How did a 70-click stretch of coast become ground zero for Great White shark attacks?
You hardly need me to remind you that the little stretch of coast from Evans Head to Byron has become ground zero for Great White attacks, an honour Cape Town and Margaret River were thrilled to relinquish. A potentially lucrative upshot if you’ve got a dive biz for thrill seekers or if you’re a surgeon specialising in combat wounds; not so great if you surf or if you’ve got little kids who like to catch a couple of reforms on their foamies.
In the past couple of years there’s been eleven attacks, two fatal, and innumerable near-misses on the seventy-click stretch. Nightmarish attacks. A swimmer killed in knee-deep water near the Pass by a Great White. A surfer killed by a Great White after it ripped off both his legs.
Anyway, the government is about to drop nets and, good god, the you should see the weeping from the snowflakes who view it as the extermination of an entire species. You’d think kittens were being throttled in front of their mothers.
The reporter and surfer Fred Pawle has taken an active interest in the events and the public’s response. And, this week in The Australian, he presents a six-part series, with video, that provides the most comprehensive reporting yet on the saga.
In today’s episode, The Families, moms talk about spending every day shivering with fear that a husband or a kid’s going to end up in a box. And, as summed up by the shaper Phil Myers.
“I’m just worried about my kids and my friends’ kids,” he says.”The mood in the water is a lot different. You don’t just paddle out and look for the waves and sit around and chat and everything. Everyone’s sort of looking this way, that way and up and down the beach, or you know, waiting for the helicopter to come over.”
Myers knew the region had changed when he went surfing at Shelly Beach one day in late 2014. “I was just out on my board, talking to some of my son’s mates, and I turned around and this thing came around behind me,” he says. “I was only 50 yards off the beach. And it laid beside me and I sort of sat on my board and looked at the tail, and then looked right along it. It was like a front of a jet, with these huge pectoral fins sticking out and this great big pointed nose.
“I just turned around the guys and said, ‘There’s a fucking white pointer down here, sitting right beside me’.”
A few months later, Tadashi Nakahara, a father and local surfer, was attacked and killed at the same beach. “It was like they arrived overnight,” Myers says. “It’s just not normal, mate. It’s not normal.”
Upcoming episodes include: The Conservationists, The Surfers, The Politics and Science, The Business Owners and Solutions. A new ep every day from today until Saturday.