SPEAR FISHING CLUB COMPETITION 1970s

December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

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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).

WHALE SHARK – SUGARLOAF POINT 1967

December 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Valerie Taylor along the first and largest whale shark she has ever seen.

Valerie Taylor along the first and largest whale shark she has ever seen.

The Sun newspaper (Melbourne)

The Sun newspaper (Melbourne)

Everybodys Magazine (Ron Taylor pictures)

Everybodys Magazine (Ron Taylor pictures)

The Daily Mirror (Sydney)

The Daily Mirror (Sydney)

The Melbourne Sun newspaper (1967) with the Seal Rocks monster.

 

John Harding's picture of Valerie appeared in many capital city and overseas newspapers.

Valerie and the whale shark.

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We were on a job to film seals (sea lion) at the big rock.  My camera gear was a Nikonos with 28mm lens and a roll of black and white (36 exposures).  Ron had two rolls of 16mm film (200 feet in total) plus a Nikonos with 35mm lens and a roll of 20 exposures color film.

 

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We encountered the whale shark by chance.  It was in our path between Sugarloaf Point and our destinaton – and swimming slowly in a southerly direction.

The three of us slid overboard and let Ron’s 14 foot boat drift.  After swimming for maybe one hundred yards, we’d return to the boat, catch up with the whale shark and repeat the moves.

On the second dive I touched the whale shark’s tail.  Instantly it did a crash dive, swimming vertically  out of sight in to the depths. Minutes later it was back on the surface continuing the southerly journey toward Broughton Island.

By the third or fourth  swim we were almost out of film.  Ron had just enough left for a final scene with his movie camera.

I devised the plan where we’d get ahead of the whale shark then I would dive in first and hold onto the tail while Valerie would attempt to grab my ankles ten seconds later when the shark and I were nearer to her up ahead. It worked.

The color still has been lifted from 16mm.  It was a key sequence later in the opening titles of “Innerspace” a 13 episode TV series featuring The Taylor’s.

My black and white stills (mostly  exposed at f22,   1/125th for best depth of field) coincided with the last day, of a week-long shark series by Sydney’s leading evening tabloid  The Daily Mirror newspaper.

As well as the front page there were four inside pages of pictures and text and good credits and a nice payment negotiated.

Since then whale sharks have been seen and dived with everywhere,  probably helped by more people diving today than back in 1968. (John Harding December 2012)

Ron gets some shots with his Nikonos II, 35mm lens.

Ron gets some shots with his 16mm hand-wind Bolex in custom housing of his own design. One hundred feet of film lasts 2 minutes 44 seconds and is very expensive today. The same camera used to make several of his first documentaries.  Ron used Kodachrome for many years which has the advantage of not fading in the future.

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EASTERN ROCK LOBSTER (Formerly ‘crayfish’) AT SEAL ROCKS

December 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

A nest of giant rock lobster was found by Vic Ley and Ron Taylor in 1963 at Seal Rocks.  http://fathomag.blogspot.com.au

A nest of giant rock lobster was found by Vic Ley and Ron Taylor in 1963 at Seal Rocks. http://fathomag.blogspot.com.au

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A cover of "International Seafood" years ago.

A cover shot of “International Seafood” years ago.

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nice sized lobster(Above) ‘Eastern Rock lobster in natural habitat’, picture by JH Harding (Public domain – free use with credit given to source).

Lobster trap bait. Mullet are drying after being heavily salted. Originally these racks were on the road at Boat Beach.  The aroma obviously required a change of location after visitor numbers to the village began increasing the the late 1970sLobster trap bait. Blackfish (luderick) sun drying after being heavily salted. Originally these racks were on the road at Boat Beach. The aroma obviously required a change of location after visitor numbers to the village began increasing the the late 1970s

 Luderick are often netted in large quantities - which then devalues them at the fish market, so they become lobster biat when salted and dried.

Luderick are often netted in large quantities – which then devalues them at the fish market, so they become lobster biat when salted and dried.

