SURELY NOT TWICE
Leaving the Art of Motion Physiotherapy centre in Margaret River, wonderful session with Marion McRae, feel reinvigorated, new exercises to stimulate movement, advised to find more sunshine, possibly hydrotherapy, not to mention Marion’s unique ability to get into my current post injury head space and put a positive outlook on moving forward. I exit the centre, feeling the sun on my face, smiling as I get into the car, the phone rings, MR Police lights up on the screen, instinctively knowing it is not a social call, the shoulder immediately tightens up again.
Shark attack at Cobblestones, sea rescue assistance required, initial information indicates serious. Adrenaline kicks in, headspace back to where it was an hour ago, revert to auto function mode, initiate a conference callout to mobilise marine recue PWCs to search for the injured surfer’s board, my wife driving us safely back to Gracetown, me quickly texting close friends, dreading the worst possible outcome. Police, ambos, shire rangers, DPAW, Fisheries are all on scene, the timing of the incident adding another dimension, if that was possible, during the Margaret River Pro and almost 12 months to the day since 17 yr old Laeticia was taken from her family in Esperance.
Radio contact at Cobblestones with the marine rescue ski indicates they have located the surfboard, approximately two kilometres out to sea, blown by the light easterlies on what started as a perfect 4-5ft offshore surfing day, once again tainted. We meet police at the boat ramp, handover the ‘scarred’ board, hear the great news that on scene surfers have likely saved this guys’ life, he is air lifted out in a stable condition. All beaches from North Point to Lefthanders closed, but news of a four metre whale washed up at Lefties complicates matters further, if that’s possible. Three hours later, the first of four emergency sirens are screeching down Cowaramup Bay Rd, I text the police, “surely not a second attack”, the reply is unbelievable, the injury perhaps minor, but the impact and repercussions brutal. Next day marine rescue crew again mobilised to assist agencies remove the whale carcass, logistically and politically complicated, but common sense prevails, the rescue jet ski and land based members make a difficult task easier, in the interest of public safety.
The balance of our existence again altered, so many affected, heroes on the beach, families in hospitals tending loved ones, our kids wary of what they once loved. Surely, it must be time for positive action, NOW!