Shark attacks on the rise in Australia? Shark zones include beaches near us...More Port Douglas photos...



This was the first time since our arrival in June that we saw this many sunbathers at a beach in Australia.  The sun is very strong here resulting in the use of rental umbrellas and shade as needed. 
While living in Hawaii for eight months we frequently heard about shark attacks at a variety of nearby beaches.  While living in Australia, we continue to watch news stories of more and more shark attacks in Australia and throughout the world.

Here is an amazing video of a shark attack that occurred a week ago to a renowned Australian surfer, Mick Fanning, during a surfing competition in South Africa that occurred one week ago with hundreds of shocked onlookers.  Watch how he remarkable gets free of the shark.

Here is a timeline of fatal shark attacks published on July 25, 2015 by Australian Geographic:

"According to the Australian Shark Attack File, kept by researchers at Sydney's Taronga Conservation Society, there have been 999 shark attacks in Australia since records began in 1791, and 232 of them have been fatal. All up, about one-quarter of shark attacks are fatal, and the average fatal attack is one person/year.


Large sharks, such as these five species, range far and wide and visit multiple levels of the water column. (Credit: Australian Geographic).

Timeline of fatal Australian shark attacks

25 July, 2015: Tasmanian man Damian Johnson, 46, is killed by a great white shark while diving for scallops with his daughter, between Maria and Lachland islands.  

9 February, 2015: Japanese national Tadashi Nakahara, 41, is killed at Shelly Beach, at Ballina, in northern NSW. A local surf shop employee, he was believed to be taken by a great white shark while he was out surfing.

29 December, 2014: Jay Muscat, is killed at Chaeynes Beach, east of Albany in Western Australia.

15 December, 2014: Daniel Smith, 18, of Mossman, is killed while fishing at Rudder Reef, off the coast of Port Douglas.

9 September, 2014: Paul Wilcox, 50, is found floating and is unable to be resuscitated after being pulled from the water near Clarkes Beach at Byron Bay. Wiitnesses saw a 3m great white in the area immediately after the attack.

3 April, 2014: Christine Armstrong, 63 is taken by a suspected bronze whaler shark as she lagged behind her daily swimming group at Tathra Beach, NSW. 

8 February, 2014: High school English teacher and experienced diver Sam Kellet, 28, is killed by a suspected great white shark while he was spear fishing near Edithburgh, SA.

29 November, 2013: Zac Young, 19, dies from cardiac arrest after being attacked by a shark while bodyboarding with friends near Riecks Point north of Coffs Harbour in NSW.

23 November 2013: Chris Boyd, 35, is attacked by a shark, believed to be a great white, while surfing at the popular surf break Umbries off Gracetown in WA.


14 July 2012: Ben Linden, 24, is killed while surfing near Wedge Island, Western Australia, 180km north of Perth. A witness who tried to help said the shark swam away with the body.

31 March 2012: Peter Kurmann, 33, is taken in south-western WA while diving in the Port Geographe Marina. His brother, who was diving with him, tried to fight off the shark with a knife.

22 October, 2011: American tourist George Thomas Wainwright, 32, sustains horrific injuries and dies while scuba diving off Rottnest Island.

10 October, 2011: Bryn Martin, 64, disappears at Cottesloe Beach and is presumed a shark attack victim. Only his damaged Speedos were found.

4 September, 2011: Kyle Burden, 21, is taken by a shark while bodyboarding with friends at Bunker Bay, near Dunsborough, in Western Australia.

17 February 2011: An abalone diver is taken in an attack by two sharks, believed to be great whites, while surfacing near Perforated Island in Coffin Bay, South Australia.

17 August 2010: A 31-year-old man dies from serious injuries after being attacked by a shark while surfing near Gracetown in Western Australia's south-west.

27 December 2008: Fisherman Brian Guest, 51, is taken by a great white while snorkelling at Port Kennedy in Perth's south. His son and beachgoers saw the shark attack and swim off with him in its mouth.

8 April 2008: A 16-year-old boy from Wollongbar is killed by a shark while bodyboarding off Ballina's Lighthouse Beach on the NSW north coast.

7 January 2006: Sarah Kate Whiley, 21, is mauled by up to three bull sharks while swimming in waist-deep water with friends at Amity Point, off south-east Queensland's North Stradbroke Island.

24 August 2005: Marine biologist Jarrod Stehbens, 23, is taken by a shark, believed to be a great white, while diving for cuttlefish eggs with colleagues off Adelaide's Glenelg Beach.


19 March 2005: Geoffrey Brazier, 26, is attacked by a 6m-long shark, believed to be a great white, while snorkelling near the Abrolhos Islands, off Geraldton, 500km north of Perth.

16 December 2004: Nick Peterson, 18, is killed instantly when attacked by a great white shark while he was being towed behind a boat on a surfboard 300m off Adelaide's popular metropolitan West Beach.


