Posts Tagged ben cropp
Walter A. Starck, Vic Ley, Ron Taylor, Phil Eather,
Richard Weir, Wally Gibbins, Malcolm McLeod, Gai Girdlestone, John Harding.
Springvale Cemetary (Melbourne, Victoria)
Jewish Memorial Garden 2
Wally Muller, Van Laman-Cropp, Ben Cropp, Kathy Troutt, Lynn Roberts, John Michael Harding Senior, Bob Grounds, Dean Cropp – (a future Legend), Ron Taylor, Trevor Collins (with marlin), Valerie May Taylor, Henri J. Bource.
RON IBLE (White Water Wanderers club, Sydney) 30 April 2013 R.I.P. mate
Ron would not like a whole heap of pretty words – “a real good mate” would sum him up. Ron’s guidance and advice plus friendship to me, as a young starting-out aged 18 diver, set a course I’m forever thankful to him for. Although the following name won’t ring bells, Bill Colbourne introduced us when we all worked at the Sydney Markets. Ron Ible was a tough truck driver – as they all were then. Tough physical work that produced a physique similar to the axe-men at wood-chopping events. When Bill retired he went to live in the fishing village near Ron and his family. Two guys who gave me good advice at a time when kids like I was take things for granted. I recently thanked Ron – but regret not being able to do so for Bill who passed away soon after retiring.
Ben Cropp is presently returning to Queensland aboard Freedom IV after almost a year in Western Australia. Here are some pictures of mine taken on our most recent filming in North Queensland.
Due to the remoteness of the filming trips it’s essential to ‘live of the sea’ with fish being a meal aboard every second day- except for me. I did not mind seafood on a daily basis, especially Coral trout and Barramundi – fresh.
Vic Ley was filmed by me spearing this Black Cod in 1969 at Fish Rock, South West Rocks – now a sanctuary. The sequence appeared in my first film Aquarius – People and Wildlife of the Sea but was dropped from later editions. Today it should be of interest to environmentalists. Vic Ley remembers how prolific marine life use to be at this now famous scuba location. New South Wales mid north coast.
Brian Davies was a professional fisherman, surfer and free diver who lived is a cabin at Seal Rocks, New South Wales. His father was a local pioneer professional fisherman – a true man of the sea as was Brian. Brian took a job in Japan which involved working with toxic chemicals. A few years later, back in Australia his liver packed up and Brian passed away – just a short time after his father.
The young fellow takes a Rock Blackfish ashore for his father, Geoff ‘Boots’ Towner, our long term friend.
Conditions for ‘rock hopping’ are not ideal, as the picture illustrates. A strong NE sea breeze has made the water choppy.
Early morning’s are a better bet for calm conditions although during bthe summer, the NE breeze starts early too.
Picture courtesy RJ Taylor collection
The Tweed Heads to Brisbane area was a super-hot spear fishing zone, Australia 1961. While we were seeing Red Morwong and Blue Groper around Sydney, the real underwater champions senior to us in age and experience were seeing giant Black Cod and Queensland Groper in shallow water up north. Pictures published in Australian Skindivers Magazine whetted our desire for a trip north. With friend Vic Ley our dream came true in July 1963 when we quit our jobs and drove north with a boat, outboard and camping gear. We’d swap speared fish and lobsters for food and fuel. The adventure of a lifetime awaited us.
Me with a typical coral trout. Aboard Riversong, a second trip in 1964. Captain Wally Muller and South Australian Brian Rodger in background. We speared thousands of kilo’s of fish during a ten-day voyage in the Capricorn and Bunker Group.
Vic Ley and myself on our first voyage with Wally Muller, August 1963. We speared fish in exchange for a boat ride out to North West Island – where I developed ‘coral poisoning’ in my leg and came close to dying, sulpher tablets pulled me through, probably not with some harm to kidneys.
Ron Taylor and Vic Ley August 1963, Riversong - Wally Muller‘s fishing vessel became legendary in the sixties. We were later to venture to Saumarez Reef in The Coral Sea aboard this small boat in October 1964.
Photo taken with Calypso-phot 35mm underwater camera
This was a memorable day with Ben Cropp aboard his 3.9 meter dinghy. Ben took his Freedom III out to Batt Reef, some 31km from home base at Port Douglas. It was a beautiful calm day. We motored onto the shallows of this big sandy reef. In 10 feet of water we spotted a large tiger shark and began following it, with intentions to film using a pole camera. What happened later was totally unexpected and a bit scary – even for us experienced-with-sharks guys.
Text of the event is located in ARCHIVES. Tip: use the search function.
Copy and Paste for audio-viz
Located at 9.9S 144.00E in the north section of The Coral Sea close to the Australian border with New Guinea. Locals hunt turtles for food, catch plenty of tropical lobster and fish. Serviced by an airstrip. Teenage children attend boarding schools in Townsville. Permission is required to make films here.
While heading for Murray Island aboard Ben Cropp’s Freedom III we stopped at the wreck site of The Sun which is positioned on the edge of a reef in The Coral Sea.
A possible explanation as to why this anchor is raised from the reef floor might be that it was being carried on the deck, unattached to any chain.
Slowly the sunken timber vessel decomposed, surrounding wood washed away by surf leaving just this anchor as a marker to why the sailing ship sank. Nearby was a cannon.
Wrecked on 1st June 1826 was a ship called The Sun. In the National Shipwrecks Data Base the location is given as Eastern Fields Reef which is some 50-100 km from Ashmore Reef where experts believe The Sun came to grief.
