THE FIRST FREE DIVERS

July 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

Big Seal Rock - about 1961 from a 16mm film frame © Ron Taylor

Big Seal Rock – about 1961 from a 16mm film frame © Ron Taylor

KINGFISH

December 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Large Kingfish were once common along the NSW coast.

Large Kingfish were once common along the NSW coast.

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Small Yellowtail kingfish swimming free

Small Yellowtail kingfish swimming free

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Valerie holds large Yellowtail kingfish

Valerie holds large Yellowtail kingfish

 Rolleimarin underwater camera was  top of the range product in 1960s

Rolleimarin underwater camera was top of the range product in 1960s

More an open pen than a trap as fish were free to leave - except they preferred to swim into the flowing current and the pen opening faced the opposite direction.

More an open pen than a trap as fish were free to leave – except they preferred to swim into the flowing current and the pen opening faced the opposite direction.

Too successful - when the idea and design leaked out, too many traps for too few fish decimated the entire population of Yellowtail kingfish. Meanwhile sushi chefs began using the fish for sashimi (raw fish) dishes.

Too successful – when the idea and design leaked out, too many traps for too few fish decimated the entire population of Yellowtail kingfish. Meanwhile sushi chefs began using the fish for sashimi (raw fish) dishes.

 30 kg Yellowtail kingfish, Sugarloaf Point, (1965)

30 kg Yellowtail kingfish, Sugarloaf Point, (1965)

Yellowtail kingfish speared at Big Seal Rock in January 1964 and photographed under the lighthouse in calm water.  Bob Grounds.  Fish this size (50 to 60 pounds) were common in that era.http://fathomag.blogspot.com.au  (Issue #4)

Yellowtail kingfish speared at Big Seal Rock in January 1964 and photographed under the lighthouse in calm water. Bob Grounds. Fish this size (50 to 60 pounds) were common in that era.http://fathomag.blogspot.com.au (Issue #4)

Yellowtail kingfish at Sugarloaf Point Rocks in December 1964.  Bruce Farley pictured. Feature story promoted the spearing of pelagic fish in preference to reef species.  http://fathomag.blogspot.com.au  (Issue #4)

Yellowtail kingfish at Sugarloaf Point Rocks in December 1964. Bruce Farley pictured. Feature story promoted the spearing of pelagic fish in preference to reef species. http://fathomag.blogspot.com.au (Issue #4)

 

MEMORABLE PICTURES

November 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Aged about 34, outside theatre. (My documentary film in Newcastle, NSW).

Me in 1976  (My traveling documentary film was then at Newcastle, NSW).

Title SR

DENIS KEMP – SCUBA DIVE BOAT (1988)

June 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

© jhh

© jhh

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sealsnsw.wordpress.com 

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1- Seal Rocks _20140611_00691- Seal Rocks _20140611_0041   Seal Rocks old days15

Afternoon shadow on the eastern side of the rock.

Afternoon shadow on the eastern side of the rock.

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.

Denis Kemp found these big 'spiders' on condition they be set free after photography.

Denis Kemp found these big ‘spiders’ on condition they be set free after photography.

Action divers

May 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Grey nurse at Big Seal Rock - eastern side.

Grey nurse at Big Seal Rock – eastern side.

SWIMMING WITH SHARKS

December 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Published in "Sea Frontiers" (Florida) years ago as a double page.

Published in “Sea Frontiers” (Florida) years ago as a double page.

Ilford B&W film that could be processed with color film.  Test shots, late afternoon light plus flash.

Ilford B&W film that could be processed with color film. Test shots, late afternoon light plus flash.

Big Seal Rock.

Big Seal Rock.

 

 

 

An original Shark Girl in 1988

Shark Girl in 1988

© jh harding

© jh harding

Dynamic Duo

Dynamic Duo

Some people make the mistake Grey Nurse sharks won't bite.  They can be quite active very early in the morning.

Some people make the mistake Grey Nurse sharks won’t bite. They can be quite active very early in the morning.

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At 'big seal rock' - (further south is 'little seal rock').

At ‘big seal rock’ – (further south is ‘little seal rock’).

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Australian Spearfishing Champion ( December 1966)  Peter Kemp met a large white pointer shark off the fisherman’s beach rocks at Seal Rocks.   Spearing alone off the beach in the 1960s, Peter met the big shark in relatively shallow water about four meters in depth.  There was no visual threat displayed – just a heart-thumping sudden jolt of adrenalin.  Today’s small video camera’s are capturing such moments nicely.  This example recently recorded off South Africa.

 

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Still shot from the video

Still shot from the video

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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