Snaked at Forster

Sure, Australia featured prominently in our World’s Sharkiest Surf Zones article, but shark attack is merely in the bronze medal position of Aussie-flavoured danger.

At One Mile Beach, Forster, NSW yesterday, swimmers were alerted by whistles from lifeguards to clear the water.

But rather than another shark scare, the animal danger on this occasion was a brown snake – one of the most deadly land snakes on the planet – swimming between the flags.

Poisonous, maybe, but respectful of designated swimming area at least.

Possibly the best, most understated Aussie-style, least newsworthy quote ever, came from John Smith, a snake expert, who said, “He (a lifeguard) said he would call back if he needed any more help and I never heard back so it must have gone towards the rocks”.

Snaked At Burleigh

Not willing to be undone by a venomous counterpart in NSW, a Gold Coast constrictor got in on the snake scare act at Burleigh, one of the most famous surf spots in Australia, later in the very same ‘arvo’ as the brown snake incident at Forster.

This wasn’t the first python gnarl of the New Year on the Goldie, neither. Police had warned Gold Coasters after large pythons had eaten a guinea pig and a cat recently.

(In all fairness, the cat probably deserved it…)
Not having the poisonous fangs of smaller snakes, these dudes instead crush prey to death by constricting every time the poor animal breaths in, suffocating it, before swallowing it whole.

Shark Chomps Whale

Still the same sunny, fun-filled at-the-beach Wednesday afternoon Down Under, and a humpback whale beached at South Broulee, NSW.

As a crowd gathered to possibly try to help the stricken mammal, it was washed back off the shore before being promptly attacked by a shark.

A shark-spotting helicopter was scrambled and spotted two of the predatory fish in the area.
Which brings us nicely onto the next peril – Men In Grey Suits.

General Sharkiness

Yep, it’s sharky.
Pretty much all coasts have recorded fatalities, and all ocean-goers, from swimmers to fishermen, divers and of course, surfers, take to the drink at their own risk.

Now, we can already hear your self-righteous, comment board shrieks; “It’s their habitat!” “It’s not as dangerous as crossing the street!”

Sure, sure. You are correct on both counts. But crossing the street doesn’t scare the living shit out of us. Getting bitten by a massive fish whilst going for a surf does.

Rightly or wrongly, rationally or otherwise, it’s a frightening prospect, the fish bite.

Savage Wrinkles

Perhaps worse than sharks, snakes, spiders, box jellyfish, and whatever other fauna nasties lurk on or around that large, red, mostly desert continent, perhaps the second-most scary thing about Australia is what it does to your face.

After a day or two, you’ll start to look like you’ve been swimming in a pool with too much chlorine in, a bit like David Moyes.

After an over-winter (aka summer) trip there, you’ll start to look… really old.
After an entire childhood/youth of growing up there, your average Aussie surfer, at 25, looks 40. He could probably come to Europe and clean up in the legends division, without needing to show any ID. At 40, he looks about 90. Sure, you got the weather, the surf, the mineral wealth, the chocolate paddle pops and the fishing, but your grid is ruined.

If you treasure your youthful looks, go to NZ instead… preferably the South Island.

The Accent

The number one peril of a visit Down Under, the biggest threat to your well being, is not attack by animal.

It is not attack by incoming UV radiation. It is, of course, coming home with the accent.
Now, as far as we’re concerned there’s nothing wrong with using ‘cunt’ as punctuation. Not really. There’s not much wrong calling your lounge the ‘lounge room’, calling Weetabix ‘Weetbix’ or with finishing sentences with ‘but’.

The real badness is getting the upward squirt in tone as you end a phrase, so that everything coming out your mouth sounds like a question, cunt.

You have been warned.