WAIKIKI (KHON2) — Some Waikiki beachgoers were in for a surprise when a marlin beached itself right in front of a growing crowd of spectators on Thursday, Jan. 5.
Ocean Safety said no one was hurt, but it is not clear why the fish decided to swim up on shore.
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“Yeah, it’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before. I know marlins are deep in the ocean, so seeing one on the coast, it’s, it was pretty like yeah, it was, it was just eye-opening to see that,” said Emilio Mendoza, who saw the beached marlin in Waikiki.
Mendoza had no idea his visit back home on Oahu would lead to an experience like this.
“People, you know, spend hours trying to catch those type of fish and then seeing a beach on Waikiki with hundreds and thousands of people in the water, was just kind of just gnarly to see that,” Mendoza said.
The 6- to 8-foot marlin was first spotted in the surf lineup around 2 p.m. on Thursday and Ocean Safety did not expect the fish to get any closer to shore.
“We were like, ‘We’re never gonna see it again, look, look how far the lineup is,'” said Lt. Blake Caporoz, Honolulu Ocean Safety water safety officer. “You know, like, ‘Okay, once in a blue moon kind of thing.’ And then we are sitting here and then you see the big shadow come through and I’m like, ‘Huh! There it is!'”
Ocean Safety’s job is not to tow beached fish back out to sea, it is to keep people on shore and in the water safe.
“At that time we treat it like any other big fish that would come in and just keep the people away from any type of injury that could potentially happen with such a big animal,” Lt. Caporoz said.
There was definitely a concern for safety since marlins boast quite a sharp weapon.
“It’s so sharp and it has so much power. A fish like that size is all muscle,” Lt. Caporoz said. “You could feel the adrenaline of the fish, you could also feel the adrenaline from the crowd.”
The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology said open ocean fishes like tuna and marlin do occasionally get disoriented and strand themselves, but there is no definitive reason why — lifeguards did not spot any sharks in the area on Thursday.
As far as what happened to the Waikiki marlin?
“And some of the local boys around here were well-prepared to address the situation and took care of it,” Lt. Caporoz said.
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“I don’t know what they did with it from there, but, you know, I guess the locals took it home for sashimi or for, you know, some hibachi grill, I don’t know,” Mendoza said.