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 on 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 the  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 remarkably 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. Witnesses 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 spearfishing 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 southwestern 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 body boarding 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 snorkeling 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 southeast 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 snorkeling 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 with 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 signs regarding stingers which are prevalent in these waters throughout Australia.

Although it’s winter in Australia now, the temperature is a comfortable average of 80F, 27C with the 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 the 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 signs 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 it’s 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 shark attacks including this attack reported yesterday, it’s no wonder the beaches are generally barren. Luckily, this surfer will also survived the attack after a 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 this 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.

                                              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.

What we love about this condo…What?…We done our own cleaning for the first time in two years! Third shark attack!

The sky at sunset.
We don’t have access to the sunset view from our condo in Maui. There’s a monstrous hill blocking the view which would require a lengthy drive. However, we are able to see glimpses of the sky at sunset which is a good alternative.

Without a doubt, this condo is one of the most well equipped vacation homes we’ve rented in two years, so much so that we haven’t minded being “house bound” during Hurricane Ana and now recovering from our recent virus.

Lots of gadgets along with our own stash.

We continue to cough all night (Tom more than me) making us feel exhausted during the days and we’re anxious to get out and do a little exploring in Maui. Soon, we’ll feel well enough to get out and share lots of new photos with our readers. Please bear with us and our current lethargy.

The condo feels like a home with artwork and decorative items on the walls and tables in each room.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the casual ease of everyday living which we find to be pleasant. This morning, after only about four hours of sleep, we decided it was time to clean having arrived one week ago today and it was time.

We flipped when we saw this tidy “junk drawer,” a must in every home.

We washed and dried the bedding and remade the bed, swept and washed all the floors, dusted, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and “windexed” every glass surface in the entire condo including the table on the lanai.  Tom swept the floor of the lanai while I washed the sliding glass door inside and out.

Memories of our old lives with a drawer designated for plastic bags. Nice.

As we busied ourselves with the cleaning, it dawned on me that the last time we didn’t have a cleaning person(s) or service was two years ago when we spent from November 3, 2012 to January 1, 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona finishing our paperwork and digital needs. 

There’s plenty of kitchen utensils.

In every other location in which we’ve lived (except Waikiki), someone else has cleaned and scrubbed our surroundings with us only tidying up after ourselves from day to day, periodically doing laundry, and washing dishes.

High quality dinnerware.

Comparable to driving a car, one doesn’t “forget” how to clean and we breezed through the process with ease and good humor. In no time at all, we were done.

Tiled showered with great faucet, plenty of fluffy towels, drawers and spotless countertops.

In a funny way, we kind of like doing our own cleaning after this long hiatus. I’m always cleaning before the cleaning help arrives to avoid embarrassing myself making it a welcome break to be unconcerned about preparing for their arrival and getting out of their way.

A table and chairs for dining wasn’t always available in every vacation home.  This is ideal for our meals. 

However, part of our rental agreement of this lovely condo includes one complimentary mid-rental cleaning by a professional company hired by the kindly owner. That’s two weeks from now. If we clean at least two times after the mid cleaning, we’ll have it covered.

With the cupboards filled with dinnerware and supplies, there’s literally not a single cupboard for food supplies. In this case, we’re messy, leaving everything in easy reach on the kitchen counter. Tom wanted us to buy Spam for Hurricane Ana which now he’s eating a little each day. It’s gluten-free and low carb so I don’t complain.

When the cost of a cleaner here in Maui is $100 to clean this small space, we opted to do it ourselves. The most we’ve paid for a full house cleaning in the few countries where it wasn’t included in the rent, was $25 for about three hours.

The owners went over the top including these high cotton count Charisma sheets and so comfortapillowcases which I used in our old lives. Comfy bed and covers.

Although some of our photos appear that we are messy, we aren’t. At times, we don’t have ample storage for all of our stuff, especially those items we often use. We don’t leave dishes in the sink and we clean the kitchen each day. We make the bed everyday. We frequently empty the trash and we clean the bathroom everyday.

The owners explained this is a new bed. It is the most comfortable bed we’ve had in a long time, perhaps over two years.

In other words, it may be a little cluttered with our stuff but it’s always clean. The exception to that may have been that little condo in Waikiki where we spent 11 nights which was nearly impossible to keep it clean with no broom, cleaning supplies and it was old and worn. It’s hard to clean “old and worn.” 

This large sturdy chest of drawers was a delight to fill with our clothes.  Tom took the bottom three drawers, leaving me the top three (as he always does).

On another note, yesterday afternoon, a third shark attack occurred in this area of Maui. Click here for the article. With this news as in the case of the last two incidents, we continue to have no interest in entering the ocean once the beaches are reopened after yesterday’s temporary closing. 

Neither of us particularly cares to swim in the ocean especially when each time we lived walking distance to the beach there’s either been sharks, stingrays, or jellyfish, none of which we care to bump into. 

There are actually four chairs for this table.  These are comfortable swivel chairs.  Plus, the view is amazing.

The lava flow on the Big Island continues to advance toward the main road in Pahoa after a few day break in its movement. For details, please click here. We continue to keep a watchful eye on the lava flow hoping it won’t be an issue for the two houses we rented in Pahoa in the Puna District on the Big Island for our family for Christmas.

Have a happy day, dear friends.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, October 23, 2013:

We were excited while living in Kenya to finally see the elusive Bush Baby while dining outdoors at a resort. For details and more photos, please click here.