50 years of diving pictures by an Australian expert
Divers, John M Harding (senior) and Roy Bisson (on right)
This was the longest voyage undertaken by the famous charter boat in 1971. Newly launched the boat was 79′ in length and had accommodation for 16 divers (later reduced to 12), plus a crew of four.
The lure for such a voyage was shell collecting, a search for the rare volute thatcheri. Half the charter cost was paid by shell collectors. I was sponsored by a tabloid newspaper to write and photograph five stories that could be serialized over one week.
Text written especially for divers would be published in Fathom No.6 issue. Art director and diver, Roy Bisson being on the voyage.
From San Francisco the late Dewey Bergman (Sea and Sea Travel) was scouting on this voyage for what would become regular parties of American divers and underwater cameramen. The world was about to discover diving Australian style. The future voyages would not involve so much traveling time.
Marion Reef was the new inshore destination, still in The Coral Sea and today almost unvisited due to fuel cost considerations.
The Chesterfield Reef trip was our most memorable. Near perfect weather and a good crew of professional divers. For further information, including names of shipwrecks at Chesterfield Reef, see Wikipedia.org
Roy Bisson swim fins (flippers) were filmed simultaneously by my movie camera and another by Richard Ibara. This was Chesterfield Reef at it’s best. Grey Reef sharks were territorial with these displays as they probably had not encountered divers before.
Diving on the outside on an atoll has a few positives. Very clear and warm water, an ocean floor like the side of a conical volcano.
Charles Darwin first stated that he believed an atoll was a submerged volcano slowly sinking with growing corals keeping pace with the sinking. What would then happen if the corals ceased growing, as per \\global warming\\ and other issues such as \\rising sea levels\\?
The islands might begin to wash away. The people would need new homes provided elsewhere. All much the same as it once was when the coral eating starfish (\\Acanthaster planci\\) were first noticed on coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean and then elsewhere.
A former Australian spearfishing champion (with John Black). Both represented Australia at the CMAS organized world championships – the pinnacle achievement for any free diver.