Shark Attack in Avalon

There has been a seemingly increased spate of shark attacks around Sydney’s coast this summer with big debates going as to why this might be; experts are saying it is because Sydney’s waters are cleaner and warmer and are bringing fish closer to shore, hence their predators moving in closer also. I haven’t thought that much of it, not being a surfer I don’t tend to swim in the open ocean too much, preferring to stick to the calmer rock baths or the more secluded Pittwater inlet, though I guess they are just as likely to venture into Pittwater as they are the beaches.

Anyway, early Sunday morning (1 March 2009) Mat came back from the shops with milk and bread declaring there had just been a shark attack on our local beach at Avalon. There were helicopters still scanning the area after a young lad had been bitten whilst out surfing with his dad. We now know he will be ok; the shark bit into his leg damaging his calf and thigh but it’s not too serioius so say and he is already talking about getting back out into the surf.

It has not been confirmed how big or what type of shark it was but it is the third attack in this area in less than three weeks. The media has been warning people not to swim at dawn or dusk or even to avoid the water altogether.

A navy diver lost a hand and a leg to a 2.7 metre bull shark within sight of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 11 February. The following day, a 33-year-old surfer was lucky not to lose his arm after an attack by a 2.5 metre great white shark (or white pointer as the Aussies seem to call them here) at the famous Bondi Beach.

Amongst others, there was the famous shark sighting at Long Reef on 29 December 2008. We had moved to Avalon from Long Reef just nine days previous; maybe it is following us lol. The story here was that two guys were kayaking about a kilometre off the Reef when a 4 metre great white started circling them. One of the guys actually fell out of his kayak and was lucky enough to be rescued by some fishermen out in their tinnie nearby before the shark decided to have a nibble. They tied their kayaks to the tinnie and were dragged into shore whilst the shark continued to circle them for about ten minutes. I don’t reckon the shark could have been particularly hungry or they would have been munched for sure. Apparently one of the guys, despite his near death experience, managed to capture the shark on video. I will search for this when I get home and post it here as apparently it is on Youtube.

Personally, I am not going to overly concern myself with these horror stories; as one guy keeps saying – you are more likely to get run over by a bus than get attacked by a shark, and I think this is quite true. I can’t help thinking how lucky those kayakers were to get an up-close-and-personal experience with a great white in its natural environment, capture it on video and escape unscathed. That beats paying to go cage diving to see the magnificent fish, (something that me and my brother intend on doing when he comes out for a visit) though perhaps you would not fully appreciate the situation until you were back on dry land and the adrenilin had stopped pumping nineteen to the dozen!

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