Archive for category Hero of the Sea
Lower picture: A very old, large starfish on a bommie outside Fitzroy Lagoon (Capricorn and Bunker Group)
**Beaver Cay, on or about 1983**
Captain Perry Harvey had a battle with marine park authorities over obtaining their permission (believe it or not) to remove coral destroying starfish from a vast patch of coral reef at Beaver Cay.
The reef was visited daily by his charter boat Friendship.
To sit by and watch the valuable coral reef (for tourism) being killed was ‘not on”.
Thousands of starfish were removed, before permission was finally granted.
The reef was saved, but only just.
Captain Perry Harvey was regularly interviewed in marine documentaries. The late Robert Raymond did extensive documentary film reporting and wrote a book on the subject.
Eventually budgets for starfish eradication by divers were granted.
Is the problem under control today? Global warming is the new buzz word.
In 1963 filming was mostly by freediving
There were a couple of reasons for only free diving. Scuba was so new there were no convenient filling stations. Plenty of action existed in water less than fifteen meters deep anyway, and with available light and 25 ASA movie film – the shallow water was where most color was.
In some respects we had it easy with lots more to see and film. In other respects it was more difficult.
Camera’s were mechanical and primitive. It took an expert just to get the correct exposures. These needed to be spot-on especially with Kodachrome reversal film.
For the above pictures Ron Taylor was filming a very large turtle feeding using a 16mm Bolex and a 10mm Switar lens. This was 1963 when we first met.
I used a 35mm Calypso-phot still camera and 50 ASA Agfa film – which has since turned magenta with age, whereas Kodachrome retains original colors well.
We were free diving at Man and Wife Rocks located between North Keppel and Great Keppel Islands and virtually on the Tropic of Capricorn.
Ron’s movie camera held 2 minutes 44 seconds of film. It was hand-wound which gave about 16 seconds of filming before rewinding was necessary.
The results were superb and probably better than many expensive video cameras today – but the action was short. Just seconds per subject.
GREAT KEPPLE ISLAND TODAY
The Great Kepple Island Resort has been ‘moth-balled’, shut down and locked-up some two years ago.
The region has plenty of large sharks and venomous sea snakes if you are interested. Much of the surrounding coral is said to be now dead. Perhaps a freshwater flood being responsible?
It’s amazing how things change. During the early 1970′s nearby Yeppoon and the charter boat Coralita was the departure point for voyages to The Coral Sea.
Aboard were the then leading American film making divers – who helped put Australia on the international dive agenda which we pioneered.
Fathom magazine helped attract their initial attention with a very expensive looking production which illustrated that something was happening in Australia.
Scuba diving today has changed and is under strong competition from more adventurous do-once, sports.
The old villain, spear fishing is now seen as the best opportunity for high adventure water thrills once more.
The modern emphasis is on open ocean spearing, away from scuba diving shallow reefs out in the blue water with tuna and marlin the new target.
One thing is for certain, free diving is excellent for your lungs – something every diver learns to appreciate eventually.
The younger and the taller your body is, the bigger will be your VC (vital capacity of your lungs).
Therefore an eighteen year-old who is six feet tall should easily reach 33 meters or more on a single breath – with expert guidance and a lot of training.
Don McAlpine was also an underwater cameraman. Don has filmed several big budget Hollywood movies. We attended a lecture he gave at Film Australia. I ‘d worked with Don on the Great Barrier Reef off Heron Island in 1969 and had not seen him since in all those years.
It was the first black marlin caught at Cairns by Peter Bristow and his crew. Gordon Hallam alongside Peter. Both were beach fishermen at Point Lookout, Queensland beforehand.
After six-solid months of boat building Pete’s \\Avalon\\ was launched and so began his remarkable life on the sea. Japanese advertising agents named him \\The Old Man of the Sea\\ for a whiskey commercial.
We’ve touched on these subjects before. Briefly there were three young game-fishing skippers that went to Cairns and started an industry that became the talk of the world (of big game fishing).
