DAVE Quinlivan felt no fear as he hovered in the Robinson 44 helicopter directly above the spot where a shark knocked him off his surf ski and bit his foot in September last year.
The helicopter, along with two Marine Rescue NSW vessels, were at the recent Head2Head ocean swim at Black Head to provide safety for swimmers and help promote the beach after Mr Quinlivan’s attack. As he watched swimmers in the 1500m swim around the location he was attacked, marked by the 1.5km can, he realised how unlucky it was to become the victim of a shark attack.
“The conditions were so docile up there, you couldn’t imagine someone could get attacked,” Mr Quinlivan said.
From the helicopter he could see how clear the water was and admire the beautiful day, and not a shark in sight.
“I don’t think any self respecting shark would have come anywhere near us,” he joked
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Black Head Surf Life Saving Club director Scott Crawford said the helicopter, pilot’s skills and time were donated to the club for the race.
“It was a very generous donation, we are very grateful for it,” Mr Crawford said.
“We’ve set the bench mark for other events to follow. Whether we can do it again is another thing.”
Mr Crawford said water safety is paramount for the Black Head Surf Life Saving Club.
He said although they were a small club they were able to provide jet skis, inflatable rescue boats and surf skis. And to be able to provide the helicopter and the two Marine Rescue vessels was a big bonus.
“The comments that we got were very positive, it was really good for the club,” Mr Crawford said.
About 70 of the club’s 300 members were on hand to run the event and assist the more than 100 competitors who swam on the day.
While Mr Quinlivan is still on crutches, he said he has ‘dipped his big toe in’ near the rocks at high tide and getting back into the ocean is still on his mind.
“The jury is out, I don’t know whether I will get back in the water or not,” Mr Quinlivan said.
“I might do the swims like the one last weekend - safety in numbers. I’ll definitely get back in the water, to what extent I don’t know.”