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#1023791 - 24/10/2011 15:33 Re: sharks [Re: SBT]
Popeye Offline
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Registered: 30/12/2006
Posts: 7716
Loc: Cable Beach - Broome WA
Originally Posted By: Sir BoabTree
If you dress like a seal, act like a seal and get eaten by a shark who thinks your a seal how the hell can it be the sharks fault?


Yeah look I have to agree with you SBT. Black wetsuits are not helping your chances. A shark patrolling 500metres offshore within 5-6kms of a seal haul out area would be on the look out for a ambush attempt on a seal looking object. This poor fella just happenend to be in the wrong spot. A Great white hitting at high speed is always going to be damaging as that is what they are designed to do.

If I was a commercial wetsuit manufacturer I would be doing some research into shark's colour preferences. A bright yellow wetsuit vs a black one although surfers and divers may not like it would definately decrease the likely hood of an attack purely out of the fact that a big yellow object is not normally on their menu.
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#1023793 - 24/10/2011 15:40 Re: sharks [Re: Popeye]
Popeye Offline
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Registered: 30/12/2006
Posts: 7716
Loc: Cable Beach - Broome WA
To follow up on my previous post. A good kayaking friend of mine here in Broome who has been kayaking fishing for the last 25 years was attacked by a big tiger shark in his early days. His kayak was a green/silver colour and he put the attack down to the shark thinking his kayak was a large marine animal/fish etc. He still has the kayak in his back yard with the teeth marks and all. The bite was across the front metre of his kayak as if the shark was going for the head of the animal.

He has been using a yellow plastic kayak for years now and he says he has never had any bad encounters and he puts it down to the shark not being interested in a big yellow object. The sharks no doubt are still interested in his fish which he catches though just he feels safer with the bright colour of his boat now.

We have been kayaking the waters here in Broome commercially for 10 years on a daily basis with big yellow boats and have never had an issue with sharks either (touch wood) and from all accounts from fisherman there are hundreds out there.
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#1023798 - 24/10/2011 15:53 Re: sharks [Re: Popeye]
Popeye Offline
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Registered: 30/12/2006
Posts: 7716
Loc: Cable Beach - Broome WA
WA does have an issue on its hands I have to agree. I have swam and paddled a kayak in close proximity to all of of the sites of Attacks over the last decade in WA. Margaret river area X 2 fatal attacks, Bunker bay/dunsborough X 1, Cottesloe X 2, Safety Bay X 1, Abrolhos Island X 1 and now Rottnest Island X 1. They are all areas where the general public and tourist visitor are swimming on a regular basis and its not nice to see people getting eaten by sharks. Prior to these attacks in WA there was a period of many years with no fatal attacks in WA so why in the last 10 years has there been so many?

I'm just glad that my application to run kayaking tours on Rottnest this summer was rejected by the Rottnest Island Authority otherwise we would have been setting up our operations down there this week.
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#1023801 - 24/10/2011 16:10 Re: sharks [Re: Popeye]
Popeye Offline
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Registered: 30/12/2006
Posts: 7716
Loc: Cable Beach - Broome WA
6 out of 8 of those attacks the people were all wearing a black wetsuit. 8 out of 8 attacks were in in near vicinity and feeding grounds of either Australian sealions and NZ fur seals and there haul out areas. Most attacks were probably mistaken identity from the Great White. Like I say. If you wear a black wet suit in the southern waters of Australia your fair game to a big shark. Buy a yellow one. Pink one if you really need to. lol. Just dont look like a seal.

Anyway enough ranting on. Sharks play a significant role in my interests and previous work so it gives me the shivers thinking these attacks are happening so regularly. I honestly think WA is not out of the news yet on this topic. It wouldn't surprise me if there were a few more this season. It just seems like its on a role and there will be more bad publicity for WA and for visiting and swimming off our beautiful beaches.
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#1023862 - 24/10/2011 19:17 Re: sharks [Re: Popeye]
Jax Offline
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Registered: 16/12/2009
Posts: 730
Loc: WA
It would be an interesting exercise to see how many of those attacks also happened during the humpback whale migration Popeye, specifically the later half of it when they're making their way back down the coast with new calves. Certainly these last three recent ones fit that time frame, and with another couple of months still to go, I tend to agree with your final remarks.

