Posts Tagged vic ley
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.
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
VIC LEY DRIVING HIS BOAT
One of the best-looking boats of all in 1963. Adequately powered by a 45 HP motor it carried four friends from the White Water Wanderers (the Bondi club) on outing’s every weekend.
The one major difference between those days and now is - back then we got into our wet suits just before a dive. Suits might become too warm in summer.
This luxury not possible in the crowded dive shop owned boats of today. There would be chaos.
Vic Ley was to become an Australian spear fishing champion who represented us at the World Championships held in Cuba, 1967
After that he went professional abalone diving with his mates at Mallacoota, (Victoria) at a time when abalone laws were basic. With the catch steadily declining this forced many others to quit the business.
A short time later, near-free licenses were introduced for those that remained in the game. Today these same license are valued and sell for several million dollars each.
Vic Ley has the best pair of eyes for spotting hidden things underwater. It is an asset that enabled him to win the Australian Title (for breath-holding spear fishermen) and took him to represent Australia at the world titles in Cuba.
This large flathead was eaten for supper after being picked up at Hat Head, the same location as featured in the Queensland groper story that follows:
This oceanarium was at Port Macquarie for many years. Today parkland has replaced it.
Sea Safari (A 90 minute marine video) had a behind-the-scenes sequence filmed here with dolphin, a fur seal talking into a microphone, fairy penguins, crocodiles and an impressive fish tank.
Free diving champion Vic ‘Snowie’ Ley cared for and trained the animals. With his practical understanding of sea creatures, Snowie believed some sharks might be trained to ‘perform’ (by offering them food) in much the same way dolphins respond. An interesting theory?
Vic Ley began his oceanarium career with Jack Evans at the original Tweed Heads Pet Porpoise Pool in an era when catching dolphin by hand did not require any special permits – you just did it.
(updated 5 September 2010)
Vic and I quit our jobs and were heading north for three months of diving with a rented timber boat, a tent and a 45 HP outboard motor. At Woolgoolga we picked up the 7 kg crayfish, (now known as rock lobster). It wasn’t eaten. We sold it to the original porpoise pool at Tweed Heads (NSW) to help pay for travel costs.
By this stage we had another couple with us, Ron Taylor and his girlfriend Valerie. It was to be an amazing adventure.
I ‘blacked-out’ and almost drowned during a deep free dive, we speared fish, photographed sharks and sea snakes and camped on Nor’ West Island where I developed ‘coral poisoning’ in my knee and could not walk or even stand up.
I was saved by the early return of “Riversong” and the later to be legend, Captain Wally G Muller of ‘Coralita’ charter boat fame in the Coral Sea.
For each of us it was an amazing adventure at a time with fewer people, less boats, more fish, more sharks. We became life-long friends too.
I did not return to ordinary work either. This was the beginning of a professional association with the new world of underwater photo journalism and documentary films.