Shark victim back in water one year on

WHITSUNDAYS shark attack victim Justine Barwick has described her first swim in the ocean after her ordeal.

The 47-year-old woman from Tasmania has spoken out on the eve of her near fatal attack in Cid Harbour.

Despite suffering "lifelong disabilities" from the attack Mrs Barwick said returning to the ocean was part of her recovery.

Justine Barwick raising money for CQ Rescue a year on from her shark attack.
Justine Barwick raising money for CQ Rescue a year on from her shark attack.

"I have been back in the ocean while on a recent family cruise however I took the precaution of wearing a Shark Shield," she said.

"I found the experience of being back in the sea to be an exhilarating experience for both mind and body, a weight had been lifted and I felt I had reached a next level in my recovery.

"While I am not worried about being back in the water, the nature of my injuries means that I am not 100 per cent steady on my feet and that can present challenges in a yacht.".

Mrs Barwick was on a family holiday in the Whitsundays when she was attacked by a shark in Cid Harbour on September 19 last year.

Unbelievably another shark attack occurred in the same harbour the next day, this one involving Melbourne schoolgirl Hannah Papps, 12, who lost a leg in the encounter.

 

Hannah Papps. Picture: Instagram
Hannah Papps. Picture: Instagram

 

A third and fatal attack occurred there in November claiming the life of Melbourne urologist Daniel Christidis, 33.

Reflecting on her near deadly encounter Mrs Barwick said it was not her place to comment on shark controls.

"At the end of the day I was a tourist who suffered a misadventure and I feel I has no place to contribute to the discussion about how Queensland should or should not deal with sharks in its territorial waters," she said.

However Mrs Barwick was looking forward to returning to the Whitsundays soon to meet with Dr John Hadok and others involved in her successful rescue.

"I could not have achieved what I have in my recovery without the support, love and professionalism shown to me by everyone I have encountered in this journey," she said.

"Sometimes life decides to try and break us and we can either get broken or get better, I chose to get better! I'll never be as good as I was but I think I am doing pretty well to make a new me."

Exactly five months after her shark attack, she she returned to her old job part time and now 12 months later has returned to full duties.

Yesterday Family Based Care held a fundraising celebration of the anniversary where money was raised for RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter Service.

Daniel Christidis
Daniel Christidis