The spin-off for Australia was it put Cairns, then a very sleepy fishing port, on the international tourist map.Large hotels eventually followed and hoards of tourists seeking access to the Great Barrier Reef.
Exact figures on how the catch rates went over the years is another story. During the 1970′s many one thousand pound (or larger) fish were caught and later, many released with tags.
Peter later moved to Pohnape (Fed States Micronesia) then on to the Portuguese island, Madeira, off the west African coast, where he has found a fisherman’s paradise, and a lifestyle most dream of.
**Peter Bristow’s deckhands gaffed these Tiger sharks**
**The goldfish is named David Hicks**
**The mask and snorkel combo, (1950′s) not too popular**
Many a winter’s night has been had at the **Terry Morrison** residence sipping a vintage Australian ‘grape juice’ and listening to tales of the sea with classical music playing somewhere nearby.
Terry did a stint as a radio announcer on a classic music station in Brisbane and by day ran his \\University of Diving\\ on the southern Gold Coast at Tweed Heads, New South Wales.
Over the years former students had called in while I happened to be visiting, often just to thank for his former diving advice or even to repay an old debt.
One memorable example was a young guy who had landed a job aboard an overseas charter boat where various high profile VIPs had been guests. Dual talents on this ship were essential as long international trips were made. The skipper doubled as the first aid doctor etc.
Terry’s friend was hired as dive instructor and outboard motor mechanic as smaller boats were aboard the mother ship.
An example that being just a “dive instructor” is just not a sufficient talent anymore unless you look like Jennifer Hawkins (the former Miss Universe).
Instructors should therefore do better if multi-skilled.
The blog is bound to be an insight into scuba teaching we are not easily likely to have seen published.
Click to preview: http:www.xanga.com/frogterrymorrison
Captain Ron Isbell (centre), Jaws author Peter Benchley (right), Cameraman, Stan Waterman (left) in Australia 1975
For **Ron Taylor** (pictured here in South Australia’s fresh water springs) almost all his early diving and underwater photography was made free diving.
Scuba tank fills were not readily available and the sea was one giant aquarium in shallow waters. Especially distant locations like the Solitary Islands off Coffs Harbour and Wooli where a boat was required to get there.
Spear fishing competitions were taking their toll around the city – eliminating small reef fish. This wasn’t happening in country area’s.
Ron’s spear fishing skill was honed aboard \\Riversong\\ on Queensland’s remote Swain Reefs and elsewhere thanks to **Capt Wally Muller**, one of the few professional skippers prepared to take the risk of a diver aboard his boat – such was the perceived and potential risk of shark attack in the 1960′s.
We three rented a cabin where, at high tide, the sea water was under the floor. That cabin and many others have since disappeared as the western coast of this big sandy island slowly washes away.
The Australian mainland is seen in the distance, across Moreton Bay. To the south out of sight is **The Gold Coast** – in the opposite direction is Queensland’s capital city, **Brisbane.**
Two years ago bull shark(s) attacked and killed a swimmer just 50 meters from where Mike is standing.
Our shark diving was around the corner and offshore at a small rocky island 3km from the holiday village of** Point Lookout.**
Today fishing pressure has reduced the chance of easily sighting any shark (other than the seasonal and migratory **Grey Nurse**).
Occasional large tiger sharks are a possibility, attracted by lots of stingrays and a few manta rays – both natural food.
**Henri Bource** on crutches due to a missing lower leg (eaten by a Great White shark) with Sydney newspaper journalist **Mike Perry** at North Stradbroke Island to dive and film sharks.
Sequences were later featured in \\Savage Shadows\\, the Bource 16mm film released as a 35mm feature.
One of the fish in the Coke fridge bag is a **coral trout** – a species rarely seen today so far south of the Great Barrier Reef.
Henri used self-hypnosis to convince himself he was not handicapped.
This attitude even rubbed off on his friends who thought him \\a bit-of-a-cheat\\ when he used the disabled persons parking space outside his South Melbourne dive company office!
