Kelly and Craig Baceda of Alberta, Canada, stand on a balcony at the Hawaiian Princess Condominiums in Makaha. They spotted a 12-foot tiger shark on Sunday in the water below. It approached within a few yards of swimmers at Lahilahi Beach.
Eyes high above spotted Makaha shark
In a 16th-floor condo, a visiting couple snaps pictures of a close call
Craig and Kelly Baceda were happy to be on the 16th floor with one of the best views of the Waianae Coast -- especially when they spotted a 12-foot tiger shark circling toward swimmers off the beach below.
From their balcony on Sunday, they watched in horror as the dark form moved to within a few yards of shore, approaching a snorkeler. Other people also were in the water near the beach outside the Hawaiian Princess Condominiums in Makaha.
"It was heading right toward him, and all the sudden people were screaming at him from the beach," said Craig Baceda said Monday. "He started really kicking at that point, so you could see the splashes. He realized something was going on."
The shark did not attack and was eventually escorted out of the area by water safety crews, but Lahilahi Beach was closed for the rest of the afternoon. Buffalo's Big Board Surfing Classic also was suspended when nearby Makaha Beach was also closed for about 45 minutes.
Several people were watching a turtle that came up to the beach outside the condo tower and for a time didn't even notice the shark just a few feet away, Baceda said.
The Bacedas of Alberta, Canada, used a small still camera to take video clips of the shark, and a blurry set of sequence shots in which the shark appeared to be headed toward the man swimming frantically to shore.
Ocean safety patrols, which estimated the shark at close to 12 feet long, monitored the deadly fish after it came close to the condominiums along Lahilahi Beach.
The last shark attack reported on Oahu was February 2005, when an estimated 8-foot tiger shark bumped a professional surfer and bit his board off Rocky Point on the North Shore.
Two people were bit by sharks recently off Maui. A 15-year-old girl was bit on the leg a week ago, and a San Diego man lost part of his left hand in December.
The Bacedas said it was their 13th annual visit to Hawaii, but the first time they'd seen a shark.
Asked if they'd go in the water after their experience, Craig Baceda said, "Oh, yeah -- we don't go out too far -- but maybe not in the next couple of days."