A North Shore woman is sharing her story of survival after being attacked by a shark on New Year’s Eve.
It was the second tragedy in her life in just a matter of weeks.
Marjorie Mariano decided to paddle out from Laniakea Beach around 5 p.m. to catch some waves.
“The ocean was so beautiful and calm, and it was a beautiful last day of 2017,” she recalled.
The longtime surfer admired the rising full moon and started heading back to shore.
That’s when her life changed.
“I felt kind of like a warm feeling, like something approached, something big, but I didn’t see any fin coming. It approached and it bit me,” Mariano said. “Right away, I turn back and I look at the face of the shark … Eye to eye, it felt like we both looked in each other’s eyes.”
A shark clamped down on her left leg and Mariano says she tried to use her surfboard as a weapon.
“I flipped it, and I think the shark was not able to complete the bite all the way, so close his teeth and take my leg, a chunk of me. So he leaves it and when I flipped the board, I kind of lifted his body, his face went up,” she said. “I have that picture. I can draw on the paper exactly the picture of the shark, my leg, and his eyes staring at me, his nose pointing a little higher.”
Mariano says she put her “legs up and paddled as hard as I could toward the channel to get out of there.”
Mariano called the experience surreal, and says she had a guardian angel looking out for her: her best friend, Telma Boinville, a North Shore woman who was recently murdered.
“I felt she was there surfing with me. I know she helped me to fight the shark,” Mariano said.
Doctors say it’s not clear if she’ll get back to 100 percent, but if you ask Mariano, there’s no question about it.
“In my mind, I believe I will,” she said. “I have faith that I’m going to turn around this page one day, look back, and I’m going to get back.”