It started as a typical fishing trip for Maui resident, Leo Pagaduan.  Saturday morning he went fishing in calm waters off west Maui.  It all changed shortly after hooking his first fish, he noticed a big splash.

"So when I look back nothing else is in there, so I when turn around and look my right, the shark is coming towards to me,” said Pagaduan in a phone interview.

Coming towards him was one of the most feared predators of the sea.

"I saw perfectly that it was a great white.  So I when try to call my friend with the radio, they don't believe me. I saw one great white shark,” said Pagaduan.

At first he was afraid he said, but realized the shark was more curious than aggressive.  His friends stayed away from him, but the great white kept circling his kayak for more than an hour.

"Four times he when show up and stay there around like a couple minutes, then he disappears again,” Pagaduan adds.

NOAA shark expert, Melanie Hutchinson said indeed it was a great white shark.  They can be seen in Hawaii during winter and spring, and typically swim at deeper ocean depths and far from shore she said.


Hutchinson said great whites have been coming to Hawaiian waters for years.

"We know that because of some of the tools and weapons from the ancient Hawaiian population.  There are white shark teeth all over them.  Probably have not changed their migratory behaviors very much, so I think they've been coming here for a really long time,” said Hutchinson.

With the popularity of social media and people venturing further off shore, Hutchinson said spotting a great white will likely become more frequent.

"People need to just know that they are here, this is one of their core habitat areas, and be responsible with how they interact with them in the water,” said Hutchinson.

As for Pagaduan, he said his close encounter with that great white shark won't stop him from fishing.

"I may go Makena side, or north side, but not that side anymore."