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.
A newspaper version of events: When the shark rushed at Rick he held the fish in front of him for protection…… note the teeth marks, it was a huge bull shark so long the tail disappeared into the murky Darwin Harbour waters where visibility rarely exceeds 15 feet.
A TV news version A skin diver escaped death from a huge shark in Darwin Harbor today…… diver Rick Trippe had just speared a 100 found groper when the shark charged him.
**The true version (as told here)** Rick sent me this picture, it looks like a large shark had a chew on this Brown Spotted Cod soon after this fish was speared. The vibrations of the struggling fish attracting the shark as they will. Often the shark gets the lot.
The slimy, tough fish scales offered some protection – a lot more than a divers wet suit, that’s for certain.
Picture: Rick Trippe Collection
**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.
A freediving holiday aboard the famous **\\Coralita\\** to the very remote Chesterfield Islets and Reefs (in The Coral Sea) was the most enjoyable times my late Dad enjoyed, he recently told me. Here he admires a healthy coral trout which we dined on that evening, thanks to **Capt. Wally Muller.**