When life mirrors fiction in Hawaii, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference. A couple of days ago two guys were fishing from the shoreline on the Hamakua coast which is the northeast side of the island of Hawaii.
One of them got pulled into the ocean from a rogue wave. His friend jumped into the water to try and help, and they both got sucked out to sea by the current.
By some miracle, they found a tree branch floating offshore and hung onto it as they got pulled farther and farther out to sea. I don’t have a timeline, but I know from news reports they spent the night in the ocean. So let’s say it happened on Thursday afternoon for conversation’s sake. Later that day when they didn’t come home, someone went looking for them and reported them missing.
Finding the tree branch was the first miracle. The second miracle was the next morning around eight a.m. the two fishermen were spotted by a tour helicopter clinging to that branch in the water.
When I was in the Navy, it was pretty much a given that if you fell over the side of the ship into the ocean, the chances of being spotted were almost zero and certain death was virtually guaranteed. That scenario and this had a lot of similarities.
The third miracle was three large Tiger sharks were circling the fisherman when they were spotted, and they didn’t eat them.
By the time the Hawaii Fire Dept. helicopter with a Billy Pugh net arrived to rescue them the sharks could have easily devoured them. But they didn’t because the tour chopper kept buzzing the sharks to scare them away from the fisherman.
So why am I telling you about all this? Because in my novel Death In Paradise there is a chapter that has a couple of scenes that deal with one of the characters being in the ocean overnight being circled by sharks.
At the time I wrote those scenes, plausibility was a concern. Earlier this year there were two pilots in a small plane that crashed in the ocean miles offshore and survived overnight in the water. So I knew it was a possible scenario when I wrote my scenes. And this story just confirms that what I wrote as a wild tale, could have happened.