Monday, July 21, 1997, Transkei Coast, South Africa:
Mark Penches was six months into the trip of a lifetime, having quit his job for an epic round of globe-hopping and adventure travel. Already the 25-year-old Sydney resident had surfed in Bali, Portugal, and Greece; hiked in Nepal; toured North Africa; and visited relatives in Scotland before hooking up with two fellow surfers at Breezy Point, a renowned beach on the rugged Eastern Cape, near Umtata. They spent the morning surfing, took a lunch break, and then the others paused to wax their boards. But Penches headed right back out. After paddling a couple of hundred yards, he had started to ride a wave back in when his board suddenly flipped out from under him and he disappeared in the surf. "Before Terry or I could get back out there," said Clyde Crawford, an Australian friend, "we heard these screams. We heard a woman shouting, 'Shark! Shark!' There was nothing we could do." Experts later guessed that the culprit was either a great white, a tiger, or a Zambezi (also known as a bull shark). Twenty minutes later, one of Penches's arms floated ashore. Later still, the remains of a leg washed up farther down the beach, reportedly still attached to the surfboard's leash.