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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Stinging creatures shut beach

By Vicki Viotti
Advertiser Staff Writer

Stacey Philipocom of La'ie picks up a Portuguese man- of-war on display at Hanauma Bay education center.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

Lifeguards will decide tomorrow morning whether to reopen Hanauma Bay, following the popular beach's closure yesterday because of Portuguese man-of-war, the marine creatures that can leave swimmers with painful stings.

The bay is normally closed on Tuesdays for routine maintenance.

In addition, a few box jellyfish, which can cause even more painful injury, have turned up, said Jim Howe, chief of operations for the city lifeguards.

People are being allowed access to the viewing deck and to rim hiking trails but not to the beach. Howe said the situation is being monitored.

"It all depends on the wind because the Portuguese man-of-war come on the wind-driven current," said Alan Hong, Hanauma Bay manager. "The last time we closed the bay because of box jellyfish was in May, and it's been quite a few years since we closed the bay because of man-of-war."

The risk to swimmers is especially acute at Hanauma, Howe said, because its water is contained and the creatures linger.

Other beaches, such as Ala Moana, Waikiki, Sandy and Makapu'u, are unscathed by the creatures, Howe said.

Man-of-war swarms are wind- and current-driven but can be unpredictable, he said.

Staff writer Suzanne Roig contributed to this report.