As we crest over the worst of winter and start looking forward to spring and warmer weather, a tricky question sits waiting on the horizon.
How do you solve a problem like shark attacks? Or, more to the point, is there one? There are more of us in the water than ever before. Are there more of them? And is that why WA has suffered through an horrific 10 months, with five fatal attacks?
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In the era of The Real Julia, a cricket captain entrapped by media trainers and wall-to-wall corporate spokespeople, you don’t hear many bullshit-free interviews.
As a little summer refreshment, listen to this chat this morning on ABC Radio 702 with Rick Parsons from North Avoca Surf Life Saving Club.
Last night there was a SHARK ATTACK! on his beach. Thankfully the 28-year-old surfer who was bitten on the arm is ok, but standard precautions were this morning carried out, including closing the beach and helicopter patrols.
Mr Parsons sounds like the sort of bloke you want around in a crisis. Crisis? What crisis?
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Quint would be pleased. The professional shark-hunter from Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws would raise a glass and toast the WA government’s decision to authorise the destruction of the shark responsible for a diver’s death at Rottnest Island last week.
And just like in Jaws, there’s community hysteria, a loss of reasoned thought, at the idea there is a man-eater waiting in the shallows off the coast.
This reaction is admirable and understandable. The loss of a life through misadventure is tragic. Often the casualty is in their prime and their loved ones are always devastated. Our unreserved sympathies go out to those left behind in what must be the worst imaginable circumstances. No act or sentiment can ever fill the hole left in their lives.
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Some people get all the luck. Paul Welsh is surfing with his son, gets bitten (sorry, that should read ‘savagely menaced’) by a docile and mostly harmless Wobbegong and out come the cheque books.
Before a stitch is even sewn, he’s been snapped up by a television network and an early morning trip to the beach is now a big earner. Well done mate. If reports on the websites are true, you’ve hit the Shark-pot.
Shame it was only a Wobbegong. Imagine what you’d get for an actual Great White.
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