This isn’t meant to be one of those dick-measuring posts, but I read with bemusement ‘Fear on Cape Cod‘ from NYT October 21 which recounts in hysterical detail all six shark attacks in the area since 2012.
That’s right. Six.
We lose more Australians to magpie attacks each year. More American tourists get eaten by fucking wombats for God’s sake! And Asians? Don’t get me started on Asians — our crocodylian population loves Chinese: It’s the marine-brotherhood’s revenge for shark’s fin soup.
To put this into non-dick-measuring context, 26 Australians were taken by sharks since 2012. Yep, 26, and we don’t bat an eyelid, let alone fill a hundred column-inches with hysterical prose about “apex predators feasting up and down our coastlines”.
Nah. We just shrug, slip into our wetsuits and reckon “She’ll be right mate.” In other countries, the authorities erect warning signs after a shark attack. In Australia, they never take them down.
My favourites are Christine Armstrong, 63, who went out for her morning swim at Tathra Beach on 3 April 2014 and was eaten whole by a great white. And young Damian Johnson, 25 July 2015, who was collecting scallops off Maria Island in Tasmania, got attacked and killed infront of his daughter. Or Laeticia Brouwer, 17 old, attacked while surfing, had her whole leg torn off by a Great White infront of her family.
The “taken” list goes on and on.
But six shark attacks in ten years makes the NYT? The hysteria in Jaws (1975) is now beginning to make some kind of sense. For a country where an acceptable percentage of the population get killed by panthers and bears every year, you get surprisingly sooky about great white shark attacks.
I blame the movie.
So take it from me here in Shark Central — Great Whites are like COVID mate, gotta learn to live with them. And, you know, occasionally fight for your life sorta thing.
THAT SAID, a friend of mine wears a ‘shark shield’ whenever he dives for submerged wrecks and relics from the estuaries and rivers around Sydney. He wears it because our rivers are infested with bull sharks, and he doesn’t want to get eaten.
Reasonable precaution, I reckon.
I used to go deap-sea fishing with a mate. Not anymore. Another friend recently started fishing for flathead out of a kayak. Nup. Only “temporary Australians” fish out of kayaks. My diver mate is urging me to slip on my 8mm and join him in the bull shark infested rivers. I’ll take a raincheck on that dude.
Because in Australia if you don’t want to die by being eaten, you don’t get in the water.
How many world-class Australian surfers are Aboriginal? Zero. They’ve been here 60,000 years, is why. They’re smart. “Fuck that bro!” is there advice on surfing, kayaking, spearfishing, diving, etc. Aboriginals don’t enter the feeding environment of two-tonne killing machines for fun.
We’ve had exactly zero shark-related fatalities on dry land since 2012: So keep out of the water, and take your chances with the magpies.