Sharks have been getting a lot of bad press lately, which must be great news for crocodiles, stingers, stonefish and every other lurking beastie that wants to bring our existence to a screaming halt; literally.
Folks, just getting out of bed in Australia can be fraught with peril, especially if you’re in the top bunk and the ceiling fan is on, but the fact is we also share this country with quite a lot of nasty bities. Some are so poisonous that one nip can kill a bullock ten times over. Why creatures that live off tiny animals need so much venom has never been fully answered to my satisfaction.
Still, nothing makes world news faster than some hapless swimmer being turned into burley by a roving opportunist with scissors for teeth. Yet, since 1788 less than two hundred swimmers have been killed by sharks in Oz, so your odds of being minced by a ‘Noah’ are extremely slim.
More people than that drown at the beach each year, and statistically, you’re much more likely to be mangled while driving to, or from, the seaside. But instead of getting all worried (or hysterical) about potential nautical dangers, then reflect on this as you timidly fry high and dry on the sand this summer; over two thousand sun-bronzed Aussies die from skin cancer every year.
Now that is truly horrifying.
So, less panic, more reason. For starters, swimming far out to sea is not particularly smart, paddling in murky water is just asking for trouble and thrashing about alone in salt water between dusk and dawn is almost bordering on suicidal.
And, with that in mind, I’ll be spending this Christmas paddling in a pool; a shaded pool! But only after it’s been thoroughly checked for spiders, snakes and invisible sharks!