Today’s prompt, what are your worst fears?

As a young lad, living near a surfing beach and being a strong swimmer, I joined the local surf life saving club. We put out flags on the beach to show swimmers where it was relatively safe to swim, no sand bars, no rips and in general, the perfect place to enjoy a swin. The one thing we could not give information about was the presence of sharks.

Some sharks are a danger to man, others, like our Grey Nurse or the poor old Wobbeygong are present but pose little or no danger.

The constant carping about sharks in the press caused me to develop not only a dislike of them but also a feeling of apprehension when I entered the water, particularly on a dull, miserable sort of a day.

Then, one day when a group off us were doing our ocean swim training about 3 or 4 hundred yards off the beach, the shark alarm siren sounded. I was then about 17 years old. We got into a huddle and one of the old blokes( he was probably about 25 ) simply said that we would all be ok, there had never been a shark attack at our beach and we should just turn around, stick together and swim back quietly to the beach without too much splashing. That is exactly what we did, and no untoward incidents occurred.

Was my fear of sharks quelled? Partially.

They did disappear totally though after I took up SCUBA diving. I had numerous encounters and after a while, still careful though, my fears evaporated.

Then, as a mature man, I spent over 35 years in an occupation that can sometimes be extremely dangerous.

In those situations, I found the surge of adrenalin quickly kicked in, there was no time to think about fear, all senses concentrated on resolving the issue at hand.

When everything was settled, mostly peacefully, sometimes not, and the paper work was completed, we would retire to the nearest licensed establishment and relax with a few beers and discuss what we did well, what was not done quite so well and how we would do the job next time.

Fear? No. Need for counsellors? No.. Our concerns were for our own safety of course and that of the public. In addition, we never disregarded the safety of the individual or individuals who were the cause of all the fuss.

Present fears, only that no one will bother to read this blog.


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