The beach is near Makena Landing along the south west coast of Maui, which has been my favorite spot for kayaking and snorkelling. The area has a lot of beautiful corals, fish, caves, and green sea turtles. In fact it is often referred to as "turtle town".
That landing also has an interesting history. In the 19th century, before the American transcontinental railroad was built, cattle raised on Maui's slopes were driven down to Makena landing by the "paniolos" (cowboys), herded into the surf, lashed to boats and taken out to ships, which hoisted them aboard and took them to San Fransisco. I once found a horse shoe while snorkeling in that bay.
It is quite possible that the diver's death was not caused by a shark. This person may have been caught in a cave and attacked by a shark later. Purely speculation at this point. I've never seen a shark at that location, but because of the presence of turtles, they are known to come into the area.
If it was a shark that caused the death, it would be only the 15th death from shark attack in Hawaii in the last 100 years, and the 99th attack. Considering the millions of people who enjoy the oceans around Hawaii each year, it's a very rare tragedy. This bay is visited by hundreds of people every day. So don't let stories such as this keep you from enjoying the water.
If you want something to worry about on a tropical vacation, how about this:
Coconuts are 15 times deadlier than sharks. It's true. A coconut can weigh up to four kilograms (8.8 pounds). Falling from a 25 meter tree it would reach a speed of about 80 kilometers per hour, hitting the ground (or perhaps your head) with a force of one metric ton. Around the world, 150 people a year are killed by falling coconuts - 15 times the number of deaths caused by sharks.
Well, now that I've had this gruesome to story remind me of a very beautiful bay which holds many happy memories for me, I'll post some of my pics of kayaking, snorkeling, and turtle watching there. Next post.