OK, I’m here to set the record straight about the shark that was found dead at the Lennox Boat Channel on 20th February.
It was actually my brother Andy (nickname Poss) who was walking on the beach just before the heavens opened with heavy rain from Cyclone Marcia, and snapped the pic of the shark, who (depending on who you talk to) ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’ was quite clearly dead.
I posted the photo to my Facebook page and wrote “Good Morning Lennox Head from the Boat Channel….” My original thoughts on the post were to share with my ‘real’ local friends a snapshot of that which lurks everyday unseen in what we regard as ‘our playground’, but which is in fact a shark’s—and all other sea creatures’—kingdom.
As soon as I posted it on Facebook I began getting responses (which for those who may not know are brought to your attention by highlighted red icons and a sound beep) but as the morning progressed, what started as a slow beat turned into rapid fire.
The very first comment was “Hope it’s wearing sunscreen” but then questions were cast “What? Is this real?”, “How, what happened?”, “Had it been attacked?”.
In hindsight, the question that was real turning point was around mid-morning when the local media (ABC North Coast and Northern Star) asked “can we use this pic?”
The ABC headlined the post as “Look what the storm deposited on Lennox Beach” and the Northern Star followed with “Small shark washes up on Lennox Beach”. Both very brief and simple messages with basically some quotes and comments taken from the original Facebook post.
But then, within a few hours of social media Chinese Whispers, things went crazy. I have coined the term for our modern age of media and journalism as “The Immedia” where even before a story has been researched and developed, everyone (and I mean everyone) from your mate next door to journalists from major Australian media outlets, has a story of their own cyclonic spin proportions.
I couldn’t believe the comments, opinions, information and misinformation that began to play out.
As it turned out the most powerful comment of all, was “Sharknado”, which is the title of one of the most ridiculous movies ever made, where man-eating killer sharks are sucked up by a tornado, and drop from the sky into the city to start attacking and killing humans.
And so began our own salty myth that went viral.
On closer inspection since the debate began I have now have zoomed forensic-style into the photo and can see a wire fishing trace hanging out of the Sharks mouth. This can mean one of two things:
- The Shark was caught by a fisherman, probably accidently. As a fisherman reels in a catch, sharks often come along and steal the catch off the line and an ensuing fight can occur with the shark usually snapping the line. It’s possible after the fight in its weakened state, combined with the rough weather and seas, the shark did get washed up.
- The same as above but instead the fisherman landed the shark to the beach and left it there.
NEXT, the type of Shark WAS NOT an endangered Grey Nurse as many outraged comments suggested. It was in fact professionally identified by Sea World as a Dusky Whaler Shark.
IT WAS NOT A GIANT! It was about 4ft or a metre and a half.
THE SHARK WAS DEAD and could not be saved.
THE SHARK DID NOT GET DEPOSITED ON THE BEACH BY A CYCLONE.
Contrary to media reports I am NOT Andy’s FATHER.
At the time of writing, about 30 hours after the post (on just the posts I know about and can trace, who knows how many others are out there) the shark has clocked up to 20,000 likes, 20,000 shares and over 5,000 comments.
I have also been asked to Facebook Friend over 2 dozen people I don’t know, from all over Australia and even around the world, including journalists from ABC USA. I have been interviewed by journalist from two of Australia’s major mainstream media.
The shark has appeared on Page 4 of today’s Sydney Daily Telegraph, is appearing as the lead in video story to the Cyclone on Fairfax Media: Brisbane Times, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. The image is on the homepage of ninemsn, has been on radio on the Goldy, seen in Perth, appeared on yesterday’s Prime 7 National News.
And you know you really have hit the big time of Royalty when a mate from Queensland rings to tell you even His Royal Highness King Wally Lewis himself mentioned our Lennox shark on Brisbane National Nine News!
In fact as I write another friend informs me our Lennox Shark has made it all the way to the UK media posts. It is not yet confirmed if the Queen is accepting her invitation to a memorial service to be held down at the Boat Channel but given the major importance and significance of this matter to the now International ‘Immedia’ it is highly unlikely she would fail to attend or at least send a representative.
And by the way, THERE IS NO MEMORIAL AT THE BREAM HOLE.