20.9.09

Shark Netting could vanish in Australia still there's always the machine guns

A very brief history on nets Invitations for public submissions on how to address the shark attack problem in 1935 resulted in some pretty outrageous suggestions, including the use of machine guns mounted on headlands, and explosives to kill sharks. Just imagine the brochures: little children frolicking happily in the surf, sea gulls and bullets flying overhead, great white plumes exploding on the blue horizon, and chunks of dead shark rolling in on the tide. Not ideal marketing material to sell your slice of paradise! The theory behind the net is quite simple: fewer sharks equal less chance of shark attacks. The sharks are caught in the net by their fins and drown, reducing the risk of attacks. History suggests this works very well - prior to the introduction of shark nets in 1936, fatal attacks occurred about once a year on Sydney's popular ocean beaches. Since then, there have been no deaths associated with sharks. However how the nets are affecting shark populations is unknown. While theories about declining catch rates are yet to be confirmed much also remains to be learned about the territorial behaviour of sharks. Weighing the benefits of the reduced risk of shark attack against the relatively unknown environmental impact of shark meshing is complicated by several highly emotive issues. The impact on the marine ecology of removing large predatory sharks is not completely known, and protected species such as dolphins, turtles, and whales can also fall victim to the nets. For instance, in May 2001, a humpback whale calf became entangled in the nets off the Gold Coast and died while its 20 plus tonne mother looked on. As a result of this and other incidents, there is increasing pressure on the NSW and Queensland governments, which administer nets, to cease the practice. I was not aware the Queensland government had them however on asking a Queensland lifeguard was told quite firmly that we had them up here; he declined to comment further. My personal opinion is that ok there are a few fatalities with the Sharks and Whales, and other denizen's of the deep which to me as an animal lover is sad but one has to put the human being first. Although the United States has one of the highest rates of litigation in the world, it does not have shark nets. This is despite the fact that an average of more than 15 shark attacks per year occur on the Florida coast alone. It is not inconceivable in our modern blame culture that in the future, we could see a court ruling finding the liability for a shark attack at a previously meshed beach rests on the shoulders of the government. Removing shark nets in Australia could expose the NSW and Queensland governments to a legal risk which doesn't even exist in the USA, where shark meshing has been considered but never practised. Until someone tries to sue a government for losing a limb, spouse, or child to a shark, we cannot be sure how the legal system would deal with such a thing I did find it odd that no nets existed in the USA very odd to be honest Public Opinion wavers Doesn't it always lol

14.9.09

The Village of Arniston South Western Africa

In May 1815, a British East Indiaman, the Arniston, was rounding the Western Cape of Africa on a mission of mercy I guess repatriating wounded solidiers from Ceylon back to England....this ship did not have a chronometer aboard in those days this was a very expensive instrument so it relied on other ships in its convoy to calculate its longitude.separated from its convoy in heavy seas, the Arnison was relying on dead reckoning to navigate.so the ship's master steered north for St Helena figuring he was a 100 miles or so west of the Cape...sadly he had made an error which was a very expensive one and wrecked the ship on the rocks at Waenhuiskrans. Only six of the 378 souls on board survived. The image reproduced here is of a similar ship. The survivors spent several days on the beach before being discovered by a farmer's son a memorial was erected on the beach by the wife of Colonel Giels, whose four unaccompanied children were lost in the tragedy.a replica was erected in later years and can be seen today The memorial bears the following inscription Erected by their disconsolate parents to the memory of Thomas, aged 13 years, William Noble, aged 10, Andrew, aged 8 and Alexander McGregor Murray, aged 7 (the four eldest sons of Lieut Colonel Andrew Giels of H.M. 73rd Regiment) who, with Lord and Lady Molesworth unfortunately perished in the Arniston Transport, wrecked on this shore on 3rd May, 1815. Over the years, the wreck's name has become synonymous with the place name, and today Arniston and Waenhuiskrans are used interchangeably At first it was only a fishing community now it has now become a renowned holiday destination and wine farming area. The fishing village - recognisable for its lime-washed and thatched houses - remains intact and has been declared a National Monument in its entirety. Fishermen still take the original style boats out, although now under contract. Whale watching is a popular seaside tourist activity.The Arniston Hotel is a popular tourist destination that looks out over the ocean. This link here gives you some info on what it is like now The closest major town is Bredasdorp, 24km to the north. The Overberg Test Range is situated adjacent to the town.

10.9.09

ANOTHER AUSSIE BUSH YARN

These yarns are not exactly fiction but may have been embellished a little; this one is about what happened after a country race event near Torrens Creek. During the afternoon uncle Dick had been boozing up at the bar, and when he came back to our camp, tanked to the eyeballs, he said some Ringer had been threatening to beat him up. A little after this he wandered out into the night and flaked out on the ground a little way from the tent, One of the Aunts coming back from the toilets found him lying there, and remembering what he said earlier jumped to the conclusion that he had been caught up with by the Ringer. Poor Dick has been bashed up, she announced, as soon as she got to the tent. Uncle Bill also with a few grogs in him jumped up wild as hell; I'll get the Bastard that did it, he shouted and charged out into the night, heading across the flat he tripped over Dick. There you are you rotten Mongrel Bill shouted and started to put the Boot into Dick's ribs, first on one side and then on the other. Next morning old Dick was staggering around the camp holding his sides, some Mongrel got me last night and really did me over No worries said Bill I caught up with him later and really gave him some Boot Leather