Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Shark Attack

An inevitable and shocking reality has come to pass. One of our fellow surfers was killed this morning by a Great White shark. Inevitable, because we see Great Whites all the time but we continue to surf our perfect break, so it is just a matter of time until one decides to take a bite. Shocking because we never really, really think it will happen to someone so close.
At about 9.30 this morning I heard the NSRI (National Sea Rescue) siren go off and my first thought was, "Where is Charles?" But he told me that he had a meeting after dropping the girls at school and I knew that he didn't have a kayak trip to run so I didn't give it much more thought, other than a vague hope that it wasn't anything too serious.
Then I got a facebook message from a friend in Holland (of all places!) asking about the shark attack. What shark attack? And I brushed it aside. Then I got an sms from a friend saying "Thinking about you and Charles." Well I just about lost it in that moment. I couldn't dial Charles fast enough.
He answered. It wasn't him. It was Tim, our good friend and fellow surfer.
Charles watched from the viewpoint above the break as the shark knocked him off the board and pulled him under. He screamed for help.
"I couldn't do anything except wait until I could do something," said Charles.
The rest of the surfers in the water began to flee as Tim was washed towards the beach on the other side of a strong rip. Charles tore off his clothes, grabbed his board and ran, in his underpants, to the water. He managed to get to him quite quickly, but said he was losing it fast and his eyes weren't focusing. His leg was badly bitten. Another surfer helped Charles get him to the rocks, by which time the NSRI arrived. They resuscitated him twice but sadly he had lost too much blood and passed away in the hospital shortly afterwards. We are ever grateful and proud of our NSRI team who worked so quickly, professionally and hard to save Tim's life.
This has rocked our world of surfers, mothers, wives and friends. We live in a small town where everyone pretty much knows everyone. And as I drove down Main Street this morning to meet Charles, I could feel the shock and sadness that had come to settle over our community.
We will always remember Tim as the warm, kind and gentle person he was. May his soul be at peace and the waves of forever break with eternal perfection.

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