Whos scared of sharks?
THE three-metre great white shark that attacked Linda Whitehurst in her sea kayak in Byron Bay on Monday isn't keeping others out of the water. According to Alice Livingston who runs Cape Byron Kayaks, she has had six people cancel their trip this week, but overall their numbers are up. "Our numbers have actually improved since the shark attack because everybody wants to come and see it," she said.
Alice, who has been running the kayak tour operation for 12 years, said they do see sharks sometimes, but that she's never had one get up too close. "We do see them, because it's where they live, but we see a lot more whales and dolphins and turtles. I feel a lot safer out here than I do on the Pacific Highway."
Tim Rozea from Sydney was one of the people who did the kayak trip from Clarke's Beach around to Wategos on Friday morning. He said he had no worries after hearing about the shark attack earlier this week, but his wife had backed out. "She wouldn't come today. We'd agreed to do it together, but after the attack she said no."
The news of the shark attack had even reached Scotland, where Phillipa Flanagan's mum had heard about it. "She told me to be really careful and to hit it on the nose if I saw one," said Phillipa who was also on the trip yesterday. "When I heard about it, it made me want to go even more. I was intrigued." She said at one stage during their two-hour trip she thought she heard somebody say "shark", but it was only a dolphin.
Further down the beach the Style Surf School still running classes.
Representative Troy Jackson said the school cancelled classes on the day for safety reasons, but had had no cancellations.
Shark expert, Dr Daniel Bucher who is a senior lecturer in Marine Biology and Fisheries at Southern Cross University said that he wouldn't expect more sharks in our waters at this time of year.
"Most of the great whites would be starting to head south down around the seal colonies. So maybe around Seal Rocks in New South Wales, otherwise they will mostly be down in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. You might find a few following the last of the whales down south," he said.
He added that some whales weak, sick or diseased by the end of their long migratory journey. "The great whites might pick up a free feed if one happens to die."
Dr Bucher also said that other species of shark such as bull sharks, tiger sharks and others from the whaler species that live more in tropical waters are more likely to be moving south into our waters. "As the water warms up, you might find them in increasing numbers. So overall there is a shift in shark population, but not necessarily more or less sharks in our waters," he said.