A man spearfishing off the Big Island of Hawaii was attacked by what is believed to be a 16-foot great white shark this past Saturday. This attack is newsworthy for two reasons: great whites are extremely rare in Hawaiian waters, and the man survived the attack fairly unscathed.
Mark Barville says he was spearfishing in 20 feet of water about 100 yards from shore when he surfaced to see a shark eating the 18-pound awa fish he had shot earlier now hanging from his dive buoy. Barville knew from his experience as a commercial fisherman and longtime spearer that it was a great white.
“I know my sharks, and this was definitely, unquestionably, a great white shark, even though it was the first I have ever seen in my life in the water. I’ve had encounters with many sharks and there is no question this was a great white,” Barville told Hawaii 24/7.
He also noticed that the shark was greatly injured.
“It had severe wounds all over its body that looked like they were pretty fresh,” he said. “The shark had a severe abrasion, deep into the skin, on the right side of its body, about 4 feet long and 2 feet high.”
Despite its injuries, the shark abandoned the free meal and swam toward Barville.
“The head of the shark was utterly enormous,” Barville detailed. “And I knew I was in trouble. It was like seeing a dinosaur. It closed the membrane over its eyes and opened its mouth. I made a bullfighter maneuver to get out of its way, then I took my gun [which was loaded but not cocked] and jabbed it with all my strength into its belly which was about 3 feet away.”
The seemingly unfazed shark turned and once again swam forward in attack. Barville dove toward the white shark and jabbed it in the head with the tip of his gun. The shark turned and Barville swam to shore where he was helped from water by more than 50 witnesses.
Barville suspects the shark’s injuries were the result of a rough encounter with a long line. I suspect that Barville is one lucky man. Your thoughts? Comment below!