Cheyne Settlemire, 27, of Ewa Beach said he woke up feeling just a little bit better about life Monday morning.
"There were birds singing (and) everything was all good," a smiling Settlemire told reporters, one day after his toothy encounter with a 13-foot tiger shark.
Settlemire was skin diving off Yokohama Bay Sunday afternoon at about 2 p.m. when the large shark came from behind and startled him. Settlemire believes the shark attempted to latch onto a fish hanging from his dive float more than a dozen times.
However, during one pass in particular, the shark headed directly toward him, prompting Settlemire to fire his speargun. Unfortunately, the .357 slug attached to the end of the speargun was a dud, but it was still enough to startle the massive fish.
"I know I hit him because I saw this ripple go across his face, and his eyes kind of blinked," said Settlemire. "I thought that was the end of it, but he went away and then he did a circle again."
That's when Settlemire decided to get back to shore as quickly as possible, since his dive partner, Travis, was still about 400 yards offshore. After kicking on his back for about 15 to 20 minutes, he crawled over a rocky ledge and sought help from a nearby family.
Within five minutes, Settlemire said lifeguards on personal watercraft had picked up Travis and another skin diver who were floating helplessly offshore.
"They're the real heroes," said Settlemire. "They saved the day."
Lifeguards at Yokohama Bay posted shark warning signs, but by Sunday morning the beach was back to normal.
"The shark probably just smelled the dead fish and was just hungry," said Capt. Kelly Krohne, of Honolulu's Ocean Safety Division. "Our ski operators are trained to handle situations like this, and they will first get everybody out of the area, and then proceed to try and locate the shark or chase it off."