50 years of diving pictures by an Australian expert
\\(top)\\ **John Michael** (1971) at Loop Island, Chesterfield Reef, French Pacific Islands Territory. \\(below)\\ **John Harold** (2004) at Portsea, Victoria. A portrait by I. Rockman.
**Cape Moreton lighthouse** – A view south
(Composite picture) – Flinders Reef \\(below)\\ a few K’s north of the Cape
As young guys we’d have a diving and spear fishing holiday at North Stradbroke Island whenever possible. It was the first place where local professional fishermen were actually friendly toward guys in wet suits.
We’d learned to live with the mild hate coming from everywhere else. Fishermen and divers were not a good mix years ago.
Things changed at the village of Point Lookout when we told the fishermen we’d just sighted a big school of Spanish Mackerel at Flinders Reef, about 50km EACH WAY and north of Cape Moreton.
In fact we made friends for life that day. Years later the fishermen (Bill Lawler, Les Nash and Ken Cashin, Peter Bristow) could remember exactly how many of the big fish they caught at Flinders, thanks to our accidental good advice.
From that day on, we were welcome visitors forever. Our diving gear could be left on the beach, in our boat overnight. We take cameras out and leave the rest. No thieves on the island. It did not stay that way forever.
Use GoogleEarth for a look at this part of Australia. (Flinders Reef does not always show).
We’d launch our small boats with single 40 horse power outboards and travel 50 km north to Cape Moreton and then Flinders Reef further north.
Flinders was, in those days, probably the best spot on the southern Queensland coast for constantly clear waters, big pelagic fish and a few potentially dangerous very large sharks. The magic ingredients. Coral on the north side of the reef, seaweed representing southern waters on the south. An unusual mix.
Early (1961) spear fishermen found heaps of large Black Cod. These did not last very long. Today a protected species as is the giant Queensland Groper.
Point Lookout (Boat launch beach): 27 25 35 46 S – 153 31 41 64 E
Flinders Reef (Approximate): 26 29 24 00 S – 153 29 24 00 E
OK for the short distances and relatively calm conditions around Sydney and the New South Wales coast.
**Our Len McLeod was Australian Jr. Spearfishing Champion**
First contact with ‘kitten’ lobsters happened one Saturday morning at \\Fairy Bower\\ near Manly Beach, Sydney.
In those days the water could often be highly polluted and bad smelling. Today it’s a different story with waste water pumped far out to sea. I’ve included the extra top picture to show the ocean walking path in the distance that runs from the eastern edge of Manly Beach around to Fairy Bower.
Anyone visiting Sydney should consider taking the ferry trip across Sydney Harbour to Manly.
Sunny weekends are always very busy. The ferry ride can be quite thrilling when there is a large ocean swell entering Sydney Harbour. As young kids we always went to Manly when the sea was rough.
Surfer riders (according to legendary surfer Warrick Smith) were known to jump overboard from the moving ferry with their boards and paddle to wave breaks in Middle Harbour. Quite a stunt and a huge risk in more ways than one. Not popular with the ferry captains no doubt.