Mike's Australia by Mike Dixon - HTML preview
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Whether you are into marine sports or just want to lazy around and relax, you will love our beaches. There are awesome opportunities for wave surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, wake surfing, kayaking, jet skiing, scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming and much more.
The golden sands, fringed with palm trees, are what dreams are made of but have their hazards. Bear in mind that it's not healthy to sun bake, drowning is bad for you, jellyfish sting, sharks bite and crocodiles kill.
Australia is the skin cancer capital of the world. When I was a divemaster, my gear for supervising dives from boats was dark blue cotton shirt, jeans and a wide-brimmed army hat. I applied sun screen to every inch of bare flesh including the tops of my bare feet. A fellow divemaster of Maori ancestry took a good tan but was equally diligent. He had an uncle who died of skin cancer. It's not just fair-skinner northern Europeans who are at risk.
The golden rule for swimmers is "swim between the flags". Our tourist beaches are patrolled by lifesavers and they put out flags. You will find surf lifesaving clubs in most coastal communities, sometimes within a kilometre of one another.
The main beaches are protected by shark nets and it is easy to think you are safe everywhere. You are not. I vividly recall a trip to the far northern gulf country. I went for a stroll down the beach and my family went for a paddle. The sea was flat and everything seemed safe to my over-relaxed mind. Then I saw a fin in the muddy water. A wave took it towards me and a sizeable shark was deposited at my feet. Although in the shallows, the ferocious animal propelled itself at me, jaws snapping. My heart missed a beat and I sprinted back to my family, yelling for them to get out of the water.
In remote tropical areas, crocodiles are a real risk. Signs warning you about the big amphibian are not put up as a tourist gimmick. There are laws to stop us killing them but no effective legislation to stop them eating us.
The other big hazard is the box jellyfish. I'm not talking about its cousin, the bluebottle or Portuguese Man-of-War, which merely imparts a nasty sting. The box jellyfish kills. It is common in tropical waters in the summer months. (see Hazards, below).
The internet provides a heap of information on what the Water Sports People have to offer. Remember that the surf gives out where the Great Barrier Reef begins.