Local News

Great white shark spotted off the south shore eating a dead whale

HONOLULU(KHON2) - It's something you don't see very often. A great white shark in Hawaii waters. 

The large white shark was spotted miles off of the south shore over the past two days. She was feeding on a dead sperm whale.

They are rarely captured on film here in the islands. But recent photos clearly show a great white shark.

Though we don't always see them, Dr. Melanie Hutchinson, a shark researcher for  the University of Hawaii, said they have been coming to Hawaii long before humans were alive.

"They've been coming here forever. About 20% of the population from California and Mexico migrate here every year or every other year. So they are typically here in the winter," Hutchinson explained.

Hutchinson said Hawaiians and Polynesians fished great whites. There are weapons in Bishop Museum made with their teeth.

The majestic beauty was seen feeding. Likely the only reason she was spotted. 

"What they're doing when they're in Hawaii is really deep dives during the day. And so that's why people don't typically interact with them. I think the sperm whale kind of presented an opportunistic foraging opportunity so that's probably why people saw this animal," explained Hutchinson.

Hutchinson said the great white was spotted eating the whale carcass roughly nine miles off of the south shore of Oahu as it was drifting Ewa.

"I have a few friends that were out there. They were looking for a tiger sharks so it was a fun surprise to see this big lady."

The great white was roughly five to seven meters in length, that's between 15 to 21 feet.

I was told those who saw the shark believe her name is Deep Blue, a white shark that was tagged in the Guadalupe Islands 20 years ago.

Great whites follow similar patterns. They are in Hawaii to feed. 

Hutchinson said it's wise to keep a safe distance.

Great whites are not a schooling species but Hutchinson said that if another white shark is in the neighborhood of that sperm whale there is a possibility it could also show up to feed on it.


Latest Local News