Are you feeling like there should be more hours in the day? Are you a volunteer juggling your passion for climate-action with work, uni and family? Maybe you need a breather! Some YOU time. Maybe you should…get back to nature and spend a week surfing and camping with your buddies in a national park? BRILLIANT idea. Well I thought it was anyway.
At the beginning of the mid-semester break, I joined some buddies from ASEN and AYCC in loading up the car for a trip to the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia. First, Just to put it into context, The Yorke Peninsula is so dear to me, and has many beautiful moments in my life attached to it. According to a 2008 report by the Federal Government’s Bureau of Rural Sciences, wheat yields in the area are predicted to decrease by 2080 from anywhere between 5%-41%. As if farming wasn’t already enough of a gamble!
These kinds of statistics show how unpredictable the future is for us all, including the Yorke Peninsula’s farmers. And let’s not forget the risks on the Yorke of sea level rise! Check out this little shack at “The Dipper”, Yorke Peninsula! The end for that little hut is nigh…
To be honest, there was a moment on this lovely trip that I myself almost thought the end was nigh. Now I don’t just mean I was getting the climate-change blues and letting the scary stats get me down – I legitimately thought I was about to die.
One sunny afternoon on our trip, my mate Michael and I launched two small kayaks at Dolphin Bay in Innes National Park. These tiny, body-hugging vessels are designed for rapids, and we had been surfing waves with them the day before at Berry Bay on sunset. Bliss. Line after line of peeling right-handers. Dolphins played under the mirror-waters that reflected the orange, purple, and gold sunset hues. Mmmmmm.
But this day was dead flat. As we paddled around the headland, the sun was out, the waters were still, I was hanging out with my best friends in a beautiful place, and having one of the best weeks in my life. Totally in my element, I started spinning my kayak on the spot. The water and cliffs and rocks and sky all blurred in and out of my vision.
I heard a splash. Remembering how Michael loves practicing eskimo rolls, I thought nothing of it. Turning around with a smile, I expected to see my shaggy-haired friend with a wet head from the dunking and his typical, gigantic, beaming grin. What I saw was the boat on its side- but no Mike…
- !!!BANGCRASHROAR!!! A Giant Shark head emerged in an INSTANT. Jaws, Head, Fin, side. MASSIVE and just metres away! Split seconds of fear, disbelief, panic, and awe. What an animal – is this real?? Mike emerged!
“What do I do, what do I do!”- Before I had to wait for an answer, Michael was already powering towards my boat. The shark was still distracted, trying to get a grip on the kayak. I paddled a few strokes towards Michael who launched onto the back of my kayak.
His boarding was flawless. “Go Go! Just Paddle!” he instructed. One thing I can commend us on is the fact that considering the situation, we remained relatively calm. Didn’t freeze, didn’t shriek, didn’t over react and flip the boat. NOT heroes or that junk, but RELATIVELY collected people. Luckily.
On that sprint paddle towards the rocks I was waiting to be knocked out by the Great White at any moment…
but it never happened. Before I knew it we were on the rocks! That was the weirdest feeling of my life. Unexplainable.
I am eternally grateful to that shark for sparing us. I wish there was a way to put that mental image onto paper; a Jaws scene before my eyes. I love sharks. I’ve so much respect for that incredible being. The fisherman who rescued us drove his boat past the shark and said it was just shy of matching the length of his 24ft boat! Sheer size, strength and majesty; totally awesome. Gods? Karma? manifestation? Luck.
NOW. I’m spreading that luck and extra energy for life to YOU and let’s REPOWER AUSTRALIA!
Written by AYCC SA volunteer, Elise Lavers.