I nearly wrote this post 3 weeks ago when some amazing footage of a Great White was filmed off Western Australia (WA) and he kept gliding sidways with his eye coming out of the water right beside the boat looking at the crew - it was very freaky. Then i nearly wrote it last week when 2 scuba divers had just jumped in the water off WA and a great white circled them checking them out but they fended him off (i'm assuming he didnt actually attempt to bite them) with a gidgy spear all filmed on their headgear camera. But today, another surfer has been taken off the WA coast making it the 5th death in 10 months in this area (by this area i do mean about 1000km of coastline) and 7th attack by shark.
So, we have heaps of divers and snorkellers on these boards, are you worried? If youre a surfer are you worried? There was some footage of a shark fin near a kayak off the US this week too so is it not just WA this is happenning?
There seems to be lots of argument about why we suddenly have so many attacks - are we taking all their fish so they are hungry, is our water temp too warm, too cold, encouraging them to come inland. In WA we have shark patrols every summer going up and down the coast since someone got eaten about 5 years ago and now theyve taken to tagging them so they can see where they swim and close beaches knowing where they are. I grew up at the beach and was a lifesaver when i was a kid, we knew there was sharks and i had no fear of them at all...but now... i dont think i'd go into the water off WA more than about waist height without being stressed. Seems so strange to me.... what do you guys think?
Short answer? Not at all! 😊
When we were in WA we saw some news about a diver taken from Near Rottnest a few months previously and a guide was attacked at Coral Bay (although I think that may have been a tiger shark attack rather than a great white) while we were in Perth.
Didn't stop us from swimming or taking our kids in either.... Waves and rip tides were a far bigger concern.
Honestly there's a far greater chance of being hit by a car on the walk to the beach than there is of being attacked by anything in the water yet you don't take that walk, getting nervous every time you hear an engine...
Ok so on the weekend we had our 5th fatality in 7 months...this time another surfer.
These sharks are showing some interesting behaviour - divers are not normally taken at depth where the last two divers were taken (as in not sitting at 5m deco stop), with the others being swimmers and surfers.
Tam, my opinion...we protected the sharks 25 years ago, we forgot to protect the fisheries they need to eat. Its whale season, seal pups are in the water....huge increase in human activity in the water...
There is starting to be a theory that these attacks this year have been the same shark...perhaps old (wouldnt get to that size without being very old), perhaps a few years ago had a mistaken test bite of a human and is remembering while it didnt taste too good it was easy prey, but much easier to catch one of those than all that effort chasing a fish.
Im not sure sharks have that level of reasoning, we know so little about them let alone how and what they think. My dad was diving in 1967 at Jurien Bay with a guy named Bob Bartle...only half of Bob came home that trip. It didnt put Dad off diving and it wont put me off diving either.
I would not be worried about entering the water we do not have rogue killer shark infestations what we have is an outlier spate of attacks in an area known for big sharks. Media is influencing idiots to go out and basically torment Sharks as seen in the pic of the poor shark with a gaff hanging out of it leaping into the water after the idiot pulling in a 2m reef shark had it eaten before he could land it. Why go out fishing for sharks in the first place and when you hook one if it gets eaten by a bigger one that is just how it is....spearing it with a gaff to take pictures and get yourself on the news....big thumbs down.
Why be worried about sharks. That is part of risk of going in the ocean. that risk is what makes you feel alive. As worried as you can be about sharks just think the most dangerous thing you do everyday is get behind the wheel of a car. Don't let "danger" stop you from trying something special.
Brian the problem with the sharks in Western Australia is the beaches are closed every time there is a shark sighting which is most days...If we didnt have such crappy no viz no fish water anyway I would be diving with the sharks here.....but the govt wont let us......so I will go further afield to some very sharky spots in the south pacific.
I have issues with the govt closing the beaches on a shark sighting...I love sharks, its their home, I dive knowing I share their home. But when there are dept of conservation officers and lifeguards stopping you from entering the water that choice is removed.
In our experience here in South Africa, we have found that sharks mainly attack surfers and swimmers, not so much divers (although that can happen). It tends to be on the surface of the water and on one or two occasions has been in shallow waves. Having said that, it is their territory, and we enter the sea with that in mind (very much like walking with our wild animals in the bush) There is a lot going on under water, that we wouldn't even be aware of and if it is your time ... it certainly beats being shot or knocked over by a bus!
Indeed Alma..you never see headines on the front page of the paper saying...
South African killed in Australia by walking infront of bus.
Nowdays you get worldwide media coverage if eaten by a shark :D