Whaler shark, Point Lookout, Queensland(1966)
02/11/2008: WHITE POINTER SHARK ….. First Underwater Pictures The first photo frame of the following sequence These are the first underwater pictures of a white pointer shark (also…
11/23/2007: THE HENRI BOURCE STORY …… in pictures The Shark Victim arrives at Point Lookout, Queensland…
11/23/2007: HENRI BOURCE …… Made gallant return to the sea Shovel nose ray at The Gorge , Point Lookout, Qld…
11/22/2007: HENRI BOURCE AT WORK ………. chamber service (1997) Henri ran a medical re-compression chamber service in Melbourne, treating patients following spider bites, gangrene, lung problems and slow healing…
11/22/2007: HENRI BOURCE (R.I.P.)………. Shark ate his leg Rock star; Celebrity diver, Film Producer etc…
11/21/2007: BOTH BITTEN BY WHITE POINTER SHARKS Raymond Short meets Henri Bource. Ray was a teenager when bitten by a sick female White Pointer at Coledale, south…
11/21/2007: DIVER HAD LEG BITTEN OFF …. then makes shark documentary Henri Bource (1966) at Point Lookout, Qld. Henri Bource traveled to North Stradbroke Island, Queensland where he optimistically hoped to…
11/21/2007: MARINELAND ……. Visiting Sydney’s first big fish tank Curator, Geoff Goadby shows a large set of shark jaws A Sydney teen model and JH get a personal intro…
06/22/2006: SHARK BITE ‘CLUB’…….Henri Bource; Raymond Short Henri Bource became a documentary film maker in order to tell his story of surviving an encounter with the jaws…
12/29/2005: IRVIN ROCKMAN & HENRI BOURCE……. Irvin Rockman CBE (famed underwater photographer) and his friend, celebrity shark bite victim and musician Henri Bource, both of Victoria…
11/23/2005: HENRI BOURCE shark ‘victim’ turned film maker. Henri made a feature length documentary titled Savage Shadows around the theme of a white pointer shark biting off his…
07/26/2005: WHITE POINTER SHARK FILE White Pointer sharks are also called Great White sharks. They are not white – more a dirty grey color. The…
03/07/2005: TWO DIVERS WHO SURVIVED SERIOUS SHARK BITES Rodney Fox (left) was lucky the white pointer didn’t bite any harder than it did, Henri Bource lost his lower…
03/05/2005: Vintage: Marine-Photography …….. same Shovel Nose (cont.) A picture is worth many words…… This collectors print signed illustrates the early careers of those shown, Rodney Fox, Henri…
12/19/2004: SAVAGE SHADOWS …….A shark film by the late HENRI BOURCE A shark victim turns film maker with a 16mm Bolex camera and makes a feature film released in cinemas. “The…
07/02/2004: JH HISTORY “fathom” magazine shark cover In the 1960′s spear fishermen had at last a defense against the sharks (they were attracting by spearing fish). It was…
Large shark chews on an inflatable boat
TODAY TONIGHT interviewed Ben Cropp and I for their version of events which began with “a pack of sharks attacked” (corrected at the end).
The filming team escaped with a ruined boat and some still pictures, but no injuries.
We were: 1. following a shark 2. in a red boat 3. with dog aboard. Three dont’s if you wish to avoid a shark turning nasty on you – eventually.
The incident raises a serious doubt as to the effectiveness of inflatable lifeboats. OK in the short term, but dangerous in a case of a long delay in rescue.
Avoid red also, a proven color which attracts sharks faster than other colors, we believe.
All lifeboats would therefore be advised to carry a hand spear and a power head for protection. Of course this message will fall on deaf ears. We feel some pity for the yachtsmen and women who will vanish each few seasons, like clockwork, into The Coral Sea somewhere between Australia and New Caledonia. Beyond New Cal it doesn’t make the news in Australia.
Close to a coral reef and their main worry will be grey reef whalers. Tiger sharks may watch a lifeboat for hours before doing anything. Eventually they will do something. Hope this isn’t in the dark.
