sideways, two feet away, it looked white with a subtle blue hue. And lastly, when it turned away, it looked more blue colored. Amazing. Absolutely brilliant design by nature”