Another point worth considering is the increased pressure on fish stocks by humans - just maybe the sharks are starting to get a lot hungrier than they have ever been before. Fishing comps, commercial catches, an exploding amateur fleet, commonwealth netting practices out deep - it all has to affect the balance.

Hmm, another thought that comes to mind is that most shark attack victims get bitten and spat out, not eaten - my theory for that is because most people's personal care products and diets include some pretty unnatural stuff (eg, medications and vaccinations; aluminium antiperspirants; a cocktail of muck in sunscreens; chemical preservatives, colourings and "flavours" in food; alcohol; maccas..) which surely wouldn't be all that agreeable to a shark. I imagine most humans would be a pretty toxic tasting mouthful once the blood starts flowing. That might be another interesting study to undertake - what is the typical diet of the bitten but spat out victims, and what was the typical diet of the eaten ones.

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#1023866 - 24/10/2011 19:44 Re: sharks [Re: Popeye]
Sara B Offline
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Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 318
Loc: Dugandan
Popeye, it sounds like you operate in the thick of shark infested waters (lol- just sensationalising) cool but no seriously, do you see many sharks around, would it be seasonal? Have you had any encounters, particularly of late? In your opinion, based on your observations, is shark behaviour /population changing or do you think increased visitation/ use of marine areas by increasing numbers of humans is a factor?

Originally Posted By: Popeye
6 out of 8 of those attacks the people were all wearing a black wetsuit.
Sounds like you are onto something and I agree that wetsuit manufacturers should be looking into shark 'repellent' designs - there is definately a market out there for them!

I agree with the mistaken identity theory. Spearfishermen in particular should take care (for obvious reasons - sharks powerful sense of smell, lateral line system means it can sense struggling, stressed creature from miles away... and all the other attributes that make sharks a formidable predator in their habitat).

Interested to hear whether people think shark attacks can be prevented using means other than culling? Do you suppose that an education campaign would help?


Edited by chunkyluxtrax (24/10/2011 19:48)

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#1023875 - 24/10/2011 20:41 Re: sharks [Re: Sara B]
Popeye Offline
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Registered: 30/12/2006
Posts: 7716
Loc: Cable Beach - Broome WA
Hey Chunky and Jax. In 10 years of operating kayaking tours in Broome I have mainly seen hammerheads 8-12ft. Most have been in full chase on stingrays in the shallows. Its a pretty amazing sight to see. They have huge dorsal fins that are sickle shaped and are sleek through the water. Got circled by something big a few years ago up the peninsula north of Broome maybe big Tiger shark. He was just curious and came within 1-2 metres of the kayak. Our kayak was 5 metres and he went close to the length of the boat. That had me rushing a bit.

We used to operate kayaking tours down in Perth at Penguin and Seal Islands near Rockingham and within a few KMS of where that Saftey Bay guy got taken a few years ago. As the name of the place says theres heaps of animal life in the waters but never saw any sharks there in 6 years of operating on the islands. I have to admit operating in the Great white territory had me more nervous compared to the tropics of Broome which I feel pretty safe on the water. Great whites are just the ultimate in predatory animals and deserve the respect.

Once back in Tassie back in 99 we were on a 5 day kayaking trip down in Freycinet peninsula with a company down there and they had a big white sighted by a tourist boat and the photos from the boat had us in the background. That freaked me out a bit.

We get heaps of smaller shark sightings but just little 1m reefsharks that are fun to watch. Wet season tends to get more sightings as the waters are warmer and they seem to come into the shallows more.

Stuart Trueman who just kayaked around Australia finishing in Broome in July said he only encountered bumps etc when in really murky waters. Didn't have any sightings across the southern Ocean but was on his mind a fair bit especially around the neptune islands etc off SA. Bloody amazing trip that would have been.

I honestly think sharks are evolving to suit their rapidly changing environments and food supplies. Humans are also evolving to become water lovers with more and more water sports and activities available, more people participating and an ever increasing coastal population especially in WA. Combine the two and it is understandable that more people are being taken.

