Tuesday, August 28, 2012
WESTERN Australia's reputation as the world's deadliest place for shark attacks is hurting tourism and the federal government should consider lifting the ban on fishing of great whites, the state government says.
With the search called off on Sunday afternoon (WST) for the great white believed to have killed 24-year-old Perth man Ben Linden on Saturday, WA Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said he was "very distressed" by the death and the state's shark attack toll of five deaths in 10 months.
He issued orders on Saturday for staff from his department to kill any sharks measuring four to five metres in length - the estimated size of the shark that attacked Mr Linden - in the area of the latest attack.
The 4m killer, dubbed Brutus by surfers near Wedge Island, 180km north of Perth, mauled Mr Linden as he surfed with a mate about 9am.
"Five fatalities in Western Australia (in 10 months) is unprecedented and cause for great alarm," Mr Moore said.
"It won't be helping our tourism industry and those people who want to come here to enjoy an ocean experience will be turned away because of this situation."
Mr Linden's girlfriend Alana Noakes said yesterday she had been left devastated by the tragedy.
On her Facebook page she said of her boyfriend: "Ben was the most amazing man, he lit up the lives of all who knew him."
"He was the most talented, good-natured, beautiful person I've ever met. He was the love of my life, my best friend, my rock and my soulmate."
Mr Linden's own Facebok page was flooded with moving and emotional tributes.
Dave Beckett wrote that Mr Linden was one of the most genuine blokes he knew.
"I'll treasure our chats and regret the number of times we planned to do something but didn't," Mr Beckett said.
Another friend wrote: "Your energy, drive and passion for music, surfing and life in general will be greatly missed bud."
Cabinetmaker Mr Linden was also a singer and bassist in Perth band Fools Rush In, which featured on radio Triple J's national unearthed segment.
Local police and volunteers are expected to continue to comb beaches for Mr Linden's remains, which have yet to be recovered, while beaches in the immediate area will remain closed for at least two days.
Fisheries officials called off the hunt for the shark yesterday afternoon because they had not seen any large sharks in the area, but Mr Moore said he would lift a protection order on great whites if the federal government did the same.
He said he would lobby Canberra to allow commercial and recreational fishing of the species, saying there was anecdotal evidence great white numbers had recovered significantly since they were first protected in Australia in the 1990s.
However, he would not be sanctioning state shark hunts or culls.
Shark nets were not the answer, either, as they killed whales and other marine life.
Mr Moore said the community was "divided" over reducing great white shark numbers and that more research was needed to plot their migration and feeding habits.
Swimmers and surfers could reduce the risk of attack by not entering the water at dawn, dusk or on overcast days, the fisheries minister said.
"Regrettably, people are being taken by sharks in numbers which we have never seen before," he said.
"We need to try to work out to the best of our capacity what is causing this to happen.
"I'm totally perplexed."
Mr Moore said he was also alarmed at reports in today's The Sunday Times that some people had spotted a large shark near Wedge Island this week but appeared to have not reported it to authorities.
"I do ask people if they are going swimming or boating and they see a shark, please report the shark to the Water Police," he said.
A jet-ski rider who tried to retrieve the Mr Linden's body said yesterday it was a "massive, massive white shark" and "there was blood everywhere".
The shark tried to knock Matt Holmes, 22, off his jet ski as he attempted to pull the man on to the back of his craft.
Then the shark returned to take the lifeless body for a second time.
"By the time I got out there half of him had been taken and the shark was circling," Mr Holmes said of the attack.
"I tried to lean off the side and pull him on the back, but as I did that, the shark came back and nudged the jet ski to try to knock me off.
"When I came back the second time, he took the rest of him. I just thought about his family and if he had kids. I just wanted to get him to shore. I gave it everything I had."
When the victim's mate yelled for help, Mr Holmes, who was towing a friend at the time, turned his jet ski to help.
"I was towing my mate on the back of the jet ski and just in front of us saw a guy get attacked by a shark," he said at the scene.
"I just took my mate to the shore and went straight out and there was just blood everywhere and a massive, massive white shark circling the body.
"I reached to grab the body and the shark came at me on the jet ski and tried to knock me off and I did another loop and when I came back to the body the shark took it."
Yesterday's fatal mauling comes just three months after 33-year-old diver Peter Kurmann was killed by a shark off the South-West coast.
Bodyboarder Kyle Burden, 21, was killed near Bunker Bay in September, Bryn Martin, 64, disappeared while swimming off Cottesloe in October and American George Thomas Wainwright, 32, died after an attack while scuba diving off Rottnest Island, also in October.
Last month, 62-year-old surf lifesaver Martin Kane was rescued by a fellow paddler when a shark attacked his surf ski at Mullaloo Beach.
Department of Fisheries shark expert Rory McAuley said there had been an "unprecedented" number of fatal shark attacks off WA over the past two years.
Local resident and volunteer nurse Anne McGuiness, who has lived on Wedge Island for 36 years, was among the first to arrive on the scene yesterday.
"It was very, very sad indeed," she said.
"There was a group of about 12 boys surfing and when I got here they were very distraught on the beach."
Witnesses said the victim and his friend were only 80m from shore when the attack happened and the pair had walked several kilometres to reach the remote surf spot.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what is causing this spate of shark attacks off WA. Perhaps it's their continued insistence in offering themselves up as appetizers, which is the main contributing factor to these attacks. I'm just sayin'...
If you don't want to get attacked by a shark... stay out of the water...!!! That's like trying to ban trains because you like playing on the train tracks... Honestly, some people's kids...