Ben Cropp confirmed that we were diving at Ashmore Reef, not Eastern Fields Reef.
This was during a voyage to Murray Island. We’d stopped at Ashmore Reef especially for Ben to have a new filming opportunity at what he believes from his research is The Sun wreck. As very few divers have been here, it is a very exciting dive with a major discovery always possible.
Wreckage is strewn around a northern section of reef. With a drop-off nearby just meters from a pair of Admiralty-style iron anchors, cannon, and iron remnants such as the L-shaped iron beam with a growing brain coral now cementing it to the reef.
Surf washed across this site although some relief is offered by the depth, about 10-15 meters.
What exists in the 30-meter or more depth zone nearby would be interesting.
Time did not allow our penetration deeper. Several big pelagic fish cruised by and a juvenile maori wrasse. It’s an exciting location where anything could suddenly appear from a minke whale to a tiger shark, such is the nature of distant Coral Sea reefs where reef fishing pressure is different to that close to the mainland.
“Much shipwreck data contains mistakes (says historical shipwreck expert and diver John Sumner this continues to be repeated”.
This reminded me of the once commonly quoted 36.5 foot long Great white shark caught at Port Fairy, South Australia a long time ago.
Those shark jaws are now kept in a British museum “and more likely from a 16.5 foot specimen” said Dr Walter Starck after he visited the museum.
A typographical error (from 16.5 to 36.5 feet) was quoted by various ‘authoritative’ publications for decades and may still appear from time to time.
Errors with shipwreck data is a much more common distortion.
Few people have the necessary passion and ability in government departments to correct these mistakes which get perpetuated in new publications and eventually become accepted ‘facts’.
We know that a large shipwreck, believed by experts to be the The Sun exists at Ashmore Reef.
The yet-to-be found ship’s bell would confirm the identity.
A tentative ‘discovery’ might be considered listing instead of the current ‘yes’ or ‘no’ system.
Any experienced diver will spot the Admiralty anchor in the top picture. The round “eye” for attaching rope is at the opposite end. For untrained divers this may seem just another lump of coral.
Ben believes this anchor may have been a spare carried on the deck.
When all of the surrounding timber rotted and washed away except for that preserved below the anchor which now appears raised above the surrounding flat coral reef.
It’s a fascinating location worth spending more time on.
This very large ship is now laying on her side in shallow water.
Depth to the top of the hull is about 12 meters, depth to ‘the sand’ only 23 meters from the surface.
When the prevailing strong current runs over the ship, the surface water \\boils\\.
An hour or so after this picture was taken there was small surf and a ‘roaring’ sound coming from a line of breaking waves 100 meters long – on an otherwise calm day.
Consequently the window for diving between the tides isn’t too flexible.
Picture has been rotated to give a correct perspective of the interior, as when she was afloat.
Some of the \\Slatey Bream\\ (shown below) are in near center, while Ben Cropp is barely seen filming from the exterior of the ship.
Collectible port holes have been removed long ago, pre 1983.
Contents of the ship now protected by legislation.
The cabin or stateroom ceiling here has lost the covering. Water visibility not too good about ten meters.
Nothing too spectacular (by remote Great Barrier Reef standards).
Although probably a 10/10 reef in some parts of the world today, we’ve been a bit spoiled in Australia.
I’d rate it a 5/10 reef to what is possible under ideal conditions. The corals here were in trouble. The large \\brain\\ corals especially.
The underwater corals here were quite interesting too. In the spectacular category yet also in decline. You wonder why.
The red dinghy has an aluminium hull. The outboard works hard and starts every time, although inclined to flood (at first start every morning) if choke is on and more than three pulls are given. Otherwise it’s a marvelous brand.
Note: \\Freedom III\\ and dinghy is about to be advertised as **for sale.** The Ben Cropp adventure boat, to be replaced next March 2008 by something larger that will be a full time floating home.
Nasty hollow point and heavy caliber lead slugs. From the era when bullet casings were cardboard.
The heavy wheels belong to a smelting barrow – probably something connected with gold mining. It’s a mystery whether these belong to an actual wreck nearby or were jettisoned overboard to lighten the load of a ship stranded.
If you were to travel north from Brisbane by boat, most of the coast would be muddy water.
Run-off from the many rivers talking silt into the sea, which of course isn’t too good for any coral reef.
Years ago someone said Cairns originally had **a white sand beach**. This long lost beach might still exist somewhere deep under meters of mud which now comprise the disappointing (to visitors) low tide view at The Esplanade.
The mud came from sugar cane farms which began in the area maybe 100 years ago.
As one travels to the far north of Queensland, where there are no towns, cities or farms, the coast today is largely unspoiled. White sand beaches exist – even with mangrove tree’s growing on them.
Something I thought would have been impossible on the coast.
There is no doubt that farming has effected the health of inshore coral reefs. Killing the reef in most examples.
Further offshore reefs at Low Isles (offshore from Port Douglas) are not too healthy either as it gets the monsoonal run-off.
(P.S. I’ll post underwater **dying coral reef** picture examples from Low Isles during the New Year).
There isn’t a great deal to see on this part of the reef apart from twin anchors in the surf and their heavy iron chain now firmly cemented onto the coral.
Heavy surf has washed the original wreckage remnants across to reef top, into the sandy lagoon.
Filmmaker, Ben Cropp (pictured) has long been fascinated by these anchors and makes a stop whenever in the region.