Australia, blogging

A Very Warm Christmas in Australia

swimmer at the beach

It was almost a perfect summer’s day. That interlude of lazy days between Christmas and New Year.

The waves gently caressing the shore and the tourists out on stand-up paddleboards, kayaks or paddle boats. The number of pink inflatable ponies bobbing around in the water adorned with small children, an indication of what was on sale at the retail stores prior to Christmas. It was idyllic.

The Moth broke the comfy serenity by saying:

“This looks just like that scene from Jaws.”

Only of course, thankfully there was no shark reeking havoc amongst the bathers. But it did bring to mind what many friends from overseas have told me. They live in fear of a shark attack if they go swimming in Australia. Some refuse to even paddle in the shallows for this reason.

Yet if truth be told, you are much more likely to drown than be attacked by a shark in Australian waters. You only have to watch a few episodes of Bondi Rescue if you don’t believe me.

On average, 87 people drown at Australian beaches each year, (SLSA 2010), yet there have been, on average, only 1.1 fatalities per year from shark attack over the past two decades. It is clear that the risk of being bitten or dying from an unprovoked shark attack in Australia remains extremely low.

Shark Attacks in Australia

Shark attacks, in Australia, has been well documented since colonial times and the number of reported attacks during the 20th century seem to fluctuate in line with changing patterns of water-based recreational activities, (such as swimming, surfing and sailboarding), public awareness and shark netting operations.

Bribie island beach australia children playing

We will never completely eliminate shark attacks, unless the species most likely to attack humans in Australian waters: ie.the White, Tiger and Bull sharks disappear from our waters. Extinction of animal species is never a preferred option.

So will there be a Jaws style attack at the Home by the Sea?

Not likely.

So you can pack that swimming costume when you come to visit.

By the way, we call them ‘togs, or bathers.’ Just so you know.

Edit: And also Cossies in Sydney, apparently.

Related Post: Growing up in Australia

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74 thoughts on “A Very Warm Christmas in Australia”

  1. Where is this beach? I was at Cottesloe beach yesterday and it looked like tent city! But at least people can now shelter from the hot rays of the sun. There is a shark net there now which is where I feel safest

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would much prefer the snow to be falling Alejandro. My body’s thermostat prefers the cooler temperatures. I have no energy when the sun is strong and the mercury soaring. I am slightly green with envy now.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I had a cyber friend from Canada who asked if it snows in Texas. It snows every year in the northwest part of the state, but we often had frequent snowfalls where I live. I still have winter photos my parents took of me and others dating to the late 1960s showing healthy snow. While we didn’t always see a white Christmas, we almost always had a white New Year’s. I tell people now that I know global warming is real because I haven’t seen too many heavy snowfalls within the past 20 years. If anything, what snow storms we’ve experienced have been really bad and more icy than snowy.

        I’ve always wanted to visit a variety of places in the Southern Hemisphere, but I’d especially like to visit during the Christmas / New Year’s season. I’ve experienced warm holidays – enough at time for me to turn on the air conditioning in my vehicle – but not anything like summer.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. So surprising to read about snow in Texas. Not want I envisaged at all. The weather getting wilder is not a surprise though. It may not always be consistently warmer but global warming/climate change will give us all kinds of weather extremes, usually not of the pleasant kind.
          Re coming to Australia: you will always be welcome should you wish to visit us, Alejandro.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed it is, Peggy. I actually had a paragraph about sun damage and melanoma being much more of a risk but I decided to write that in another post later on. The snakes are really what most folks from overseas are scared of. I tell them they will be fine if they don’t go walking in the long grass. Spiders don’t seem too threatening but perhaps that is just my perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When people here ask about sharks, I always tell them to worry more about driving. Way more injuries and fatalities with that activity, but I guess, on some level, we’ve simply accepted that. Have a happy, and safe, New Year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. Traversing the roads in whatever vehicles is much more hazardous than swimming. Still the movie Jaws did much to terrify people didn’t it? How was it received in Hawaii?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That came out way before I moved here, so I don’t know. People here know sharks are out there, but it’s not going to stop them getting in the water. Happy New Year to you.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. In South Africa we use the word swimsuit or just costume.
    Because of the covid second wave outbreak coupled with the mutated strain, all public beaches were closed. It has been extended to dams rivers and all places where you can swim in order to stop people from flocking together