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Good afternoon, my friends!
Did you ever read a news headline that just made you smile? I mean, when there is no need to even read any further into the article to understand exactly what happened and why? I was perusing an online website in the USA, when I happened on this most entertaining story.
Apparently some yobbo from the Great State of Texas was texting while driving and he drove right off a friggin’ cliff.
Now, I suppose there might have been a time in my life where I would have been tempted to shake my head in either bewilderment or exasperation upon reading such things, but I have long since reconciled myself to the fact that we are all subject to the Law of Natural Selection, whether we decide to admit it or not.
So nowadays instead of being distraught or even feeling the slightest hint of sympathy or empathy for these mental midgets, I just smile, secure in the knowledge that Mother Nature is hard at work, trying to make this planet a little safer for the rest of us.
Here’s the link for this news item if you feel so inclined to check it out:
The text reads as below:
Man texts, "I need to quit texting," before driving off cliff
Posted: Aug 02, 2012 8:09 AM EDT Updated: Aug 02, 2012 8:28 AM EDT
By Tricia Forbes - bio
Updated: Thursday, August 2 2012 8:28 AM EDT2012-08-02 12:28:22 GMT
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
A college student from Texas believes he is lucky to be alive after a terrible crash. He was texting and driving when his truck flew off of a cliff.
Chance Bothe's truck plunged off of a bridge and into a ravine. One of the last things he typed indicated what almost happened to him.
He wrote, "I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident."
After the crash, Chance had a broken neck, a crushed face, a fractured skull, and traumatic brain injuries. Doctors had to bring him back to life three times . Now, 6 months later, he's finally able to talk about what happened.
"They just need to understand, don't do it. Don't do it. It's not worth losing your life," he said. "I went to my grandmother's funeral not long ago, and I kept thinking, it kept jumping into my head, I'm surprised that's not me up in that casket. I came very close to that, to being gone forever."
Chance's father said, if he had a child just learning to drive, he would disable texting and Internet on their phone.
As of August 1st, drivers in Alabama will face a $25 fine the first time they are caught texting behind the wheel.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
I don't know if I had intentionally picked this date for it's symbolism. More likely it was just a freak coincidence that my riding career was "resurrected" on this particular day. It has been a little over three months now and about 4,220kms. A slow start to the riding year by any account, but as my good friend Scotty pointed out, still way more mileage than I put in last season in total. I have to agree.
I am more cautious than I ever was, if that's possible. Almost timid. Absolutely distrustful of anyone in a car or pickup truck. But I can assure you that I have never savored riding more than I do these days. One would have thought that I would have been on here celebrating my feat well before this. But I think I have held off for a variety of reasons. Guess I didn't want to jinx anything.
But I'm back and it's a good thing... Now if I could only stop investing in 'fixer-upper' places and ride more...
Monday, March 26, 2012
Okay... so here's the thing. During the last three weeks or so, I have been busily organizing myself for getting back in the saddle. The accident which took me from riding happened on the 24th of July 2010. This July will mark 2 years since that event. I am fairly steady on my feet and my strength has been returning gradually. I have worked hard at this getting better schtick and now is the time where I hope (if not expect...) to start reapng the benefits of all this hard work.
So I have gone over the bike with a fine toothed comb. I have found a laundry list of shortcomings from the work done on her by Powersports on Laser Drive in Ottawa. I have addressed these with the maintenance manager and we're still working on squaring them off. A horrendous wiring job on the passing lamps and turn signals (which I had to re-do myself), missing and mis-matched fasteners (battery cover and saddle), missing parts which were on the bike when she went in (an irreplaceable jiffy stand and a $80.00 set of KuryAkyn Stiletto axle caps...), oversights such as no DOT 4 brake fluid in the rear master cylinder (pretty essential for STOPPING...), header nuts not torqued to specs, and other assorted niggling points... For as much as this is all frustrating and disappointing, there is a worse side to all this. I used to have supreme confidence in my ride. Mainly because I had always done the work and maintenance on her and I knew without a doubt, that it had been done right and to specs. Now I have to worry about what else might have been overlooked by Powersports. Great... like there isn't already enough to worry about out there on the road...
So I have been checking everything out that I can think of. I have renewed my motorcycle insurance policy (it's costing me more for the same amount of coverage, but after this experience I'm not going to settle for less...), installed a new battery, got my sticker for my plate, bought a new interim helmet and riding glasses... but I'm still not ready to go. I have been saying that I will have to wash her tires down before I take her out. They are muddy and of course that doen't do anything for traction, certainly not when cornering. And judging by the forecast, it won't be warm enough to do that for a little while yet. Still, I could have simply taken her out in the rain the other day and that would have 'washed' them for me... I wonder...
Am I just setting all these pre-conditions up so I can forestall my first ride? Am I really just being cautious or am I actually afraid? I will admit that I am certainly going to be nervous the first time out. My better half is big on me having someone else along with me for the first ride and I can understand that. But I also explained to her that it will be anxiety-producing enough on it's own, without having an audience there as well. That'll just ratchet up the pucker factor. We'll have to see how that goes. I am confident that after the first 20-30 minutes in the saddle, I'll be right back where I left off that July day.
In the shape my shoulders and neck are today, that won't be anytime soon anyway. I was forced to take the day off work today, in order to find some relief from the stiffness and pain. This lack of massage therapy is taking it's toll. I have arranged another 'emergency massage' session at the Montfort Clinic for this afternoon and will hit the hydromassage tub when I return from this. I'm getting tired of feeling like this but then again, I have come leagues since this all started. Roll on summer...