Ocean Safety officials urge extreme caution after photos emerge

Halona Blowhole

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It was another really busy day for lifeguards with big waves rolling in on the south.

By 4 p.m. Sunday lifeguards rescued and helped 220 people and performed 600 preventative actions along the south shore of Oahu which includes the waters off Waikiki and Ala Moana.

The high surf also affected parts of East Oahu as well especially Sandy Beach.

Lifeguards there rescued and helped 75 people and performed 250 preventative actions.

Many of those preventative actions occurred when people were getting too close to the waters edge, climbing out on ledges, or even standing next to blowholes.

The ocean was showing her force Sunday.

While some were gracefully reading her every move, others were not as savvy.

“Very strong currents have high surf still , for your safety please keep it on the beach,” warned a Sandy Beach lifeguard from his bullhorn.

Those wandering off on their own, were taking precious rescue resources away from the beach.

Take a look at these pictures. This group of guys were seen hanging out near Halona blowhole Saturday around 6 p.m. They were several hundred yards away from Sandy Beach.

“Like 6 or 8 feet sets barreling over the point dragging whoever or whatever out to sea,” described Water Safety Officer Aka Tamashiro.

By the time lifeguards were able to reach them a wave had already knocked them all off their feet.

“You could see not just the blowhole but the waves just smacked them, it was dark out, they were crazy ,” said Joe Silver, who witnessed the event last night.

Luckily they were able to make it to safety but not without getting cut up from the jagged rocks.

“They really lucked out, we all lucked out. Those guys, I don’t think they have any idea of how lucky they are to be alive,” said Tamashiro.

Even during the time we were covering this story, we witnessed about five people getting dangerously close to the blow hole and another five people getting escorted away from that rocky area, ignoring lifeguards warnings.

We went to ask them why they chose to ignore lifeguards who were trying to get them to turn around.

“We heard them turn something on, but we couldn’t hear what they were saying,” said Cody Fitzsimmons, a Pearl Harbor resident.

We asked them if they were worried while they were over there, and he replied, “If you get close enough to the rocks you won’t get in trouble or anything.”

And that’s the misconception lifeguards hope to change, before it’s too late.

“If the rocks are wet, they’re wet for a reason because the waves are breaking on there. Take a second to look at your surroundings,” cautioned Tamashiro.

Many of the people needing to be rescued at China Walls this weekend, were walking on the edge as well, within the oceans reach.

A place that can be just far enough from a lifeguards reach.

“Experience, inexperience, seasoned veterans visitors everybody. Everybody’s been needing help. The ocean is really not discriminating,” reminds Tamashiro.

Lifeguards say this is one of the most consistently big swells they’ve seen since the 1990s.

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