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The lifesavers will be there if you do go under, Derrick. It is mainly though folks who don’t understand the swimming flags and their recommendations or who are not good swimmers that get into trouble. The sharks, well – you take your chances but again it is very safe at Bondi with all those eyes on the water.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Amanda, enjoy your summer. We have too many folks in the US that forget the earth has two hemispheres. I hear a few say there is no global warming because it is freezing outside. I usually respond, you know that is the weather, and in Australia they are reporting heat waves because it is summer down there. As for those Jaws, you have many more of those great whites down there, so I think I will only do shallow wading. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You and me both, are content with shallow wading, Keith.
      The are loads of misconceptions regarding climate change. Mostly that the weather will only get warmer, not wilder and more unpredictable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well said. The climate scientists have said the drought areas will get drier and weather patterns will just stall and be heavier. Here the hurricanes seem bigger and move more slowly than before, so the flooding is worse than the wind. Unpredictable is a good word for it. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Jaws was the first film I saw at the big cinema in our city when I was about 8. As a result I didn’t have a bath for three years! Talking of dangerous animals I think cows kill about 4 people a year in the UK. I used to wonder if being eaten alive or trampled alive would be worse! Anyway Happy New year! There are still 5 hours to go here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol Klodo. Three years! Why start then! Hehe! I think Jaws was one of the first films I saw at the cinema – well excepting kids movies that is. I do remember seeing earthquake at the cinema in sensoround (? spelling) – where the whole cinema shook with the earthquake. The film with Charlton Heston. Prior to that, the only films we saw were at the drive-ins. I don’t imagine you would have had those in England, would you?


    1. There was someone taken or at least attacked by a shark at Amity (of all places – just like in the movie) on Stradbroke Island a decade or so ago. In just a few feet of water. They come in close but ankle or shin deep which is my limit is totally safe. The stats seem to echo this.


  6. lol, I love jaws, sharks, we were in the surf all the time growing up swimming & surfing, if there were sharks we never saw them. The shark alarm would go off constantly at a little beach nearby called Ettalong where we would swim out to moored boats & sunbake on the decks & pretend to sail the high seas, never got caught never got bit by sharks either lol. I don’t get to the beach as often as id like now. It’s such a nice place to be close to the beach. We didn’t call them togs it was a one piece or 2 piece cozzie. The boys wore boardies & we never went near anyone wearing budgie smugglers.
    I will never get used to Christmas cards with a surfing Santa, haha, snow scenes are always more appealing..


    1. You sound so cool, Linda! The girls with their cossies and the boys with their boardies. And noone wearing budgie smugglers! You were brave swimming with the shark alarm. I would have been out of there quick sticks.
      I am with you on the Christmas cards though. That childhood fairy tale image of Christmas sticks hard and fast in our memories. We try hard to replicate in our own Aussie way….


  7. Ah yes I know people who think this and people who don’t actually want to visit Australia because of ‘all the things that can kill you’!
    I must admit that the Australian surf does intimidate me, but not because of the sharks so much as the size of the waves sometimes! I was brought up in the Middle East and swam in pancake flat and shallow seas, so never had to learn to deal with the surf.
    My Aussie partner laughs at me as I will only dip my toes in the water when we are over there! I much prefer a swim in the baths you have. One of my favourite things when we visit Newcastle is to wander down to the baths in the early morning and go for a dip…I love it so much and really miss it when we are at home in the UK.
    I hope you are doing ok over there and I wish you a very Happy New Year – here’s hoping 2021 brings some better times for us all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you don’t like surf, then you and I have a lot in common. I really dislike being tossed about and the wave breaking on the back of my neck. Forget that. I am happy with my beach. where you will see loads of photos of our flat surf beach. We don’t have big waves as there are island off shore, cutting off the big breakers. I like that. Still I only like to dip my toes in mostly. We are doing just fine over here. Growing up in the Middle East must have been very different. I imagine you don’t have to worry about stingers over there? Just the heat?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha, I am 100% with you on that! Surf is definitely not my cup of tea! Ah, I didn’t realise you had another blog, I am signed up 🙂 Your beach is much more my sort of thing, how lovely to have that on your doorstep. No, there wasn’t too much to worry about where i grew up, we did get sting rays sometimes though. And the water was really salty, I remember it used to really sting my eyes! Yes, it was very hot, but I went out there as a baby and I don’t remember it being something that bothered me, I guess I got used to it. I still love the heat to this day (although am not quite as used to it anymore!).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I find that interesting that you say that about the heat. I have a theory that the climate you were born in sometimes influences your preferred climate. I love the mist and rain and was born in Melbourne, a city that has four seasons in a day and often a misty drizzle of rain. I love that and miss it up here in Queensland. Just like you miss the heat of the Middle East.
          As children, I never felt the heat that much. It definitely seems to be something that I feel more, as I get older and older. I can imagine the high salt level would sting one’s eyes. Could you wear goggles?


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