Fish Rock Cave was once home to magnificent and now protected species like this.
When first efforts were made to protect this stunning scuba diving site from spear fishing, a Newcastle club waged ‘war’ by holding a spearing competition under the nose of local scuba divers. It did not win them any points and in time they lost their battle. Responsible spear fishing today, is another matter and part of the evolution. Giant groper were also speared at this location. (from John Harding’s Aquarius documentary).
Originally published in Wade Doak’s DIVE New Zealand magazine, these pictures show what free diving was doing in the late 1960′s.
Far left pictures (upper and lower) feature the late Captain Wally Muller – stalking and bagging a blue spot coral trout in the Swain Reefs 1967. Wally Muller was a professional fisherman who became a free diver – a very unusual thing. Pro fishermen see lots of shark action and most would not dream of diving. To them it was a realm of guaranteed doom, in the 1960′s at least. Large blue spot coral trout would be a good source of ciguatera, the tasteless and odorless toxin present in many tropical fish predators.
Other pictures show Bob Grounds at Yeppoon, Queensland offshore coral formations. The coral and speargun picture was an intentional copy of a famous Ben Cropp/Ron Taylor image. In both examples a home made speargun is shown.
The Spanish Mackerel picture was from the era when some sponsorship was being made to divers. In this example it was Evinrude outboard motors and Sea Hornet spear guns. Sea Hornet assisted the production of “John Harding’s Aquarius” by supplying 3000 feet of 16mm color film.
Bob Grounds holds one of the final Blue Groper at Shark Island, Cronulla (Sydney) before they were banned from capture by spear fishing. The picture was published in Sydney’s The Sun newspaper with a page 3 headline “Don’t Say You Were Not Warned”.
Ron Taylor won his world crown in Tahiti, 1965. After returning home this picture was taken at Montague Island off Narooma (New South Wales, south coast). It could have made a good Rolex advert had not water drops been on the lens port of the Rolleimarin housing. The Yellowtail Kingfish still exist but large fish are no longer common.
The speargun used in Tahiti is shown with Ron Taylor, in 1995 at his former Roseville residence, Sydney.
(Updated 5 September 2010)
White blotches on plate coral are curious and alarming. This picture is from the last roll of underwater film exposed by this late famous charter boat skipper and owner of Coralita. It was discovered in his motor drive Nikon camera still in it’s marine housing.