Byron Bay with sharks.


untitledGustav Aschenabch

Gustav Ascenbach

The week to Byron Bay was too short, but all good things come to an end which is never truer (incorrect spelling, it is either true or not true) when it involves a break from routine. It’s a good sign when time passes quickly. Mind you, the devouring of almost two thousand kilometres there and back in the confined space of a metal object on wheels  can be tedious.

A funny anecdote towards the end of our trip was rewarding. Out of the blue, a hissing sound emerged within the car while driving to my brother’s place at Toronto, not far from Newcastle on the way back to Sydney-Bowral. We looked at each other and I asked Helvi if she could tell me the possible direction of this hissing sound. The car has so many electronic readings on a screen it is frightening. However, the screen kept on with supplying us navigational directions back home. I stopped the car convinced I had a leaking tyre. But all were rock-hard. I remembered vaguely reading in the car’s manual that a leaking tyre would be indicated on the screen but nothing appeared on the screen.

It turned out that I had accidentally turned on the radio which was off-tune. I never listen to car radio, and thankfully Helvi doesn’t like any musical sounds inside a confined space either. We are in total harmony and well attuned to avoiding noises; musical or otherwise. The accidental turning on of the radio was because a tiny miniscule button on the steering-wheel had accidentally been activated. How do people know all those things? Do they really have the stamina to read the 200 page car-manual? Anyway, my brother and us thought it very funny and laughter was a welcome relief.

The four night stay in Byron Bay was wonderfully informative as well as entertaining. As expected, the numerous spates of shark-attacks had left its mark. There were a lot less people in the water but this was more than compensated for by many more going around on hired push-bikes.  The people that were in the water were just near the edge of the sand and kept looking out for sharks. In the town I noticed a few people walking around with missing limbs. Of course, I did not go around and ask if it was a shark that caused the shortage of their foot or arm.

The hiring-out of surf boards was at a stand-still but the canny entrepreneur soon swapped over to hiring-out bicycles. One shop even supplied electric bicycles. Byron-Bay is now an international tourist destination and it is not difficult to understand why that is so. It does have a good vibe. One reason might well be that the Haight-Ashbury like hipness and aging hippies nearby Mullumbimby caused many to move to Byron-Bay. In the sixties, Mullumbimby drew many young people with a penchant for ditching bras and smoking pot. Even today it has the largest population of people refusing vaccinations together with fluoridated water.

Some complain that this busy hive of Byron-Bay  used to be a simple fishing place, and now swamped with tourists. There are still many simple fishing villages along the way, and they will remain very sleepy and simple. Tourism doesn’t really go much for sleepiness.

The Byron-Bay Beach Hotel is still the pivotal attraction where most tourists sooner or later end up. For us it was the magic of musical bands each evening playing their stuff. The hotel itself is magical. More like a huge shed on the edge of the beach opening up to the sea. Lots of seating and with a choice of good food.

PS. On the way home we stayed a night at a motel and the news on the TV had yet another shark attack near Byron Bay. Lucky for the surfer this shark attacked the surfboard which it broke in half. He had a piece of his wetsuit bitten out and  received a gash in his side. Of course, anyone in the water rushed out, and no doubt fewer people will venture into the water. It is a dilemma? The sea is the sharks territory. It doesn’t help killing sharks. The sharks don’t care and don’t differentiate between another fish or a surfer!

Perhaps, cycling is a safer option!

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22 Responses to “Byron Bay with sharks.”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    Yep, I’ll stick to my bike.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Robert Parker Says:

    The people missing limbs are those who neglect to read the 200-page instruction manuals. When combined with a lack of fluoridated water, the unschooled use of cars, bicycles, Cuisinarts, and folding lawn chairs is statistically more dangerous than shark attacks.
    I read that in my toaster manual.
    The Byron Bay Beach Hotel sounds fun!

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Robert.
      My toaster manual warned not to put knives inside to retrieve burnt toast (or the frozen calamari rings that I once tried cooking in a motel room without an oven.)
      Yes, shark attacks are rare and somewhat on par with crocodile attacks up north.
      It does frighten the tourists though with signage on the beaches; ‘beware of sharks’ or ‘enter at own risk;’ ‘crocodiles are breeding here.’

      Liked by 1 person

  3. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Your car is fancy indeed. Just at touch on the steering wheel and you turn the radio on. I don’t listen to my radio either. It gets on my last raw nerve.

    About those sharks. It is not wise to invade an animals territory. Humans often come up on the short end of a stick or missing a limb or killed. Folks do not want to believe that they are at rick. Walking in safe place is about the safest thing to do – I hope .


