Archive for category Video & Movie
During the 1970′s Cairns was put on the international map by big game fishermen. Before this the town was a sleepy fishing port and the only tourists were Australians who made the long trek north on a narrow sealed road we called The Crystal Highway (littered with broken car windscreens, one every 2 Km).
The story how black marlin were found as they spawned along the edge of the continental shelf is best told by the experts.
The changes to the town of Cairns between 1972 and 1982 were enormous. Free or very cheap vacant land given by the state government allowed international hotel’s and a resort at Port Douglas to be fast-tracked.
Today Cairns is the gateway to The Great Barrier Reef. Previously the major gateways had been further south.
In this collage are the boat skippers who went searching for big fish, Peter Bristow, Peter B Wright and Dennis ‘Brizakka’ Wallace.
A friendly crew welcomed Christine Danaher and I aboard at Cairns, North Queensland. The Alcyone had just arrived in Australia from the north.
A week previously the ship had been low on food and appreciated some fish offered at Osprey Reef by Coralita’s owner-skipper Albie Ziebell.
Marc Blessington showed me the lights the team used for filming underwater. This was still the era of film cameras which meant a great deal of electrical power was needed underwater. Each lamp was 250 watts. The configuration designed and built by the Cousteau team.
These were not lights readily available to professionals. In fact using this system required two divers just to manage the underwater cables. Today the same effect would be tiny and fixed to a video camera, no cables necessary – the evolution of cinematography.
Ever wondered what is contained under the space-age plastic back packs? A pair of tanks.
The store bought scooters were tricked-up with an extra ‘tank’ on either side. I presume this was cosmetic and not functional?
Silver wet suits as used by Cousteau divers? The suits require sunscreen to help them last longer.
The world of film making is always different to reality.
Meanwhile downbelow Clay Wilcox was doubling as chef.
The guys had a library of Cousteau-made films and invited us to select a title for viewing.
We chose to view their work at the tip of South America. Our Canadian friend Jack McKenney had helped with the filming for that expedition.
So the Cousteau Foundation was opening up.
For the previous twenty years of TV film making it was a French-only group. Here on Alcyone they had a pair of English-speakers. Marc from southern England and Clay from New York.
A pleasurable and memorable meeting. Chief cameraman Michele Deloire (pictured above right) gave some of his precious time. There would be enough adventure material in this active cameraman’s career to fill many hours of verbal entertainment. In France he has worked as a cameraman with movie stars Catherine Deneuve and Brigitte Bardot.
Swimming with a large saltwater crocodile in the Jardine River of North Queensland being one outstanding episode.
Or the killer whale eating a hammerhead shark at Osprey Reef? The killer whale had swam to Michele with the three meter shark in it’s mouth as if to say “look what I’ve got”. That scene was recorded on 35mm motion picture film.
Amazing. What has become of the boat in recent years is another story.
Grey nurse sharks were protected especially to give tourist divers something worthwhile to look at, and to shut-up a handful of environmentalists with underwater camera’s who were conning the media into thinking only 500 sharks existed.
How anyone could possibly count all the sharks at every reef on the east coast never occurred to the media, they just ran with the fairy story while the Fisheries responded with a protective ban.
The bottom line is, it was probably a good thing to have the species protected.
Suggestion for an aspiring PhD student: Investigate the link between past onshore droughts and ‘vanishing sharks’ to determine if there is a connection why this species was scarce in the years before 1986. Include power head spears in the equation, plus professional fishing catches processed through markets.
Christine Danaher approaches a small grey nurse shark resting under a reef ledge. Located north of Forster, New South Wales, the area has been called Taurus Reef by local dive charter boats. When the flash went off the shark bolted.
Inshore lighthouse on one of the Great Barrier Reef’s uninhabited islands, near Sir Charles Hardy islands.
Australian readers will be familiar with the name Ben Cropp, as will experienced divers overseas. You young guys will get to see more of Ben’s exploits here. A film maker with more than 100 TV specials to his credit, a recipient of the Order of Australia award and many others.
