Shark Study Helps Explain Higher Incidence of Encounters Off Maui

A spike in shark bites off Maui in 2012 and 2013 prompted the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), with additional support and funding from the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS), to commission a two-year-long study of shark spatial behavior on Maui.  The research was conducted by a team from the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB).

shark bites in maui

Dr. Carl Meyer, principle investigator for the study, explained that the Maui Nui complex, consisting of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe, has more preferred tiger shark habitat than all other main Hawaiian Islands combined.  According to Dr. Meyer, “Tiger sharks captured around Maui spend most of their time on the extensive Maui Nui insular shelf, which is also an attractive habitat for tiger sharks arriving from elsewhere in Hawaii.  The insular shelf extends offshore from the shoreline to depths of 200 meters (600 feet), and is home to a wide variety of tiger shark prey.”

Although tiger shark movement patterns revealed by the latest study are generally similar to those seen in previous studies, the larger area of shelf habitat around Maui may be able to support more tiger sharks than other main Hawaiian Islands.  In addition, the most frequently-visited areas by tiger sharks around Maui include waters adjacent to popular ocean recreation sites.

Meyer noted “This combination of factors may explain why Maui has had more shark bites than other Main Hawaiian Islands, although we cannot completely rule out a higher number of ocean recreation activities on Maui as the primary cause of these differences.  However, despite the routine presence of large tiger sharks in waters off our beaches, the risk of being bitten remains extremely small, suggesting tiger sharks generally avoid interactions with people.”

Dr. Bruce Anderson, administrator for DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), said, “This study provided us with important new insights into tiger shark movement behavior around Maui, and helps answer some questions about why that island has led the state recently in shark bites.  We agree with the study’s recommendation that the best approach to reducing numbers of these incidents is to raise public awareness of what people can do to reduce their risk of being bitten.  This has been our focus for a long time.  People who enter the ocean have to understand and appreciate that it is essentially a wilderness experience.  It’s the shark’s house, not ours.

DAR will continue to work with other agencies to expand outreach regarding hazards in the ocean, such as drownings, to include shark safety information so people can make well-informed, fact-based decisions.”

As for the 2012-2014 spike in shark bites around Maui, Meyer said the reasons remain unclear.  He noted, “2015 saw only one unprovoked shark bite off Maui.  Shark behavior didn’t change year to year, and there was no shift in human behavior.  These spikes occur all over the world, and are most likely due to chance.”

Citing previous studies, the HIMB team also noted that historical shark culling in Hawaii neither eliminated nor demonstrably reduced shark bite incidents.  Tiger sharks tracked around Maui exhibit a broad spectrum of movement patterns ranging from somewhat resident to highly transient. This ensures a constant turnover of sharks along coastal locations.  Sharks removed by culling are quickly replaced by new ones locally and from distant locations.

Maui Shark Report-Media Clips from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

PacIOOS makes tiger shark tracks available online and provides funding for ongoing and future tagging efforts. Melissa Iwamoto, Director of PacIOOS explained, “We are pleased to be a partner in this important effort by offering an online platform where you can view the tiger sharks tracks. Providing ocean users, agencies, residents and visitors with relevant ocean data is our priority. While the tracks do not serve as a warning or real-time monitoring system, they are a great way to raise awareness about the ocean environment and to inform long-term decision-making.”

All of the partners agree that the more information people have, the better decisions they can make when entering the ocean.

Hawaii Tiger Shark Tracking Report:

Hawaii Tiger Shark Tracking website:

Hawaii Sharks website:

Video – Subtle Uplift of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater Floor Over Past Few Days

The crater floor at Puʻu ʻŌʻō has recently experienced minor uplift due to inflation within Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone.

Click to view video

Click to view video

The crater floor uplift is subtle, and probably no more than about 1 meter (3 feet) since May 15. Small, hot cracks have appeared on the crater floor during the uplift. Time-lapse images from a thermal camera were used to make this video, which is looped 10 times to highlight the uplift.

Puna Film Green Lake Selected for Big Island Film Festival

The Big Island Film Festival at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, which celebrates independent narrative filmmakers and their movies, has selected Green Lake as part of its slate of films. Only 58 short and feature films from around the world were chosen for its tenth year of the Festival.

Green Lake

Green Lake draws inspiration not only from the beauty and mysticism of Hawai’i, but also from B-Horror/Monster movies, The Twilight Zone and The X-Files. It’s a micro-budget Creature from the Black Lagoon meets Picnic at Hanging Rock, shot entirely in remote areas on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  The film was directed and produced by Derek Frey from a screenplay by Leah Gallo.  It features a multitude of Big Island talent, including cast members RaVani Flood, Thom Durkin, Valery Nuttall and Carmen Richardson.  The score was composed and performed by Matthew Reid with original songs from Big Island bands Technical Difficulties and Delight Talkies.

