It was one of the busiest weekends of the year at Australian beaches - and one of the most frightening. In Western Australia, a man was presumed killed by a shark that attacked him while he was snorkelling with his son. On the other side of the country, a kayaker in Sydney was terrorised by a shark that knocked him out of his boat and circled him until he was rescued by fishermen.
Police continued to search for Brian Guest, 51, yesterday, but found only shredded pieces of his wetsuit. Mr Guest disappeared on Saturday morning while diving for crabs with his son, Daniel, at their local beach south of Perth. Witnesses saw a 16ft shark, probably a white pointer, thrashing around, and a “heap of blood” in the water.
Locals found 24-year-old Daniel on the beach, white and shaking. “I asked him if he was alright, but he was too shaken to answer,” resident Luke Tubbs recalled. Yesterday police and marine rescue teams searched fruitlessly for Brian Guest, using six boats and a helicopter. However his family urged authorities not to hunt down the beast that had apparently taken him, saying he had always had a deep respect for the ocean and its hazards. Indeed, Mr Guest, a keen fisherman and diver, wrote on an angler website forum in 2004: “I have always had an understanding with my wife that if a shark or ocean accident caused my death, then so be it, at least it was doing what I wanted.”
Meanwhile in Sydney, Steve Kulcsar, 29, was recovering from a terrifyingly close encounter with a shark, believed to be a great white. He and a friend, Justin Stanger, were kayaking when a nearby fisherman shouted out: “There's a five-metre (16-foot) shark coming your way.” Mr Kulcsar said: “We all thought he was just trying to stir us up for a laugh, but a few moments later, a big fin appeared.” Soon afterwards, the shark bumped his kayak, knocking him into the sea.
As Mr Kulcsar trod water, then struggled to get back into his craft, the giant predator circled him and Mr Stanger. The fisherman, Glenn Morgan cut his anchor cable and went to the pair's rescue. The kayakers rafted up next to the boat, but, for the next ten minutes, the shark returned again and again to menace them, before finally losing interest.
Mr Kulcsar told the Sunday Telegraph: “My first thought was to just get back in the kayak as quick as possible. I was so lucky. It had a chance to get me, but it didn't want to.”
Also on Saturday, a maxi yacht, Wild Oats XI, collided with a shark off Tasmania's east coast, during the annual Sydney to Hobart race. Despite the incident, Wild Oats was first.