By now I guess most people have seen the video of the shark attack on Australian surfer, Mick Fanning, during the final of the Jeffreys Bay WSL competition in South Africa last month.
By some miracle he was uninjured.
This is every surfer's nightmare.
There have been a number of fatal shark attacks in Australia this year.
They appear to be on the increase and shark sightings are more common place.
Surfers in our area have reported a lot more shark activity.
I had been surfing since the early 1960s and only gave it up a few years ago due to a recurring shoulder injury. During that time I had three close up encounters with sharks. The most memorable one was at Angourie on the north coast of New South Wales many years ago. This is a point reef break and the water is dark.
There was just my mate and I in the water. He suddenly yelled "feet up" and a big shark circled us on the surface twice before a swish of the tail and he was gone. We caught the next wave into the beach.
Surfers are constantly aware of the danger and you are subconsciously always keeping an eye out. But you can't let it 'get to you' or you would never go in the water.
I substituted my surf board with a belly board and the co driver and I had fun for a few years doing this.
But last year I began to feel shark phobia creeping up on me and now I am happy not to go into the water. Fifty years of denial may have finally caught up.
The co driver has suggested some therapy and has offered her crocheting skills. I have politely refused the offer.