Ask any shark freak (like myself) and they’ll tell you there’s a specific pecking order among shark tourism destinations around the world. I mean, you can see reef sharks pretty much anywhere near the equator, but where do you go for the big boys? Cause we all wanna see a great white shark, correct?
That’s a good question. And you’ll get different opinions on the best shark tourism spots around the globe. South Africa’s good. Australia’s interesting. There’s California. And right in the middle of the Pacific, there’s Hawaii.
The fiftieth state has a little of everything when it comes to all things sharky. I was there in January of 2010 and had a short but very enjoyable dive off the North Shore with Hawaii Shark Encounters. At that time of year it’s usually galapagos and sandbar sharks, although tiger sharks appear in the fall.
But the reason for this post, is that something very special happened, on December 18th, 2005. On that day, a great white shark made a very rare appearance, to Jimmy Hall and the crew at Hawaii Shark Encounters. A beautiful, 20 foot female great white dazzled Hall and the gang for 45 minutes. And Hall left the cage and swam with this marvelous creature. Read about the encounter here.
Sadly, the encounter was a swan song for Hall, as he passed away while BASE jumping just two years later. But the legacy of this remarkable interaction lives on. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.
Are there great white sharks off Hawaii? On a very, very few special occasions, the answer is yes. But they’re so rare that it’s pretty much assured that you won’t see the great white in Hawaiian waters any time soon.
And by the way, enjoy this video, because to date it’s the only time a great white shark has ever been filmed off Hawaii.
Be at peace, Jimmy Hall.