Step 6 – ACTUAL Australian Killers are not so bad

As you may have noticed, last week’s post was slightly exaggerated (read completely made-up). Things aren’t nearly as grim as that, and like most dangers,  preparation and education are the most important components to survival – much as it is in the wild, wild west of southern Alberta.  I know this, because I am a survivalist.  (Yes, there will be a post on survivalism later on).  But let me back up a little:


So, to prepare for life in Australia – we’re learning some new skills.  Dan and I are taking a weekly swimming class through the City. Its like a Master’s swim, but easier. I’m having a pretty easy time of it – its a nice workout, but Dan has to work a quite a bit harder (his shortage of body fat helps him sink, while my non-shortage of body fat helps me float).

One time, my dear friend Lowri was describing the difference between her and her husband’s feeling toward swimming.  She said Keith is very focussed on perfect technique and trying not to drown, meanwhile she’s out there pretending to be a dolphin. That pretty much describes Dan and me. Because I’ve been swimming since I was in the womb, I feel very at home in water, and can swim pretty well.  Dan on the other hand is …improving his technique… He complained after our most recent class “How come all the interests we have require us to be so teachable?!?!”.

Also, we’re taking our Open Water Scuba Dive Certification at the end of this month.  We were in Mexico a few months and tried out scuba for the first time.  We saw eagle rays, reef sharks and oodles of other amazing sea-life. Both of us fell in love with scuba.  We’ll complete the theory over the course of a weekend, then when we go to the Bahamas in March, we’ll do our four dives to complete the certification process. Maybe this could be a career option… Dan and Mare’s Dive Shack.  Dive Down Under with Dan and Mare.  ‘neath the seas Dive Shop.  I could go on.  Under the Sea with Dan and Mare.

I’m also thinking of getting re-certified to teach swimming lessons, lifeguard, teach lifeguarding courses and whatnot.  I look back fondly on the years as a lifeguard at the Pincher Creek Swimming Pool.  Though I am a little scared of rip-tides.

We’re not sure what else we can do to prepare ourselves for life down under.  Fake and bake?

Only kidding. Those tanning machines cause cancer. Which leads me to my main point.  A lot of people have warned us to use sunscreen (which we will) because sun damage kills (which it can) and that skin cancer is the leading cause of death in Australia (followed by shark attacks, followed by spider bites).

However, in actual fact, melanoma doesn’t make an appearance on the list of things that kill Australians until number 16 for men, and doesn’t even make the top 20 list for women! Its behind the First World usuals: Coronary heart disease (1st) and diabetes (7th/8th for women and men respectively).

Since I’m on the topic of mythical Australian killing phenomena, (and in light of last week’s post) since 1791 (I guess that’s when they started counting death by shark), less 1000 people have been attacked by sharks.  Of those, only about a quarter have actually died due to their injuries.

By way of comparison, since 1996 in BC alone (a province, not a country/continent), there have been 192 deaths by avalanche.  That’s an average of 10.6 per year. Compared that to an average of 4.5 shark attacks per year.  The statistic drops down to less than 1 per year if you count deaths rather than attacks.

I’m going to leave the death by spider statistics alone for now, because my initial spider research led me to scary spider pictures and I’m feeling a bit creeped.

Perhaps sometime during the daytime, I’ll sit down in an empty room in the middle of the floor and do some research on this, in order to write the perfunctory blog post on spiders. And then maybe I won’t feel like something is crawling on my neck whilst I type.

Until next week. (**shivers uncomfortably**)

3 thoughts on “Step 6 – ACTUAL Australian Killers are not so bad”

  1. Ok…so *maybe* we will visit you in Australia…if you PROMISE you over-exaggerated those previous statistics.

    I’m still deathly afraid of snakes and spiders, though. So much so that Rob had to spend some time convincing me in Athens that there were no snakes in our hotel room.

    1. I promise I pulled each and every one of those stories out of the sky, or episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series.

      Unrelatedly, were there snakes in your hotel in Athens? Is Greece known for dangerous snakes?

  2. I would be interested in learning about the .6 of a person killed in the avalanche and the .5 killed by sharks…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *