Hanalei Bay Shark Sighting: Close Call for Beat of Hawaii’s Swim Routine

Hanalei, Kauai – The serene summertime waters of Hanalei Bay, an unequaled and favorite spot for visitors and residents alike, were closed to swimmers today following yesterday’s large shark sighting. How big was it? Read on for details.

We are avid long-distance swimmers at Hanalei Bay, so this news hit close to home at Beat of Hawaii. Your editors were en route to the bay, having swum there just two days prior, when we received urgent warnings from friends to avoid the water today. Yes, the coconut wireless.

Recent Kauai shark sighting and safety measures.

Kauai County officials have advised the public to refrain from swimming at Hanalei Bay due to a reported 10-foot tiger shark sighted approximately 250 feet west of the Pavilion Lifeguard Tower. The Ocean Safety Bureau (OSB) received the report and posted warning signs as a precaution. Lifeguards are actively monitoring the situation and will reassess the area on Wednesday.

The presence of such a large shark at Hanalei Bay reminds us of the wild and unpredictable nature of the ocean. While no injuries were reported with this sighting, the community was urged to heed safety warnings and stay informed through official channels.

The latest large shark sighting understandably caused concern among residents and visitors. Hanalei Bay is known for its picturesque views and its calm waters during these summer months, making it a popular destination for swimmers, surfers, and families. The Ocean Safety Bureau’s quick response in posting warnings and monitoring the area highlights the commitment to public safety.

Lifeguards will continue to assess the situation, and updates will be provided as more information becomes available. For now, the best course of action is to stay out of the water as we did and to follow the advice of safety officials.

A look back at recent shark incidents at Hanalei Bay.

This sighting brings back memories of a more harrowing event last October. On October 20, 2023, Kevin Kanehe, a 50-year-old Kauai resident, survived a brutal attack by a 12 to 15-foot tiger shark while surfing at Hanalei Bay. Kanehe’s quick thinking and bravery, using his finger to poke the shark in its nostril, likely saved his life.

Despite severe injuries, including the loss of part of his kneecap, tibia, femur, and some muscle tissue, Kanehe’s spirit remains unbroken. The local community has rallied to support him, raising over $92,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to assist with his recovery needs.

Kanehe’s wife said “Kevin was surfing Hanalei Bay and got attacked by a shark. He paddled for a wave, then sat up on his board to turn around and got struck from the left side. People that saw it have guessed 12-15 foot tiger shark.” A friend and beach bystanders came to his aid. That was followed by bone and joint surgery by Kauai’s famed David Rovinsky.

More updates will be posted on the Kauai Ocean Safety Bureau Facebook page.

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3 thoughts on “Hanalei Bay Shark Sighting: Close Call for Beat of Hawaii’s Swim Routine”

  1. I am asking, because I do not know, but would it be possible to run a chain link fence for some predetermined distance to keep the sharks out? I have never been to that part of Kauai so I have no idea. Asking for a friend. lol

  2. Aloha Editors,
    I was at Hanalei yesterday, 7/9, and had not heard about the shark sighting, so a vacant beach on the pavilion side of the pier was a surprise till I saw the shark sighting warnings posted. The thing is the mouth of the Hanalei river portion, Black Pot, was choke with beachgoers in the water! No warnings were posted on that side but what is up with that?
    Like, the sharks are going to stay on one side of the pier and not the other? Weird. Walking out to the end of the pier there were a bunch of kids jumping off the pier as well. I suppose the only good thing is that because of the sandy bottom and summer clear water a shark would be easier to spot but personally I would not want to be swimming in that kind of a situation, clear water or not. Hanalei Bay is one of Kauai’s most beautiful spots, if not Hawaii’s, but yesterday I just walked the beach, eyes peeled.

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