Winter is coming! For a lot of you, that means traveling to a secluded beach for 2 weeks, basking in unfamiliar sun and lots and lots of little umbrella drinks. Good for you! Go pretend the past months were just part of a bad, dystopian novel. However (and this is not the sound of jealousy at all), there are a few dangers lurking just ‘round the corner of your island paradise.
At this point, we all know that merely going outside could pose a threat. Our new “normal” has taught us to wash our hands and ignore people not following mask protocols. When traveling, one also has to watch out for pickpockets, weather events and unscrupulous cab drivers. Just to make it more interesting, though, let’s invite Jaws to the party, too!
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of shark attacks. A talking television head will somberly report that another beachgoer has been fatally mauled in the water and leave the viewer with the frightening intimation that sharks are out to get us. The facts are clearly there. For example, in 2018, Massachusetts hosted its first fatal shark attack since 1936 (Boston.com)! In July, Maine suffered its first great white fatality ever (OrlandoSentinel.com). And just a few days ago, an Australian surfer was last seen being attacked by a shark; the only thing yet to be recovered has been his chewed-up board (TheGuardian.com). Obviously, sharks are coming for us.
But wait. Your chances of drowning at the beach is 1 in 2 million, while your chances of getting attacked by a shark are only 1 in 11.5 million (Fisheries.noaa.gov). A study released by Louisiana State University and the University of Florida reports that, although we hear a lot of stories, the risk of a shark attack remains very, very low. While the trend is showing that, over the years, shark bites are increasing, fatalities are not (QZ.com). What does that tell us? Sharks are biting us more, but they’re not necessarily intending to bite us in the first place. If you’ve watched Shark Week on The Discovery Channel, then you’ve heard marine biologists insisting that most shark bites come about as a result of mistaken identity. The shark sees splashing and movement, thinks seal tartare is on the menu and snaps a sample. Shark realizes the mistake, moves along. Unfortunately, human limbs don’t take kindly to shark nibbles. Yes, yes, sharks are after us. But, really, it might be fairer to say it’s the other way around.
No one wants to blame the victims, but we are creating these instances of shark/human altercations. Because of all the neat things we do to our environment, our oceans are warming up. Once you have warmer temperatures, you find sharks in unexpected places (TheGuardian.com). In addition, the human population is growing exponentially; in locales that have experienced tourist and development explosions, “attacks have as much as doubled” (QZ.com). Finally, dolphin watching attractions cause problems on the beach: thoughtless boat captains “chum” the water to attract more dolphins (and, inadvertently, sharks) for your viewing pleasure (Hilton Head guide, conversation). Think ahead, fellas.
Go on your vacation and have fun, but use normal precautions. Don’t swim at night (1st scene in Jaws), don’t wear jewelry (sharks like shiny things, too) and don’t surf in Australia (literally everything can kill you in Australia).
Bourke Accounting pros don’t travel. Bourke Accounting experts endure the harsh Kentucky winters, waiting patiently if you should need them. Your Bourke Accounting bookkeeper or tax preparer will be more than happy to see your holiday pictures, though! Eh, if you are going surfing in Australia, you might want to sort out a nice financial Power of Attorney with your Bourke Accounting rep first. Just saying…
Written by Sue H.