How dedicated are you to your hobbies? Dedicated enough to calmly continue after a close encounter with a tiger shark? Probably not (nor should you be), but adrenaline makes us capable of some amazing things.
For Scott Haraguchi, a kayak fisherman based in Hawaii, his face-to-face with a tiger shark wasn’t enough to send him paddling back to shore. It was, however, more than enough to give him a good scare.
And luckily for all of us, the fisherman forgot to turn his GoPro off after his latest catch. As a result, the entire shark encounter was captured on video and subsequently posted to Haraguchi’s YouTube channel.
“Ahh! Tiger shark!” the fisherman shrieks as the hungry shark attempts to take a bite out of his kayak. “Tiger shark rammed me.”
“I heard a whooshing sound that sounded like a boat heading towards me without the motor and I looked up and I saw this big brown thing. My brain thought it was a turtle but then I got slammed by it and realized that it was a tiger shark,” Haraguchi told KITV4 Island Television.
Fisherman kicks tiger shark away from kayak
In another stroke of good luck (this time for the fisherman), his foot was drifting in the water when the tiger shark approached. While adding an extra layer of unease to the situation, it allowed Haraguchi to shove the shark away, redirecting it toward more appropriate prey.
As anyone would be, the fisherman was audibly shaken by his unexpected brush with a tiger shark. Rather than fleeing back to shore, however, he simply…kept on fishing.
In retrospect, Haraguchi believes he was running on adrenaline at the time, and he’s undoubtedly right. But he doesn’t regret his decision and won’t be hanging up his kayak and fishing pole anytime soon.
“I realize that life is short, time is short on Earth. So make the most of it,” he said, adding that he’ll never go fishing without a partner in case of a repeat ramming.
Hungry shark likely mistook kayaker for a wounded seal
Obviously, polyethylene isn’t particularly high on a tiger shark’s list of desired food choices. And, despite sharks’ bloodthirsty reputation, neither are humans.
Seals, though? It doesn’t get much better than that. Especially if the seal is already injured, providing an easy meal for a hungry predator.
According to Haraguchi, he noticed a wounded seal near his kayak shortly after the eerie shark encounter. More than likely, the tiger shark smelled the seal and approached the first thing it saw, which unfortunately happened to be the fisherman and his kayak.
It’s true that tiger sharks are a member of the “big three,” the species of sharks implicated in the highest number of human incidents (the remaining two are bull sharks and great whites). That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re attacking humans left, right, and center.
There have been 103 unprovoked attacks and 39 recorded fatalities ever, according to the ISAF. Meanwhile, mosquitos cause around a million deaths annually. Over 46,000 people die in car crashes every year in the US alone.
You should certainly exercise caution while enjoying the ocean, for many reasons beyond possible shark encounters. Sharks, however, aren’t anywhere close to the man-eating monsters they’re made out to be.