The turtles, the jellyfish and the shark of Byron Bay

The turtles, the jellyfish and the shark of Byron Bay

This morning we had a wonderful experience snorkelling with turtles and beautiful marine life, barely a five minute speedboat ride away from the shores of bustling Byron Bay on the east coast of Australia. This afternoon we tried our hand at surfing for the first time and did our best to catch some waves, all the while being surrounded by a soft, white sandy beach and nothing but blue skies overhead.

Wait a minute. This all sounds a little too idyllic…though it does on reflection tick all the boxes for a successful social media post where the norm seems to be to paint a picture of perfection no matter what you’re doing or where you are – something we’re all guilty of from time to time. In the spirit of telling it like it is, here’s what really happened…

We snorkelled away happily with the turtles (that part is true – it really was a special moment as one of them appeared as if my magic and gracefully glided towards us) whilst navigating ourselves through quite a choppy swell. At the same time however most of the group were in the process of getting stung by blue bottlenose jelly fish. One girl in particular went into shock, then fell unconscious and had a seizure in front of us on the boat.

Later in the day as we were surfing (I use the term ‘surfing’ very loosely) and being swept along in the wrong direction by a very strong current, our time in the water was to be curtailed when a loud siren sounded. I didn’t even need to hear the word ‘shark’ – I was out of there quicker than you can say ‘sunburnt bum’, which is what I took home as a souvenir today.

Today was a fun, exhilarating and brilliant day but I’ll happily wear my sunburn, sand burns and surf bruises after what could have happened today.

Same time again tomorrow? Yeah…you know what – I think I’ll pass.


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