This is a true warning.
**Fiction: Satire from fathomOZ.com**
A recent attack by a starving shark on an inflatable dinghy was a grim reminder they enjoy the roughage offered by rubber. Some called this a CRAZY SHARK but ‘it knew’ that roughage is necessary in every diet. (ha ha)
Modern observers have recorded this species to be sluggish at times. Every creature is docile when it has a full mouth. Getting to have that full mouth can involve a very different situation.
When feeding upon large meals the shark is so focused upon not damaging it’s teeth it can forget where it is and will therefore tolerate others holding onto it’s body, patting it’s head and so on. This does not mean the shark would not eat them if they were the only food in the sea, it simply means it is thinking about what to swallow next.
We can be thankful sport fishermen, long-line fishing boats and shark-fining enterprises have greatly reduced their numbers as it is one of the most dreadful sea creatures on the planet.
Feeding mostly by twilight the tiger shark has been blamed for the disappearance of many divers and swimmers who have possibly drowned during the day, but not always. This shark has a very wide mouth capable of making a complete meal of a swimmer with a few bites.
Natural food are stingrays found sleeping on the sandy floor of tropical reef lagoons.
Captured tiger sharks often have many broken-off stingray spines embedded within their mouth which has caused the shark incredible and maddening pain.
The maddened shark will attack anything and everything that swims in a vain attempt to eliminate pain by creating additional pain; (in much the same way we scratch and itch to prevent the itch spot itching).
With tiger sharks that ‘itch’ is a mouthful of agonizing and venomous barbs causing the worst pain known. Yet overlooked by Quentin Tarantino movies to date, but was considered during the writing of Reservoir Dogs as a substitute to the ear-cutting scene.
For the shark in pain, their temporary relief comes only through killing everything in sight. They will charge through schools of marine life snapping wildly and thereby increasing the already high level of heavy metal poisoning in their brain even further.
(The mercury in swordfish and marlin would have already sent them slightly mad).
The only true defense against a tiger shark charging a diver with mouth open wide is: the TS defense stick .
With the mouth open wide the diver inserts the rod into the shark’s mouth thereby preventing it’s closure.
This will kill the shark in time and it can never close it’s mouth or feed again. Other sharks see what has happened so the procedure will only require repeating a few times before these sharks get the message at any dive site on the Great Barrier Reef and avoid divers completely.
Footnote: This tongue-in-cheek report was an attempt at underwater humor and should not be confused with the real thing. A true report on the shark-dinghy episode exists in our ARCHIVES.
A hard hat pearl diver of the past, surfacing with suspected \\bends\\ would be re compressed in this steel chamber. The lid had been removed for safety. In the background is an air compressor that would have been hand-cranked by a couple of workers – for many hours of a working day.
Nineteen years after he took us to Saumarez Reef, now the owner of one of the world’s “best by reputation” dive boats TSMV \\Coralita\\.
Wally collected sea shells as a hobby, rare and valuable ones found only at certain reefs in The Coral Sea.
Shells are nocturnal feeders. With his failing eyesight, a bright underwater movie light did the trick. The \\voluta perplicata\\ was common out there. A single shell might be worth a few hundred dollars to a collector.
Another volute \\(thatcheri)\\ from Chesterfield Reef (French Coral Sea territory) was equally valuable.
Live shells were collected. The dead shell loses luster.
Night diving in coral lagoons is not without risk of meeting a tiger shark, although more tigers seem to be on the Great Barrier Reef than The Coral Sea, perhaps due to long line fishing for marlin and tuna with sharks being the by-catch.
The last information I had was that night diving off Cairns on dive boats has ceased due to tiger sharks becoming too friendly.
**The famous bell salvaged by Wally Gibbins**
The bell found it’s way to the Maritime Museum of Townsville 42-68 Palmer Street South Townsville 4810 in North Queensland where they spell Wal’s name as GIBBONS (\\sic\\), which is a common error.