11 December 2004: Mark Thompson, 38, is attacked by a shark while spear fishing with two friends at Opal Reef, about 75km from Cairns in North Queensland. He died from a cardiac arrest soon after the attack.

10 July 2004: Brad Smith, 29, is attacked by two sharks, believed to be a great white and a large bronze whaler, while surfing near Gracetown in Western Australia's south-west.

8 February 2003: Bob Purcell, 84, is attacked by a 2.5m bull whaler while swimming in Burleigh Lake on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

16 December 2002: Beau Martin, 23, is attacked while swimming in Miami Lake on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

30 April 2002: Scallop diver Paul Buckland, 23, is dragged from a mate's arms by a 6m-long great white while trying to get on board a boat in Smoky Bay in the Great Australian Bight, South Australia.

We are located near Cairns, marked at #7 on this map. 
Sure, if we posted a list of all of the fatal auto accidents in these beach areas, it would far exceed the loss of life from shark attacks.  However, the fear associated with shark attacks far exceeds the fear of being in an auto accident.

As posted at all beaches, there are waning sign regarding stingers which are prevalent in these waters throughout Australia.

Although its winter in Australia now, the temperature is a comfortable average of 80F, 27C with sun shining at least part of most days.  One would expect this type of weather to attract sunbathers and swimmers to the beaches. 


Tom walking toward the famous Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas. (More photos of this expanse of beach will be posted tomorrow).
As we continue to visit the local beaches, walking along the shore, we seldom encounter sunbathers and swimmers except as shown in today's photos from our recent visit to Port Douglas.  In this particular location, a resort area, there were multiple lifeguard stations and emergency equipment on hand.  Even in this scenario there were few swimmers in the water.

More signs warning of stingers.  We've seen no warning sign regarding sharks.  Although, when there's an attack, the beach will be closed for a few hours or a day.  Helicopters scan the waters where the attack occurred to determine what type of shark is nearby and if its safe to reopen the beach.  Most often, they spot the Great White. Sharks.

We realized that the stingers and possible crocodiles may be a huge deterrent to swimmers.  Adding the recent news about a shark attacks including this attack reported yesterday, its no wonder the beaches are generally barren.  Luckily, this surfer will also survived the attack after serious injury.


This was a first for us, seeing a sign such as this for treatment of stinger attacks.
As much as we've been encouraged to snorkel and scuba dive, neither of us have a propensity to swim in the ocean.  Believe me, we've literally been nagged by friends and family to take up snorkeling.  We are land people.  And, although we enjoy sitting by a pool and dunking on occasion to cool off, we hardly swim, although we're both good swimmers.

When we began our travels we spent the first two and a half months outside the US in Belize in Central America living with the ocean outside our door, perhaps 25 feet from our veranda.  Each day, we walked along the beach although we'd been warned about stingrays in shallow water.  A tourist staying in the same resort was seriously stung by a stingray while standing in shallow water. It was a four hour drive on an awful road for medical care.

This was the first beach we'd seen that offered chair and umbrella rental.
Our injuries occurred when the steps at our condo collapsed under our feet and we were injured on the night of our anniversary. Tom's injuries were less serious, mainly small cuts and scrapes. (Click here for the post regarding our fall). I refused medical care. It took a month to recover from a back and neck injury.  This particular injury was unavoidable.  There was no evidence that the steps were ready to collapse.

As shown in these photo, few swimmers are in the water, many fearing sharks and stinger.

It was after the  injuries from the fall and the woman being stung by a stingray that we decided to consider our safety above all else in our travels.  It was this diligence that later kept us safe spending nine months in Africa where one can easily be injured on an unlit walkway exiting a restaurant at night, a lack of a handrail on a steep stairway or...much worse.


Some sunbathers are less cautious of the sun.
Of course,
we've taken considerable risks in many of our adventures but those too were made with education and safety measures in mind.  If we were to sustain a serious injury we have no home in which to live to recover, as most people do.  As shown in our many posts, we've experienced so much.  But, entering the ocean, other than in a boat isn't something we choose to do.


This is the resort located across the road from the area we visited.
An oceanfront property is always our first preference in a vacation home, not for swimming but for the view, the smell of the sea and the sound of the waves.  What is more beautiful than the view of the sea?

The ocean must be respected for its vastness, its mystery and its possible risks.  Although the likelihood of being attacked by a shark is very slim, we have no doubt that surfers worldwide are always on the lookout for that fin or the feel of "something" brushing against their skin.  No thanks.
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Photo from one year ago today, August 1, 2014:

One year ago today, we posted our last post for Madeira, Portugal as we made our way to Paris for two weeks staying in a hotel and then on to London for two more weeks in a hotel.  Who travels the world without visiting Paris and London? Please click here to that final post which also offers a link to my first blog post long before we ever decided to travel the world.


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