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Ivonne. The car is very French with lots of flair and ‘nous’, even pre-heat seats. There are buttons that I daren’t touch in case something goes off. It has reversing camera that I activate when parked at a shopping centre.
      I like looking at shoppers with bags full of shopping in the reversing camera, when they think no one is looking.
      Walking is safe. However with the aging of people many now scoot around in mobility scooters and some politician wants to limit the speed of those little vehicles to just walking pace.
      One canny old bloke had fiddled with his scooter and was booked at doing 30KMs on the footpath!
      Mobility vehicle rage is on the increase.


      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Oh dear a scooter is now a contender for a race circuit. Maybe one designed just for seniors- lots of hay bales and banks of cotton. Plus an outside remote controller when the driver gets too frisky. I bet that would be a hoot to watch. Tickets going fast with scalpers on every corner. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, Ivonne. The era of mobility scooters have arrived and congestion on footpaths will make it unsafe for us walkers, risking getting run over.


  4. shoreacres Says:

    I believe I’ll take Mullumbimby, thank you. When I read the linked pages you offered, and found a phrase pointing out the “overpopulated energy of Byron Bay” and the “self-conscious hippiedom of Nimbin,” I knew it was time to head for the third alternative.

    On the other hand, the hotel you described — open, sea-facing, with good music — sounds delightful. I’ve been thinking a good bit about some special places in the Caribbean that may or may not still be there, post-hurricanes. Foxy’s bar on Jost Van Dyke is one, but there were many others, including a wonderful restaurant on St. John, where Starhawk made an appearance one night. She’s pretty much the grand poo-bah of Wicca-dom, and she and her followers were on their way to an old sugar mill to dance under the full moon and whatever. In any event, that seaside ambiance can’t be beat.

    I’m glad you had a good time, and glad you’re home safely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Mullumbimby is a lot more peaceful but its hippies are now old and much scragglier. A life time of free-love and pot too, left its mark. Is it true that no-one escapes, Linda?

      In Byron Bay some who have moved from Mullumbimby now still do fortune telling, play an instrument or just perform street art. One old man was drumming on empty paint drums with another one doing hoopla rings around his rotund stomach, but still good at it. All in all a place where open expressions of feelings are accepted.

      Did you recognize Dirk Bogarde in the photo, from the excellent movie by Visconti, adapted from the Thomas Mann novel, ” Death in Venice?” Here is the wonderful Mahler’s slow movement from that movie.


  5. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Sounds like a wonderful place to stay/be! Glad you enjoyed your time there.
    That’s funny about the car! I think all the new and latest things outsmart me every time! 😀 😛
    Yes, stay away from the sharks and enjoy the bike! Now…if you see a shark on a bike 😮 … yikes! 😀
    I am amazed when people invade an animal’s territory and then are upset when they see said animals. We have encroached on their territory and have made their lives more difficult. 😦
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, this car has so many options and choices to perform before one even drives off. It is the same with so many mechanical/ electrical things.

      Why does an oven come with so many options? The toaster even has a battery of knobs and menus. All come with lengthy manuals as if preparing us to become a pilot.

      In the past one either switched the thing on or off. It was simple.
      I think sharks and crocodiles are out for revenge. They know things are getting worse and want to teach us a lesson.

      Hugs too.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Christine Says:

    Beautiful music up there. Thank you.
    I was youngish when I saw “Death in Venice” and it disturbed me somewhat. Years later, I saw it again, in a different light.

    They’re cracking down on whippersnippers & blowers, Gerard?
    Aha! Good news . . if true.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Glad you liked the Mahler slow movement, Christine.
      The garden noises have finally abated and the equipment locked in the garden shed waiting for fall.
      Aldi is full of chainsaws, petrol edgers, hedgers, blowers and much more to massacre bush and tree.
      Shoppers are fondly stroking the latest of pruners and snippers.


  7. Julia Lund Says:

    Given my track record on push bikes, safety isn’t high on the agenda. Still, I’d take my chance with two wheels over sharks any day (I saw jaws when I was fourteen …).

    Sounds like you had a great trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Jaws, mentioned by Julia above, always comes to my mind when I hear of shark attacks. An appropriate response from your radio would have been to blast out the Jaws’ theme. 🙂 We have all those little buttons on our steering wheel as well. More than once I’ve been startled when my radio starts playing, as if by magic. Lucky I haven’t wrecked the car. And they say cell phones are bad. Must say that most of the Hippie Hangouts in California, like Sausalito, have now become hangouts for millionaires. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The hippies in Byron Bay are now old and looking wizened. Some still wear the garb and hang in there, but things have changed.

      I am not sure if the spirit of wanting ‘change’ is still there. Most young people are either without work or burdened by debt to pay for studying and finding out that even after graduating many still can’t get a job.

      The millionaires are hogging their wealth and getting richer, but what about the rest?


      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        Sad to say, Gerard, the 60s are long gone, ancient history. But the cultural wars they started in America are still raging.
        While I was a product of the 60s, I never could fathom the ‘drop out’ part. There were too many battles to fight, too much at stake, or at least, so it seemed. –Curt


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