Rock lobster of this size are not permitted to be taken because they are breeding stock.  It took decades for the fisheries department to figure out what professionals always knew was correct, but the theory had to be proven on paper.   Scientists have been reluctant to converse with fishermen in the past  but that shortcoming has improved with a better media.

lobsters at the rocks

Cooking the catch in the era before plastic tags were required on each lobster.Cooking the catch in the era before plastic tags were required on each lobster, pro fisherman Joesph Bloe cooks his catch in the era before tags were law to limit poaching of the catch. Eastern Rock Lobster is the variety common to New South Wales waters. My opinion is they are more tasty than Victorian or Queensland lobsters. The best and also the less in number being caught.

We knew them as ‘crayfish’ in the 1960s.

(Above ‘cooking lobsters’  picture is hereby now in the ‘free-use public domain’ world wide providing credit is given to the source).

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Large lobster cannot be sold or taken. Often these are kept as 'callers' (live prisioners) in the hope, belief, strategy they will attract smaller and legal sized companions into the same trap.  These lobsters were being kept until the next season, in deep water.  The plan failed when the marker buoy line broke and the entire trap and these contents was lost.

Large lobster cannot be sold or taken. Often these are kept as ‘callers’ (live prisoners)  in the hope, belief, strategy they will attract smaller and legal-sized companions into the same trap. These lobsters  (pictured under a boat offshore)were being kept until the next season,  with food and in deep water. The plan failed disastrously weeks later when the buoy line came adrift or was cut by a passing ship and the entire trap and these contents lost. (Details by Brian Davies RIP).

PHILIPPE COUSTEAU (1971)

December 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Philippe Cousteau was the second of three sons born to French oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau.  Philippe and wife Jan visited Seal Rocks with John Harding and Richard Ibara in 1971 when this interview was made for Fathom magazine.  http://fathomag.blogspot.com.au

Philippe Cousteau was the second of three sons born to French oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau. Philippe and wife Jan visited Seal Rocks with John Harding and Richard Ibara in 1971 when this interview was made for Fathom magazine. http://fathomag.blogspot.com.au

Philippe 1971

Philippe speaks with pro fisherman Dave Golby at Seal Rocks.  His interview later appeared in Skin Diver magazine (by request without mentioning the source).

Philippe speaks with pro fisherman Dave Golby at Seal Rocks. His interview later appeared in Skin Diver magazine (by request without mentioning the source).

Philippe at Watson's Bay - he wisely refused to dine at Doyles famous seafood restaurant on marine environmental issues.

Philippe at Watson’s Bay – he wisely refused to dine at Doyles famous seafood restaurant on marine environmental issues.

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Is that a strand of dental floss hanging from Philippe's mouth?

Is that a strand of dental floss hanging from Philippe’s mouth?

Footnote: Philippe was killed when the seaplane he was piloting crashed in Lisbon, Portugal, 1976.  He was the father of two children. In 1971 Fathom magazine received a letter saying Jan and Philippe would be in Australia for several days.  The magazine conducted this interview (in a coffee shop at King Cross near where Philippe and Jan were staying). When a dive was suggested, Seal Rocks was the first destination that came into consideration.  Rick Poole (Pro Dive Maroubra) loaned some brand new gear for Philippe, a 2nd car was rented and off we went.  The only accommodation at Seal Rocks was a caravan that could be rented.

Back in Sydney we entertained at Jose Botella’s home where quality food and wine could be expected. (Our house at Glebe was very basic and to make matters worse our pet dog had just been killed in a road accident).

The following year Jose Botella accepted an invitation to meet again with Philippe and Jan for lunch with Jacques-Yves Cousteau in Paris. An honour and a real treat.

The Australian newspaper selected Philippe's recipe for sea urchin, as a worthy story.  In Paris (Philippe said) sea urchin roe is very expensive.  The best variety are the brown urchins burt we had to do with the large black variety.  More pictures of better quality to be added later).

The Australian newspaper selected Philippe’s recipe for sea urchin, as a worthy story. In Paris (Philippe said) sea urchin roe is very expensive. The best variety are the brown urchins but we had to do with the large black variety. More pictures of better quality to be added later).

Philippe Cousteau  senior (1971, Seal Rocks)
Philippe Cousteau senior (1971, Seal Rocks)

 

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