Travelogue: Sharks in Newcastle

I should preface that my current location is the South Pacific, an exotic locale to be sure. In the past month I have traveled the streets of Sydney and the beaches of Noumea and Champagne Bay, but, whilst in Newcastle, Australia three days ago, the sleepy surf town was abuzz with a fear I am familiar with: Great White Sharks.

I am impressionable. Add the fact I am “down under,” I will be fascinated by anything. Yes, even the word chazzwazzers.

To me the realities of shark infested surf is that of Hollywood’s pervasive influence. From the “da-dums” that drum up Steven Spielberg’s masterstroke Jaws to the exceedingly popular nadir that is Sharknado (humanity, you should be ashamed). It seems that a mere sighting of a shark, in this case the coastal stretch between Nobbys and Stockton beaches in Newcastle, is enough to force evacuation and mass closures.

This isn’t Jaws

From what I know, the chance of a shark attack is so small you can not even calculate it. In other words, drownings are an order of magnitude more likely out to sea than a lethal nibble.

So what is the fuss? Why are sharks sticking around Newcastle? One theory is that it is a shark sanctuary of sorts. The shallow shores and the comfort of warmer water is where they like to give birth. Certainly fascinating. But keep in mind that it is the sharks you can’t see that you should really worry about…

For the moment it looks like I will be trading tasty waves in exchange for some time at the Koala petting zoo.