Double click picture
A larger and similar picture is at http://fathomoz.wordpress.com
Walter A.Starck, Vic Ley, Ron Taylor, Phil Eather, Richard Weir, Wally Gibbins, Mal McLeod, Gai Girdlestone, John Harding
Wally Muller, Van Laman, Ben Cropp, Kathy Troutt, Lynn Roberts, John Michael Harding, Bob Grounds, Dean Cropp, Ron Taylor, Trevor Collins (with marlin), Valerie May Taylor, Henri Bource.
The Late IRVIN ROCKMAN CBE
RON IBLE (White Water Wanderers) 30 April 2013 R.I.P. mate
We went 250 miles offshore in this tiny fishing boat. A great adventure with a pioneer of The Great Barrier Reef, Captain Wally Muller- later of Coralita charter boat notoriety. Coralita was Australia’s first scuba dive boat on the GBR, launched in 1969.
Wally Muller built Coralita which was launched in 1969. Originally it was intended as a cruise boat working the islands and reefs offshore on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The vessel, while being an excellent open sea craft was prone to ‘rocking wildly’ at anchor. Tourists were often seasick. Wally Muller then turned to fishing and diving charters. Through his friendship with Ron Taylor and John Harding (then the founding editor of FATHOM) he was able to attract local and overseas scuba divers, especially from USA. Hollywood producers seeking shark scenes obtained these in The Coral Sea. Wally returned to Saumarez Reef several times and found a magnificent bommie in 100 feet of water that rose to 30 feet under the surface. Modestly named “Wal’s Bommie” it was for a short time one of the best scuba dive locations known. Today the location would be ‘lost’. Although Wally Muller chartered and named many reefs in The Swain Reefs, only one retains one of his original names “Riversong Cay”.
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)
Golden trevally (1984)
School of Batfish above the Yongala in 1984 helped to mark the location
My first dives on the Yongala were in October 1984, while aboard Coralita with Captain Wally Muller. This was the era pre GPS so finding the wreck might take some time using radar fixes and the echo sounder. The other factor to help ID the location was a resident school of Batfish, so numerous on the surface they could be spotted a hundred meters away.
On my return dives with Ben Cropp in 2002 the wreck was noticeably changed. One morning while doing a solo dive on the wreck I heard the sounds of the approaching – and anchoring tourist dive boat run by my friend Mike Ball. A rare experience no doubt.
What a racket of sound underwater. Zodiac’s positioning buoys, the rattle of heavy anchor chain and the thumping drone of big boat engines. Do fish get accustomed to this noise and ‘put up with it’ or do some clear-out?
The Batfish were gone - perhaps that’s a seasonal thing? So were the stingray, giant groper and black kingfish.
Since 2002 I’d expect that ‘marine parks’ have placed permanent moorings in place. If not then these are long overdue. These prevent anchor damage from continual boat arrivals.
Yongala is still a worthwhile dive if only a fraction as exciting as in 1984 – which is to be expected.
Ron Taylor made a 50 minute film of the wreck in the late 1970′s when it was in it’s prime. JHH
Former spear wound on red morwong, Marley NSW
White Water Wanderers - a Bondi spearfishing club. Sydney Sea Hunters a City of Sydney club.
The spear gun used by Ron Taylor in the 1965 world championships was not built by Ron. The above picture was thirty years after he won the main event. Ron found the gun floating in the sea off Yeppoon, Queensland in 1961.