DIVE TOURISM – SEAL ROCKS

December 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Big Seal Rock has become a sanctuary for grey nurse shark dives by dive shops. Exaggerated reports of 'less than 500 sharks left in Australia" helped push through tough regulations quickly. Media was easily tricked. Few people questioned how shark numbers could be obtained accurately without vested interests  (dive shops) participation.

Big Seal Rock has become a sanctuary for grey nurse shark dives by dive shops. Exaggerated reports of ‘less than 500 sharks left in Australia’ helped push through tough regulations quickly, the skindivers association estimated the real population may be as many as 5000 grey nurse when all the deeper water known locations were counted. Media was easily tricked.  Few questioned how any migratory shark numbers could be accurate.   Ultimately the regulations may prove to be a sound plan.

Denis Kemp was a very experienced diver who got into a dive shop business - instead of the other way around.

Denis Kemp was a very experienced diver who got into a dive shop business – instead of ‘the other way around’. (i.e. an inexperienced diver buying into a dive shop).

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SS Satara was launched in 1901 - wrecked after she struck Little Seal Rock

SS Satara was launched in 1901 – wrecked after she struck Little Seal Rock.

SS Satara in 34+ meters of depth was discovered by fishermen - kept secret for many years.

SS Satara in 34+ meters of depth was discovered by fishermen – kept secret for many years.

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Anchored above the grey nurse, probably at Little Seal Rock.

Anchored above the grey nurse, probably at Little Seal Rock.

 

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Sugarloaf Point in the distance as viewed from Big Seal Rock.

Sugarloaf Point in the distance as viewed from Big Seal Rock.

LITTLE SEAL ROCK has  a population of grey nurse sharks also but a calm anchorage is more difficult to have here. One advantage of a swim here is the sharks will; not be as familiar with divers, which may or may not be a good thing.LITTLE SEAL ROCK has a population of grey nurse sharks also but a calm anchorage is difficult. One advantage of a dive here is the sharks will not be as familiar with divers, which may or may not be a good thing. Jocelyn near the surface is about to make her decent into the group - eastern side of Big Seal Rock.Jocelyn near the surface is about to make her decent into the group – eastern side of Big Seal Rock.

Small fish are Yellowtail which are prey for Bonito. Grey  nurse sharks feed on Bonito.

Small fish are Yellowtail which are prey for Bonito. Grey nurse sharks feed on Bonito.

Australian fur seals or sea lions once inhabited the rock. Slowly they went into decline, as did the grey nurse sharks. Some believe it was linked to a land drought that depleted natural food for both species.  The sharks made a rapid return in 1986 -  the seals are returning also.

Australian fur seals or sea lions once inhabited the rock. Slowly they went into decline, as did the grey nurse sharks. Some believe it was linked to a land drought that depleted natural food for both species. The sharks made a rapid return in 1986 – the seals are returning also.

The guy who wrote 'Jaws" and later sold the  book rights for a movie (for 10% of the film's 'profits') visited Seal Rocks to film "The Vanishing Gray Nurse Shark'. Hopefully the location got a mention in the finished TV production for USA.

The guy who wrote ‘Jaws” and later sold the book rights for a movie (for 10% of the film’s ‘profits’) visited Seal Rocks to film “The Vanishing Gray Nurse Shark’. Hopefully the location got a mention in the finished TV production for USA.

Jocelyn Edwards having a swim at Big Seal Rock. Depth about 20 meters - in 1986 when the sharks began returning after a decade-long drought on land.Jocelyn Edwards having a swim at Big Seal Rock. Depth about 20 meters – in 1986 when the sharks began returning after a decade-long drought on land effect natural marine food supply. The parents were spooked and escaped into the sea when Ron Taylor and I climbed ashore in our wet suits.  We crawled over the sharp rocks then stood up to get this shot of the pups - startled to see the first human visitors on the rock.  They must have scurried away as only a single picture exists.The parents were spooked and escaped into the sea when Ron Taylor and I climbed ashore in our wet suits. We crawled over the sharp rocks then stood up to get this shot of the pups – startled to see the first human visitors on the rock. They must have scurried away as only a single picture exists.

Inquisitive pair.

Inquisitive pair.

youngsters GREY NURSE SHARKS in MAGAZINES (Sea Frontiers etc) <Click 27 August 2013  Re Grey Nurse sharks. “I was up at Crowdy Head for a couple of days last week and was talking to the old fisherman next door. He told me they had a couple of good mullet hauls off the beach and as part of this netted four small grey nurse about 4-5 feet long. There is a very detailed Fisheries procedure for handling these protected species. the short version is they can bring them into shallow water but are not supposed to beach them (how you do this in a net full of mullet I   don’t know). Anyway the fishermen were in the net trying to steer them out when one of the smarter fishermen tried to grab one by the tail and throw it out of the net. The nurse mauled him  and he had to be evacuated by chopper to john hunter hospital in Newcastle. He had a couple of teeth removed . A memento I guess.    They get a lot of small grey nurse running with the mullet”.  (Bob Grounds).

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