GREEN LAKE – Teaser Trailer from Derek Frey on Vimeo.

Filmed over a grueling nine day and night shoot, the core group of six cast and crew played multiple roles in front of and behind the camera.  They weathered the elements, without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown – all for the sake of creating. Frey says the Green Lake shoot was his mini-Apocalypse Now. “It was the most challenging shoot I’ve ever been part of but also the most rewarding and I’m so proud of the result.” Green Lake is more than your typical horror film, it’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature, or face the terrifying consequences.

Film Director Frey wrote:

The Big Island of Hawai’i has been a great source of inspiration for me. I’ve had the unique opportunity to become friends with many artists and musicians on the island. These friendships have led to a number of music video and short film collaborations. Many of these projects showcase the beauty of the land and the mystical power that surrounds it.

I’m fascinated with the supernatural aspect to Hawai’i and the tales found in Glen Grant’s Obake Files. I also love horror films and in 2010 created a short on the Big Island titled The Curse of the Sacred Stone. It was a horror/comedy that lightly depicts the implications of disturbing sacred land when an unsuspecting tourist removes a lava rock from a sacred site.

I still felt the impulse to create more of a straightforward horror film on the Big Island. Since my first visit to Hawai’i in 2001, I had heard about Green Lake, an unspoiled fresh body of water located in a crater within a mountainous rain forest in Kapoho. Green Lake is the largest of only two lakes in Hawai’i. Apparently Jacques Cousteau conducted a diving expedition in the 1970’s and couldn’t find the bottom. We don’t know if this is true, but one thing is certain, the towering walls of the crater make the lake seem bottomless. Discussion of Green Lake was almost one of urban legend. The fact is many people that live in Hawai’i have never visited the lake, though it’s beauty and power is incomparable.

My first visit to Green Lake, a few years ago, was incredibly inspiring. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Accompanying that beauty is a deep and powerful mystical vibe. This place demands that you respect it and it feels like there are protective energies present. During that initial visit a group of us ventured onto the lake via a small paddleboat and our first jump into the water was met with excitement, exhilaration and downright fear. It’s dark water and though we know there are no snakes or other predators to fear in Hawai’i it certainly feels as though something lurks below.  Looking into the history of the lake I came across a legend directly associated with it.  The ancient Hawaiian legend says that Green Lake was guarded by a female Mo’o that had never been conquered and anytime a chief got close to doing so she transformed herself into a beautiful woman and distracted him. Upon reading the legend something clicked and a story started to form in my head.

From that visit the seed for a film was firmly established and I returned the next year with the Green Lake script in hand. Thus began a grueling 9 day shoot, pulling upon friends from the Big Island I’ve made over the years to play the roles and double up as crew. Our core group of 6 played multiple roles in front of and behind the camera, weathering the elements, without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown – all for the sake of creating. Green Lake was my mini-Apocalypse Now. It was the most challenging shoot I’ve ever been part of but also the most rewarding and I’m so proud of the result. Green Lake is more than your typical horror film, it’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature, or face the consequences.

A special mention must be expressed to the wonderful music that accompanies the film. Big Island band’s Technical Difficulties as well as the Delight Talkies provide the songs written specifically for the film. Matthew Reid’s terrific original score is more than I could have ever hoped for.

Enjoy the swim and remember “Horror Dwells Deep!”

The Big Island Film Festival runs May 26–30 at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i and The Shops at Mauna Lani on the beautiful Kohala coast. The festival also includes food and beverage events, celebrity guests, an awards brunch, filmmaker/audience interaction, screenwriting workshops, Hawaiian music and culture. Green Lake will screen Saturday, May 28th at 7.30pm outside The Shops at Mauna Lani in Waikoloa.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Biggest Little Airshow Coming Up

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s popular remote control Biggest Little Airshow in Hawaii sponsored by Aloha Petroleum is back for its ninth year Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, 10am to 4pm. Guests will be able to drive on to Ford Island for this event, or take the free shuttle from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Parking is free. A family favorite, the Airshow features open cockpits, hangar tours, restored World War II aircraft, and remote control flying by some of the best pilots and aircraft from the Mainland.

2015 Airshow

For two days, Ford Island will come alive with remote-control flying, static aircraft and full-size aircraft on display, “candy bombings” over historic Ford Island Runway for the keiki, hands-on modeling stations, a Kids Zone with rides, food, drinks, retail, music, entertainment, activities and – new this year – snow. Open cockpits and access to Hangar 79 to see the Museum’s many aircraft exhibits and the Swamp Ghost and Nakajima Kate in restoration will add to the event.

