I feel so lucky to have this beautiful waterscape right outside my apartment. It is situated between Manly beach and Shelly beach in New South Wales and is such an amazing place. Being close to the water gives me a calming feeling, being in the water however is another story. I reckon I must be one of the only people living on this beach who feels uncomfortable in the ocean, and that feeling isn’t even factoring in the likelihood of bumping into a shark. Two years ago I decided that doing my PADI diving certificate was a matter of life and death. I paid more money then I care to mention and flew all the way to Borneo only to get in the water on the first day and decide it wasn’t for me. In fact diving felt so unnatural for me that I just kayaked the rest of the trip.
So on the third occasion that I went in the water during the two years of living here, I was most fortunate to see something amazing. It was always on my bucket list and I thought it was something that I was going to have to really search for, yet here it was right outside my front door.
Seeing a turtle for the first time in its natural habitat was such a magical experience. Gliding so effortlessly through the ocean I followed (more thrashing than gliding) trying not to get close so as not to disturb it. This species of turtle is the Hawksbill Turtle and is listed as vulnerable by the Australian Government which makes me feel even more blessed to have seen it.
All giddy from seeing the turtle, my next encounter soon brought me back to the harsh realities of being in the water. I was moseying along and noticed something on the ocean floor. To my absolute horror, it was a carpet shark, a Wobbegong to be exact. I had seen reef sharks before and even tiger sharks in the Bahamas however on tours, in controlled environments. Completely forgetting that I was in fact underwater I allowed several waves to wash over my snorkel sending me into a state of panic and now somehow this shark was going to swim up and bite my legs off. This particular type of shark will only attack when it feels threatened, of course these sort of facts tend to sail out of your mind at crucial moments. The next five minutes was spent trying to sort out my snorkel whilst attempting not to drown or become headline news as the victim of a shark attack.
Needless to say, it may be a good few months before you catch me in the water again, the go pro will have to get used to all things land based. If you can ever get down to this part of the world is definitely worth the visit. I will be posting about Manly (where the reserve is situated) in the near future so stay tuned.
Tell me about your water-based experiences, hopefully, they are less traumatic than mine!
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