Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Shark attack survivor shares her story.

As travellers and yachties we have the benefit of an outsiders perspective as far as resorts are concerned. We can dip in and out of a place without feeling bound to get "the most out of our tourist dollar".

A pool of my own: Jen

We have decided to spend a few more days here at Palm Bay Resort on Long Island. It's 5 star environment was on offer to us at $50 a night by mooring Sea Trek III in the lagoon out front. I had my very own pool and spa for an entire day! The comfy lounges and stunning views had cast a strange soothing effect upon us. It is all so very tranquil. By talking to the staff we became aware that a new concept was emerging. It is a unique BYO five star Tropical Island Resort For Rent. We were invited to bring some ideas ashore for a BBQ and meet with the owner, who had flow up from Melbourne.

The secret Surprise Chef is none other than....
Peppers walked away from Palm Bay Long Island Resort a few years ago. The resort reopened mid July 2013. New ideas and a shift in focus were a large part of the evening discussion. The owner echoed our views that it will be the uniqueness of the place that will set it apart.
We made ourselves right at home.

But the evening discussion took on a very different thread as another guest, Paddy 63 year old woman told of the horrific shark attack that disfigured her just three years ago.
She had been swimming with her husband and other snorkellers in a deep channel at Dent island. It was an area not usually visited by tourist vessels. It was day three of a five day stay in another resort. She was grabbed by a Bull Shark who bit into her lower torso and upper legs and latched firmly onto her buttocks. It started to shake her. While still on the surface she turned to see teeth and blood. She was already fighting back by punching it on the snout. She couldn't see its eyes but she just kept thumping. She had no pain but she was dragged under water and fighting for her life. She kept fighting and thought of her children and grandkids. She felt very determined not to let the beast beat her.
It let go of her but she had large gaping wounds. She received good first aid when back in the dinghy and a well coordinated transfer to emergency surgery. Only when she reached hospital did she begin to experience incredible pain. Over the next couple of years she has required skin grafts and reconstructive operations. All of this information is out in the media and available on the web.
Glenn and I both had tears in our eyes as she spoke on a more personal level. She was advised to talk to others about her experience. This approach would help her heal emotionally. She said that she doesn't experience nightmares or flash backs; that being able to choose not to go in the water has given her a sense of control. She has revisited the area and is in contact with other shark victims. Her girlfriend even sat with her to watch JAWS, a movie that she didn't find very scary! (Her friend was terrified.) Specialists have spoken about the fight, fright or flight instinct. Only about 10% of people will fight and that is not a predictable trait prior to an event.
I also listen to Chris, Paddy's husband. He is an outgoing sort of person. He was obviously deeply involved in his wife's experience, trauma and recovery. We passed by them out walking on the rainforest track. Paddy was a little behind Chris on the upward slopes. Although Glenn and I observed that she had a slight mobility problem, we would never have realised the severity of her physical injuries.
Paddy joked that the shark attack was one way to loose a big bum. When she said that she can now sit down normally I realised that buttocks are not accessory organs, or attractive lumps. We all sit so much in modern life. Our spines are protected from abrupt jarring. Our leg muscles attach for balance and walking. And they keep our undies up.
What an amazing woman. She's back into her life again enjoying many things. The shark attack is just one facet of her life story. Really made us think about our own priorities in life. Each day brings it's own unique experiences. Life can never be taken for granted.
But wait....Glenn's dreams of fame and fortune have appeared. A Japanese Film Crew have just arrived for a 24 hour stay at Palm Bay. Oh for Glenn to stay or go further south today???? Will they be needing a "Real Australian Funny Guy" (musician, chef and all round idiot) as part of their documentary about this resort.???
Sand between their toes.
Looking for "Real Aussie Funny Guy".
It really is time for us to go. The winds and weather are favourable. We know the way through the reef now: straight line and full blast on the engine.
Can you see the narrow track through the reef?
Moving on, moving south....



1 comment:

  1. Why oh why are all of your beautifull photos always the back of Glenns head?? Please dont be embarrised of his scary melon!! It does keep the Pirates away, and other woman.