Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ugly Little Bugger, Isn't He! (The shark, I mean.)

Have you ever heard of a cookie cutter shark? Nope, neither had I … and I’ve lived in Hawaii for more than 45 years. But these little critters grow to about 20 inches in length and are aptly named because they clamp onto their victims and when the unlucky fish twists trying to get away, the little shark ends up with a neat little 2-inch disk of flesh. According to the experts, these nasty little guys lurk in the depths during the day, but come up to the surface at night looking for dinner.

About a week ago, Mike Spaulding, a 61-year-old realtor who lives here on Maui, met a cookie cutter shark up close and personal. Spaulding, you see, is a long-distance, deep-water swim enthusiast who was attempting to swim from the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui across the 30-mile-wide Alenuihaha Channel.

After four hours in the water -- it was close to 8:00 p.m. and night had fallen -- Spaulding was about a third of the way across the channel when he felt a sharp pain in his chest. A few seconds later – zap! – same thing on the calf of his left leg.

Since it’s not a good idea to be bleeding out in the middle of the ocean at any time, let alone at night, he climbed into the kayak that was accompanying him and they radioed a support boat cruising nearby. Once aboard, he was patched up … with a towel and duct tape! … and they headed for Maui.

Some three hours later, Spaulding was at the Maui Memorial Medical Center getting patched up professionally and telling everyone he would soon be taking another shot at the Alenuihaha Channel.

After examining Mike's wounds, experts are are certain that a cookie cutter shark was indeed responsible.

But what a guy! Sixty-one years old, in great shape ... and completely crazy!

Hospital photo from The Maui News


Mike said...

Some guys will do anything for a little attention from a cute nurse...

But, yeah, that shark is hideous to say the least. I'd never heard of 'em and don't believe I'd care to meet one!

Kevin Love said...

To quote my grandfather:

"Sanity is highly overrated"