Anyway another long rant. I might have to focus my thoughts now on that CROC sign down on the beach I just saw an hour ago. MMMMMMMMM lol.
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#1023886 - 24/10/2011 21:12 Re: sharks [Re: Popeye]
Brett Guy Offline
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Registered: 05/10/2010
Posts: 4822
Loc: Bently Park, Cairns
As tragic as it is(and I would not wish it on anyone), what is an average of 1-2fatal attacks per year.Are we going to cut down all the trees because a few people get killed when they fall down. And god forbid the road toll. It seems ironic that we don't care about somethng being extremely dangerous as long as it seems conveniant to ignore it but if something can be sensationalised and the average joe is nnever affacted by the culprit then it is all about Kill, Kill, Kill. Sharks operate on instinct. We are supposed to be smart. If you don't want to be eaten by a shark, don't go in the water. It's as simple as that. If you choose to go in, you choose to take the risk. KNOWINGLY!

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#1023908 - 24/10/2011 22:19 Re: sharks [Re: Brett Guy]
S .O. Offline
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Registered: 31/01/2011
Posts: 1515
Loc: Southern Victoria
From memory ( excluding Abroholos Islands attack May or June ? ) most of the GW attacks have happened between Aug-Nov . And to shorten that , mid to late sept through to mid October really stands out . I don't need to look it up they stand out in my life as reminders for caution , but if interested please do and correct me if I'm wrong . I too like Popeye , have hung around many of the attack sites for many a unnerving time , but with a lot less protection ( surfer ) .
I can say that people i've shared time with in a close knit community of ocean lovers ( surfers, divers , fisho's , and the like ) have shared many a haunting story around fires or at sunset on boat trips . Nearly all don't let it affect them , and even most fisho's are against flat out culling . It seems its joe Bloggs that already has a fear for them and maybe goes to the beach for a swim 3 times a year is the one bayying for Blood .
I can also see a direct corellation between a recovering whale / seal population proliferation , and the number of people in the water . As for black wetsuits , in places you really need them East of Augusta , and Sth + West of Ulladulla , I can tell you this is where most suits are designed for . Especially for surface dwellers ( the people most at risk ) , the need for black is purely a warmth thing as any sunlight helps the user stay warmer . Now only the coldest of Vicco/Tas waters will not need that for maybe 3-4 mths of the year . But who's gonna buy a year round wetsuit that doesn't cover most of the year " especially cheap skate surfers !!

I myself have never actually seen a white in the ocean close up , and some ( especially close non water friends ) would scratch their heads at .? It seems I've always had an affiliation with " lack of crowds " as i always seeked solace & solitude for my own reasons as opposed to some who just do cause they enjoy it with mates . I have seen Tigers and many reef sharks , in warmer climates . But as an ab diver once told me , don't worry about a shark that you can see . Cause the one that'll have your number will be the white you never see .....
Hence people like myself , even with close links to some of these victims still overcome trepidation to continue . Crazy , people will say at bobbing at the surface 100-sometimes 500M offshore waiting for waves . And yes maybe a little, but even the most dodgy/ sharky places can be enjoyed , the only hard thing is sitting alone on the edge of really deep /dark water and a ( 5+ mins ) long lull lets your mind wonder .

With time and many horrific stories shared comes a learning of when not to go in the water .
And classic symptoms of an " unlucky day " can co-incide with the above mentioned time of the year . Which itself can have allsorts of links to their prey's movements , tides , weather related phenomena including water temps , cloud cover , after a blow or large rough swell . These latter effect visibility , and sometimes school fish moving into turbulent waters near shore . I would say that where possible these are the days to avoid , and sometimes the said school fish can leave a stench in the air . ( or maybe I'm overly sensitive ) . With every this and that of science and what not ( including rambling idiots like myself ) having an opinion , the cold hard reality of this is that not even so-called experts know why .
But when you speak to witnesses who still many years later break down at the gore of an attack or worst still the lack of , when something the size of a minibus inhales victim, (atleast once including board) and a couple of hundred litres of water in one foul mouthfull . One near Elliston SA with board and the other Abroholos WA , was described as the surface / ocean just disappeared below them , and then the familiar colours and shape of a flank or dorsal or tail . Then nothing , or in SA case a surf board shooting out of the water on its own 200-300 metres away.
When your committed to something its hard not to want less of a fear , but in all reality it continues to not stop people . Until actual numbers are known , i think comments from both sides should be taken with a dose of salt (pardon the punn ). I clearly believe that politics has taken hold in regards to Rottnest ( but thats another matter ) .
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#1023917 - 24/10/2011 22:50 Re: sharks [Re: S .O.]
ant Offline
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Registered: 05/10/2002
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Loc: Overlooking ACT at 848m
I vaguely remember something about big sharks liking cold currents?

