Wouldn’t you like to jump on the plane when you see photos of those breathtakingly beautiful EMPTY beaches and come to Australia right now?
Like this one we ended on a few days ago in our attempt to reach the end of the paved road at a place called Cape Tribulation. A beautiful expanse of fine sand, firm enough to walk on for hours, temperature about 85F (30C) and water probably the same. Why do I say probably?
Well, before you drop your pants and submerge your sweating body into refreshingly balmy tropical Coral Sea, you will be well advised to put the breaks on your excitement and think twice, as I did, and obediently stay away from water! In Far North Queensland (FNQ) as it is true for most of Australia, there are sharks in the water year round and you better swim only in places protected by a safety net preventing sharks to get close to you and taking a bite! Or in the absence of nets at least a beach guard to help pull you out of Jaws. Unfortunately, attractive Bay Watch boys and girls you remember watching on TV are not stationed on those far away, empty, gorgeous beaches.
There is more to take under advisement in the FNQ. There is another attractive animal to face off with here any time of the year. Before you hit the beach you may first have to jump over this yellow warning sign reminding you
of the presence of this pretty scary shark competitor in the battle for survival-the crocodile!
Not good, my friends, not good unless you are Crocodile Dandy!
But I am not done yet. If you come to FNQ in the very attractive winter season in the Northern Hemisphere, you will find another addition to the year round team of sharks and crocks.
Almost invisible, the size of barely half of your thumb nail, non-scientifically named jelly fish Marine Stinger.
Unfortunately in addition to its rather laughably sized body it comes packaged with ten feet long extremely poisonous tentacles.
This scary jellyfish has been responsible for more deaths in northern Australia than sharks and crocodiles combined! How did this creature make it to the top of such proud statistic? It takes victims by wrapping its tentacles around the unsuspecting prey like me or you. Then it injects its venom through small receptors along the tentacles and you would know soon if not immediately, through terrible pain what is the severity of its attack. Your pain correlates directly to the amount of the tentacle that touches the skin. But pain is not all you can expect. In addition, the venom attacks your muscles around the lungs and heart. As a result, paralysis of both these organs is the main cause of death in untreated cases.
Fortunately it is just seasonal! You should know that all recorded deaths caused by marine stringers have occurred between October and May.
Come on over in our northern summers. You will face just crocks and sharks!
Enjoy your swim, mate!
And after you exhaust all your beach options, you decide to take a stroll. On the far end of the beach you see a man sitting on the chair enjoying the peace and quiet. Safely away from the edge of water and out of reach for crocs, sharks and stingers. A wise man enjoying his time on the sun with a book? But as I walk closer I see the man wildly waving his hands. Is it a friendly Aussie hello? Is he beckoning me to come closer? He is frantically waving his hands around his head and upper torso now. I quicken my step. Perhaps he needs help? As I approach, I yell, “What’s wrong, mate?”
“Damn those bloody sand flies!” he yells back and desperately slaps himself on the back.