Kaiwi Channel

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Read the following study (left) before planning a Kaiwi Channel cross.

Moonless night sky increases Isistius species and live human contactThe nocturnal feeding behavior and zoogeographical habitat of cookiecutter sharks Isistius brasiliensis and Isistius plutodus ( Isistius spp .) greatly reduces interaction of this species with live humans. Attacks on live humans are exceedingly rare with 7 cases reported worldwide, 6 of them in Hawai‘i, and 5 of these occuring among channel swimmers. Published research suggests that periods of bright moonlight may increase Isistius spp . contact with live humans and does not otherwise identify significant trends or risk factors. Yet 5 of the 6 Isistius spp . bites on live humans in Hawai‘ian waters occurred with the moon set and after nautical twilight end and before nautical twilight start. From 1961-2023 in Hawai‘i, 129 successful solo channel crosses and 5 Isistius spp . related injuries in the habitat of cookiecutter sharks were analyzed across two groups: one where both the moon and sun were set (dark group) and one where the moon and/or sun was in the sky (light group). There was a significant difference for swimmers bitten by Isistius spp . in the dark 4 (12%) versus light groups 1 (1%), p=0.012, RR 12.6 (95% confidence interval: 1.5-108.9). Swim start time and year was also significant (Pearson correlation 0.566, p <0.001). Swimmer gender and use of shark deterrent devices and artificial illumination were not significant. The growing popularity of channel swimming in Hawai‘i and swim start times have contributed to an increasing likelihood of live human and Isistius spp . contact and a moonless night sky is a significant risk factor for this interaction. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.