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#1023923 - 24/10/2011 23:13 Re: sharks [Re: S .O.]
Popeye Offline
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Registered: 30/12/2006
Posts: 7716
Loc: Cable Beach - Broome WA
Good to hear your stories Southern Oracle. Black wetsuits for warmth. Yeah OK. Makes sense. Not being a surfer I didn't know that. I don't know how surfers do it to be honest. The addiction of the wave I guess.

Yourself having lived on Rotto for a few years must make this latest attack a bit of an eye opener. I have heard mixed reports from a few sources as to whether he was spearfishing off Rotto at the time it happened. If so, spearfishing, overcast conditions, whale migrations, diving solo. That poor bloke just had too much going wrong for him.

We did that Rottnest island eco boat adventure this time last year which circumnavigates the island. Whales, dolphins awesome trip and deep water drop offs off the western end with that Seal colony at Cathedral rocks?? That place looked pretty sharky to me.

The Sharkiest place I have ever been was down off Cape Naturaliste NZ fur seal colony. We had an awesome paddle out there and snorkelled with the seals there. It was very shallow water so felt OK (less than 1metre). Spoke to a few locals about that area and it was renowned as a big great white location. Apparently a few kids in a tinnie had there motor attacked off Bunker Bay which was the Sept attack location and local fisherman and surfers knew of particular sharks that resided there for periods of time (probably again during whale season). Surfers must know the risk but the attraction of the wave is too much.

Image below is a pic I googled which shows the Cape Naturaliste NZ seal colony below. That little rocky outcrop in the water would have to be one of the scariest places to be a seal. Every shark that travels the WA coast would visit past that point on their journey north or south. Beautiful spot though and very memorable visiting there.

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#1023931 - 25/10/2011 00:08 Re: sharks [Re: Popeye]
S .O. Offline
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Registered: 31/01/2011
Posts: 1515
Loc: Southern Victoria
Yeah , Rottnest has been claimed to be sharky ,especially west end . When i was there , i reckoned i did my fair share of " shark baiting " as my grandfather used to dismay as he described my activities . In the late eightees a commercial fishing boat with a full load of frozen fish ran aground at Cathedrals ' and people stopped surfing their for a while . at that time the seals were hangin 500 m's away . As time went by people returned , and after the last pieces of the hull disapeared maybe around 2005 the seals returned into the cathedral inlet .

A few whales have washed up over the years , one exploded on purpose by fisheries ( a mess ) a long time ago . The other in Late 2005 ?/ Early 2006 ?? landed right in the middle of the popular Strickland surfing reef . They chopped that one up and buried nearby in dunes at " the spit " . a few days later i was one of the first to start surfing there . the smell was horendous and the water slimy for weeks . Strangely i was more worried about the oils effect on my expensive wetsuit .

To me even the deepest drop offs of rottnest was a walk in the park , as compared to VIC and SA , the warm clear water was not in my opinion a likely hotspot . The attack in the Abroholos ( ex islander ) was a wake up call . That and Smithy at Noisies near Gracetown .
But this has changed it , a bit . Not Good ......
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#1023935 - 25/10/2011 00:29 Re: sharks [Re: S .O.]
SBT Offline
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Registered: 07/02/2007
Posts: 14126
Loc: Townsville Dry Tropics
When the conditions are righ you can indeed smell chopped up fish as an oily note to the air. We sometimes use it to track Tuna and mackeral feeding on bait schools. Mk 1 eyeball followed up by the MK2 nose. With very flat seas and no breeze the smell can be detected about a kilometre away from the source and this is from a bloke who smoked for 32 years but gave up 7 years ago.

I will never forget the smell of whale oil, we used to use it for burley off the old military jetty on Rotto back in the 60's (the wooden one before they pulled it down and buit the rock groyne)trying to catch Herring and yes it did bring the men in grey overcoats (Sharks) around to play but even then people wheren't as scared of sharks as they are now.

We have a rule when out fishing on the GBR - No Tiger sharks or Hammerheads in the boat and we won't swin in their sea.

