Surfing: Be aware, sharks are still out there
OK FOLKS, this is my last utterance here for the year, so I'd like to take this opportunity wish you all the best for the season and here's hoping 2016 is a prosperous and peaceful new year for us all.
Also, just a little heads up: I and a few others I know well, had a pretty damn close encounter with a smallish but rather aggressive shark at Wategos this week.
Now granted we were out near the cape, which is a pretty sharky spot to say the least, so having a run in with a shark out there is hardly surprising. What was surprising, however, was the reaction of the vast majority of the crowd.
We warned them what was going on before preceding to head in ourselves. Yet most just stayed out where the action was, as this shark continued to feed on some fish.
I even heard people saying, 'don't worry about it, sharks are harmless.'
It's your choice if you wish to believe that, but if you knowingly stay in close proximity to a wild predator that's actively feeding, then don't go screaming, 'rogue shark, time for a cull', if you happen to get hit.
Later that same day another bloke I know spotted five more sharks from the cape walkway heading north into Wategos.
So just be aware, they're still around in numbers.
The simple reality is that sharks are sharks and they do sharky-type things, which happens to include testing things in the water with their teeth, to see if it's food or not.
You don't need to be afraid, but do be aware. Remember if a shark turns up, it's wise to give it some space to do its thing until it moves on.
Pay attention to what the lifeguards tell you as well - it's their job to look out for your safety. If they request you leave the water, do so. Try not to make their very difficult job any harder.
As for the waves, well the weather is in flux at the moment, as it's beginning to switch into the summer trade wind pattern.
Yet that pattern hasn't fully established itself just yet, so the chances for good consistent swell are still fairly low.
The good news is, that the change has begun, so there's more hope than we've had, of late, for some easterly swells hitting our shores.
I won't get too excited just yet though, as I suspect we may have to wait a week or two longer before we see much more.
Stay safe, wait your turn, and surf today like you want surf again tomorrow.