Wally Muller (pictured on the surface) was a former pro fishermen who took-up diving. Very unusual. Most fishermen were too scared of sharks to enter the water – not Wally.
During the Belgian Expedition I clicked this shot. No details of where it was, most probably in The Swains Reefs. Wally was a master navigator of this region in the era before reliable charts were available.
On 2nd thoughts I now wonder if those unusual mounds of coral were part of an old shipwreck since covered with live coral?
Further north at Yonge Reef, near Lizard Island, I photographed French author Bernard Gorsky using his Hassleblad and underwater case – the first Hassleblad housing seen in Australia. It was 1967.
This picture became a cover for the original Australian SKINDIVERS Magazine.
**Pictures: Aust. Skindivers Magazine**
Back in those days most divers were spear fishermen. The challenge everywhere was for big fish. The giant Queensland groper the obvious ultimate quest.
In all tropical waters these giants, elephants of the sea inhabited every tidal river and underwater cave. Scores were taken and often wasted.
Just 25% of the fish is recovered after filleting, 75% is wasted.
Mount Gambier silhouetting Valerie Taylor. Photo by John Harding
October 2006 will feature original text from Sea Diary (1963) interesting today as it details our first travels with friends in the era of early underwater photography when spear fishing was the main thing everyone did. This was to change a few years later as other opportunities emerged, travel and film making replaced the spearing of fish and sharks as a greater appreciation of the sea began.
This was one of our favorite expeditions. No complete 16mm film record remains today.
Back then we were traveling the coast and paying for petrol and food by selling lobsters we
Benard Gorsky, with Hassleblad camera photographs the prolific coral formations off Cooktown during the Belgian (Great) Barrier Reef expedition. Gorsky, a leading French skindiving article author, is the secretary to the million dollar, five month expedition, which includes Ron and Valerie Taylor, the only Australian film crew. Cover picture by John Harding.
John Harding captures this delightful interlude in the life of a penguin. Here we see Ron Taylor (World Champion spearman and a top-class underwater photographer) showing Valerie a friendly baby penguin that made friends with the divers on a recent visit to Montague Island on the south coast of New South Wales.
No wonder John Harding looks a bit grim. Before finally spearing this giant sea-snake after two unsuccessful shots, John had to fight for his life as the enraged reptile repeatedly attacked him. (Full story inside). Photo by Ron Taylor.