Today in Torquay #4


I have Bill Bryson to thank for the perspective that you don’t really get a sense of a place unless you walk around in it. Driving around in a car just doesn’t do it.

I had no idea how spread out the town of Hervey Bay is. Streets are mostly wide and straight and L-O-N-G. They were laid out carefully by enterprising property owners who co-operatively subdivided immense tracts of land into scores of acre and half-acre plots. You walk all the way along one of these roads, then come around a bend and realise the road disappears straight and true into the distance. A photograph doesn’t do it justice, but here is one. I had walked over a km along this one already when I looked up and saw this!

not quite so inviting when you're on foot

It is hard to describe Vic Hyslop’s Shark Show at Urangan. Not that he has any trouble describing it – “THE BEST AND MOST EDUCATIONAL SHARK SHOW IN THE WORLD!” emblazoned in big letters across the entrance.

A fascinating display. According to Vic, who has caught some pretty big sharks over the years, some of which have been on display in a dirty great feezer onsite since 1983, there is a conspiracy of silence amongst ‘vested interests’ about just how many people are being taken each year by sharks. A lot more than we are being told about, he claims.

The Best Shark Show in the World?

I guess when you sink your own money into a show like his, you are entitled to say what you like.  But paying patrons are also entitled to disagree with you.  A couple of blokes with American accents were having a heated argument with the girl at the counter when I arrived. They weren’t disputing the entrance fee; something about shark behaviour, I think. Well, a bit of controvery is always good for business I suppose. There can be no denying Hyslop’s experience, sincerity and passion, but Great White sharks ‘the spawn of hell’???

Walking back to my apartment, I encountered and old guy fishing off one of the piers who did not want to be photographed, but he said I could take a picture of his home-made rig. It is wonderful – room for 5 rods, eski, tackle boxes and, of course, a massive daily catch, if he is to be believed. He and I leaned on the rail for a while, watched the dolphins hunting mullet and shared fish stories (yes, years ago I my old man and I did a bit of fishing in the Bay too). Made me smile.

a serious rig

Oh, and my waiter for tonight (at Coast bar and bistro, where they serve a delicious whiting – what else in Hervey Bay!) was Corsican. Speaks 5 languages. Told me all about his ‘freedom-fighting’ heritage. Married a girl from Darwin.


~ by Garry on December 6, 2011.

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