KAILUA-KONA — Kimberly Bishop remembers the water was clear Tuesday morning at Anaehoomalu Bay as she took pictures of coral and fish from a blue kayak.
The 65-year-old recalled dipping her toe in the water to feel how warm it was. “I didn’t see any sharks at all,” she said.
Out of nowhere she felt a bump from behind. Bishop, a part-time resident, then remembers being knocked out of her kayak.
“Then almost immediately, I felt a chomp on my leg,” she said.
The first thing that crossed Bishop’s mind was to let her husband, Kim, know there was a shark. He was about 200 feet away on a stand-up paddleboard when he heard his wife yell: “Shark! Shark!”
After the shark released her, Kimberly Bishop attempted to climb on top of her overturned kayak. As she was unsuccessful, she slipped back into the ocean, flipped it over and climbed in.
As Kim Bishop started to paddle toward his wife, he said he could see the shark fins behind her. He recalled the animal being at least 6 feet long.
His original plan was tow his wife in until he spotted paddlers from the Waikoloa Canoe Club.
“They were yelling and waving — the universal sign of distress,” said paddler Mike Chinquee.
As the paddlers reached the first point at Anaehoomalu Bay, they found Kimberly Bishop in a kayak with a shark bite and her husband on a paddleboard. Paddlers described her wound as jagged.
“The place for your feet (in the kayak) was filled with blood,” said Ed Teixeira, coach for the Waikoloa Canoe Club.
Chinquee said they brought the couple in and called 911.
“The outriggers were great,” Kim Bishop said. “One person was a doctor.”
After the paddlers towed Kimberly Bishop to safety, they took the canoes back into the ocean to clear the water of other swimmers.
The Hawaii Fire Department arrived at 8:35 a.m. Kimberly Bishop already was on shore. She was ultimately medevaced to North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea.
According to the Fire Department, Bishop was bitten on her right inner-upper thigh. The bite mark was about 12 inches in diameter.
“The doctor said it was a deep bite, but it didn’t hit any major nerves,” Kim Bishop said about his wife’s injury.
She’s expected to be released from the hospital in a couple of days.
Kimberly Bishop was upbeat Tuesday afternoon as she reflected on all that had happened earlier that day. She expects to fully recover.
“I expect to get back into a kayak again, but not tomorrow,” she said.
She also passed along some advice.
“Make sure you have a partner in the water,” she said.
State Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman Dan Dennison said later Tuesday that the type of shark and size had not been confirmed, according to an Associated Press report. Dennison said once Kimberly Bishop is able, officials will interview her to gather more details.
The Bishops couldn’t identify the shark, but they didn’t think it was a reef shark.
Tuesday’s incident is the second shark attack within a month. On March 26, a 74-year-old man was bumped out of his one-man outrigger canoe while paddling in Keawaiki Bay, just south of Anaehoomalu Bay. Michael Bernstone said a 12-foot shark bit the back of his canoe.
He suffered a laceration to his right calf, which he couldn’t recall if it was from the shark or being knocked out of the canoe. However, he stated it didn’t look like a shark bite.
Two shark attacks in the same area along the Kohala Coast within the past month has some watergoers uneasy.
“Two within months is unsettling,” said paddler Ted Cassinelli.
Michael Domeier, director of the Marine Conservation Science Institute, said the recent shark attacks are definitely an anomaly.