This year the Airshow welcomes Warbirds West, an award winning team of pilots from around the country flying giant-scale remote controlled aircraft. A dazzling T-33 Thunderbird opening act kicks off the show followed by multiple performances featuring the A10 Warthog, F14 Tomcat, F9 Panther and the impressive F100 Super Saber flying at speeds approaching 200 mph.

Tribute flights will include a Douglas SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber, two Japanese A6M Zero fighters matched with a pair of “Flying Tiger” P-40E Warhawks, and two Chance Vought F4U Corsairs. In an epic display of air-to-air combat simulation, Republic P47 Thunderbolts will duel with Focke-Wulf 190 fighters. Multiple North American P51 Mustangs will demonstrate precision flying, and a Stearman biplane will perform aerobatics.

The Warbirds West performance will include Alan Szabo flying one of his explosive helicopter aerobatic routines in a circus-like aviation performance. The performances will focus on innovative aircraft, which are rooted to the U.S. armed services and their defense of our nation’s freedom. On the ground, spectators will be able to explore static aircraft displays and interact with pilots and crew members.

Talented local performers will also join award-winning Mainland pilots from the Academy of Model Aeronautics with their 1-to-4 scale planes to perform remote-control aviation feats. Specialty acts will feature: Pattern, 3-D fixed wing and helicopter aerobatic flights, aerobatics performances, South Pacific battles, “Candy Bomber” drops, and Skycam drone helicopters. Remote control aircraft on static display will include jets, helicopters, Viper Jets, Warbirds, B-17s, B26Bs, P-47s, a Zero, P-38s, Corsairs, OV-10s, and more.

“We’ll have spectacular airplanes and dog fight action that’s sure to have the crowd on its feet,” said Michael Fetyko, Warbirds West Team Captain. “Combining pilot and engineering skills with the technology required to pull off these breathtaking demonstrations supports our mission to inspire youth toward educational opportunities in science, engineering and mathematics along with a deep appreciation for our rich American history.”

Hilo Community Chorus to Perform Two Requiems

The Hilo Community Chorus will present Luigi Cherubini’s “Requiem in C minor” and Dan Forrest’s “Requiem for the Living” in concert on Saturday, May 28, at 3:00 pm at First United Protestant Church.


The Cherubini, which will be accompanied by Walter Greenwood, premiered January 21, 1816 at a commemoration service for Louis XVI of France on the twenty-third anniversary of his beheading during the French Revolution. It was admired by Beethoven and performed at his funeral. Schumann praised it as being “without equal in the world.”

The five movements of Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living, (2013) form a narrative just as much for the living, and their own struggle with pain and sorrow, as for the dead. It will be accompanied by an instrumental ensemble and will be conducted by Dr. Daniel Mahraun, who first conducted HCC last spring at the Palace Theater. Rachel Edwards, last year’s recipient of the Hawaii Concert Society’s scholarship, will be the guest soprano soloist.

Moriah Mathson, student at UH-Hilo, will be the recipient of the third annual Hilo Community Chorus Tom McAlexander Choral Music Scholarship award for 2016. According to her instructor, Amy Horst, “ Moriah is a Senior Psychology major with a 3.96 GPA. She has been an extremely dedicated alto singer in the University Chorus this past semester, and I look forward to her continuing with University Chorus in the Fall, and then joining the Kapili Choir in the Spring, next school year.”

Admission is $10 and tickets may be purchased from chorus members or at the door. For more information, call HCC choral director Tom McAlexander (985-7192) or email

Hawaii Police Department Announces Promotions

HPDBadgeChief Harry S. Kubojiri has promoted the following seven sworn officers to the following positions:

Scott J. Kurashige, hired in 1990, was promoted from Area II Juvenile Aid Section detective to lieutenant assigned to Kona Patrol, effective April 1.

Jenny K. L. Lee, hired in 2004, was promoted from South Hilo Patrol officer to sergeant assigned to the Kaʻū District, effective May 16.

William C. Brown, hired in 2003, was promoted from South Hilo Patrol officer to detective assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigations Section, effective May 16.

Officer Nelson M. Acob, hired in 1999, was promoted from Hāmākua Patrol officer to sergeant assigned to the Communications/Dispatch Section, effective May 16.

Kalaʻe R. Lee, hired in 2004, was promoted from Area II Vice officer to sergeant assigned to the Kaʻū District, effective May 16.

Richard A. Itliong, hired in 2002, was promoted from South Hilo Community Policing officer to detective assigned to the Area II Juvenile Aid Section, effective May 16.

Gavin K. Kagimoto, hired in 2004, was promoted from South Hilo Community Policing officer to detective assigned to the Area II Juvenile Aid Section, effective May 16.