Aboard Ben’s high-speed live aboard private dive boat, I joined him for several expeditions north from his home base at Port Douglas. With a team of no more than five persons aboard Freedom III we ventured far beyond the reach of usual tourist dive groups.
Every young Australian should be shown the far north of Queensland. It’s all frontier country. The only visitors seem to be prawn trawler fleet related, yachtsmen and those associated with mining.
Initially I used film camera’s then switched to digital when better camera specifications and prices became available. Click on the category Ben Cropp Explorer during the coming weeks as we make more material available there from our archives.
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.
It was far from the end of the road for the V8 Ford in the background. We did another 200,000km before retiring the ‘old girl’.
Too much weight (projectors, film and diving gear) being carried eventually caused the damage here. Plus the 5km of rough dirt road that linked Seal Rocks to the holiday township of Forster on the mid north New South Wales coast.
The Ford did over 500,000 km around Australia. Since then a even greater ‘mileage’ in a Toyota 4Runner.
The \\Australian Seafari\\ film shows no longer occur – coinciding with a decline in scuba dive shop takings. I’d like to think there was some connection but as the decline is happening everywhere there are obviously other factors as to why scuba diving is no longer considered a must-do high adventure activity.
Scuba diving is not a ‘competitive sport’ and has never been one. It’s been something unique and better than a competitive recreation sport, yet only when sufficient time has been devoted to understanding all the aspects of what can be entailed.
In Taiwan there are two huge **ocean universities** which teach every known aspect of working with the sea.
In USA there is a \\university of surf\\ and also another for the hamburger industry.
Seems we are missing a good potential somewhere.
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.
“The sailfish shot was about 1980. The water was full of cornflakes after several days of strong NE. Its a shame. You can see it in the shot. That was the time I shot the u/w 16 mm on the sails feeding and jumping on hookup.
I sold it to Malcolm Florence Films for $10,000. He was making fishing films with a Government grant.
I hired a camera from B&S and the bloody thing flooded after two days shooting so I never got much.
They had an underwater cameraman for a whole year and got absolutely nothing, so I was in the right position to make a killing.
He (the late Malcolm Florence) put my stuff into a video called **\\The Boy and the Sailfish\\**. They didn’t give any film credits (for all the purchased material included) at all which ‘pissed me off’ some.
I got the cheque and thats more than a lot of other people got”.
(\\by\\ **Peter Bristow**, \\the former Cairns Queensland charter boat owner-skipper, now based at Madeira\\)
Nadine Werner: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=0g9Xf6_w1mM
Nadine Werner on TV: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=3xhMxteTn-I
Sabrina Asano http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=9HJE2Ge0ubQ
Features:**Nadine Werner** in first two listings, then Tokyo girl **Sabrina Asano** who does artistic movements UW and stunning blonde \\Mrs.Germany\\ **Elischeba Wilde.**
Note: The freediving wetsuit design worn by Nadine Werner.
**Barry Holmes** (right) was in town with \\Northern Safari\\ during the same week. It was this chance meeting that led to an introduction with Keith Adams the next year when the team arrived in Sydney.
I went to Mount Gambier directly from Cairns after seeing my diving – journalist friend **Hillary Hauser,** who was part of a photographic team documenting the underwater springs of that region.
Picaninnny Ponds etc as mentioned elsewhere in this blog.
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.
**Why an ‘s’ on Great Barrier Reef?**
Because the G B R is not a single unbroken reef. It’s 2 500 separate reef**s**.
We are using an out-of-date name courtesy of the discoverer **Captain James Cook** (Royal Navy).
Don’t hold your breath waiting for a correction of the name.
Adam Cropp. The shark was still potentially active (i.e. not dead)
All along the coast trawlers are hooking-up with things, including WW2 aircraft.
This example shows a lot of lost and expensive gear wrapped around the remains of a RAAF Hudson WW2 aircraft first dived on by **Dean Cropp** with his famous film making father Ben.
Aircraft wrecks are yet to be included in the strict legislation which protects historic shipwrecks.