But we still find fwits spear fishing up to a kilometre off the islands (Palm Group off Townsville) too busy watching all the pretty fish to see how far away from land they are. We had one scare the crap out of us by climbing aboard without any warning. 8 metre boat so no danger of capsizing us but fair dinkum he almost got the sharp end of a Mr Lee and Mr Enfield (shark detering device) right bewteen the looking gear. He was pretty game to as we had a burley trail out looking for MR Monster Spanish Mackerals. he would have been a certainty to be made into shark pharts if we hadn't been there. Idiot.
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#1024063 - 25/10/2011 16:12 Re: sharks [Re: SBT]
AKM80 Offline
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Registered: 11/10/2011
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Loc: Marian, QLD
As someone who has spearfished all my life (at least since I could swim properly) I have a very good respect for sharks. I have been bitten once or twice, mostly curiosity from the sharks themselves. An 8ft Tiger gave me a little more than a love bite around 14 years ago on the GBR and I still have one of its teeth (that I removed from my right calf muscle) on a necklace at home. However, saltwater is in my blood and even though the odd person does meet their maker through shark attack it wont stop the majority of the population who were brought up in and around the ocean.

Statistically you have more chance of being run over by a bus than killed by shark attack.

SBT, next time I'm in Townsville waters I'll be sure to pop up beside the boat and say G'day, LOL.

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#1024073 - 25/10/2011 16:48 Re: sharks [Re: Brett Guy]
Sandfly Offline
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Registered: 18/10/2010
Posts: 828
Loc: Rockhampton
Originally Posted By: Brett Guy
If you don't want to be eaten by a shark, don't go in the water. It's as simple as that. If you choose to go in, you choose to take the risk. KNOWINGLY!


Well said, agree 100%.
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#1024669 - 27/10/2011 19:12 Re: sharks [Re: Sandfly]
Markus Offline
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Registered: 02/12/2010
Posts: 2030
Loc: Clare, SA
Near where I live there is a gulf known as spencer gulf. The northern end of this gulf is full of large snapper and cuttlefish and so on and therefore you would expect there to be sharks about.

Quite a few years ago they caught a 6 or so metre great white in netting which is now in Port Piries tourist centre. Having had a look at it I must say they are damn scary looking things and I can fit half my body inside its mouth.

Since then there has been quite a few locals from this area claiming to have seen an even bigger great white than this with estimates of it being up to 7 meteres. Some people have even claimed to have seen it swim between posts under Port Germain jetty. Stories like this really make you think before getting into the water!!!
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#1027381 - 06/11/2011 21:04 Re: sharks [Re: Markus]
Max Record Offline
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Registered: 18/04/2009
Posts: 1655
Loc: Adelaide
Always when I hear of sharks and shark attacks, arguably the worlds most famous shark attack survivor comes to mind, Rodney Fox:

https://www.rodneyfox.com.au/
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#1033067 - 22/11/2011 04:15 Re: sharks [Re: Max Record]
Sara B Offline
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#1038690 - 05/12/2011 17:08 Re: sharks [Re: Sara B]
Cliffhanger Offline
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Registered: 27/01/2011
Posts: 320
Loc: Brisbane, Qld
Some kid was taken by a shark just of our beach about 10 or so years ago. He was sailing a little cat by himslef, and the ruddy thing just tipped him over and killed him.I have had a fear of going near that stratch of beach ever since, but it still doesnt stop the crew from surfing when there are waves.!!
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#1039841 - 08/12/2011 09:31 Re: sharks [Re: Cliffhanger]
windblown Offline
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Registered: 25/03/2010
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Loc: Gooseponds Mackay
I lived for many years in Portland on the very south west coast of Victoria. Off the coast is an Island called Lady Julia. The fishermen always said there was a local shark out there that was longer than their boats..it was resident there I believe (or the family was)

I have no problem with sharks..swam in the waters there for many years. The waters were so thick with other food I guess the sharks weren't that hungry.

But...one day a friend and I were swimming out on our daily swim and I had a 'funny feeling' I felt like something had come up behind me really fast and then turned away at the last minute. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I said to my friend "I dont want to panic you but I think there is a shark in the water"

Well my friend did a Jesus Christ act and broke the olympic record for getting to the beach...I quickly (very quickly) did breast stroke to the beach which I might add looked ages away. We got back to the beach safely. I went home and was talking to my hubby about it and he was pretty concerned (being a die hard fisherman) In the early morning my hubby came home and told me they caught an 8 foot white pointer just where we had been swimming !!

I felt pretty sorry for the shark. But as it was a popular swimming spot for the town, and he was still hanging around hours later I guess fair is fair. But I still felt sorry for the shark.
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