tHE CHRONICLE OF SCUBA DIVING IN AUSTRALIA 1950 TO 2019

   

Index   1917 TO 1959   1960 TO 1969   1970 TO 1979    1980 to 1989 A   1990 TO 1999   2000 TO 2009   2010 TO 2019 Part One   2010 TO 2019 Part Two

2010 TO 2019

PART TWO

WRECK DIVING IN AUSTRALIA

VALE LOTTE HASS

ALEX WALLMAN JUNIOR MASTER SCUBA DIVER

KEEPING DIVING HISTORY ALIVE

WOMEN IN SCUBA DIVING

A SALUTE TO BARRY ANDREWARTHA

 

THIS WEB PAGE WILL BE UPDATED EVERY SIX MONTHS - THE NEXT UPDATE JUNE 2017

 

...................................................................................

 

MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGY PHOTOGRAPHER-PATRICK BAKER: Perth. Patrick Baker was born during the Second World War in England on December 26, 1943. Part of his education from 1963 to 1966 was at the London Polytechnic School of Photography, where he qualified in 1966 with a Polytechnic Diploma of Photography Scientific and Technical. He arrived as an immigrant from Britain to settle in Western Australia in 1973, and was employed by the Western Australian Museum. Since then, he has been employed as an illustrative and technical photographer and filmmaker for the Department of Maritime Archaeology section. His special interest is in underwater work, he is also a lecturer in photography and maritime archaeology in his spare time. For 27 of his 38 years as a professional photographer, Patrick Baker has specialised in photography for marine archaeology. His passion for the underwater world goes back to his childhood days. Following in the footsteps of underwater pioneers, Patrick Baker sees his photographs, publications and lectures as helping to introduce the underwater world to present and future generations, with the hope of encouraging people to protect this immeasurably valuable world. As the majority of the seas of the world are largely unexplored and thousands of shipwrecks remain undiscovered, there is no limit to what remains to be photographed, he says. Patrick's work has taken him all over Australia as well as to Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa and Sri Lanka. He has been the leading photographer on 60 expeditions and major projects, such as the wreck of Batavia, James Matthews, Rapid and other wreck sites in Western Australia, In Queensland, Sirius on Norfolk Island and the Mary Rose in England, recording the natural underwater environment as well as shipwrecks. His aim is to produce photographs that fulfil both scientific and artistic requirements. His frequently published photographs that are informative, entertaining and provide a record for future generations. Patrick Baker has had photographs published in many books and magazines including Illustrated London News, National Geographic, Skin Diver Magazine, Australian Natural History, Sportdiver Magazine, Oceans, BBC Wildlife, Australian Geographic, Living Australia, and Geo Magazine and many others.

VETERAN DIVER AND SUNKEN TREASURE SEEKER-PAUL LUNN: Adelaide. At the time of leaving school Paul became a qualified scuba diver, the year was I962. His dive course was conducted over 2 nights of theory and 2 sea dives. Equipment used for training and commonly purchased afterwards was a Bali mask (black rubber) Voit black rubber full foot fins. "Sea Bee" wet suit, standard "Sea Bee" regulator with stem gauge, steel 72 cf cylinders with J valve reserve and a buoyancy vest not considered to be worn by competent divers. After years of working as a dental mechanic, a position became available at Adelaide Skindiving Centre for a manager, that meant running the shop by day, teaching students by night and weekends, a  one man show but it did hold a prestigious position within the small diving community at the time in Adelaide.

Paul Lunn, treasure seeker and veteran diver.

Nineteen seventy-one was the turning point for Paul Lunn, the dive shop was sold to him by the previous owner, and Paul had a partner, John Bent. John and Paul worked as a team, they took turns to make decisions and both worked to the end success of those decisions, they both pioneered the windsurfing industry in Adelaide and starting from nothing turned a humble beginning into a million dollar business within 2 years. John Bent had a passion for finding wrecks in South Australian waters, this was not Paul's greatest love but he supported him and stood in line to receive the accolades by the State government and diving community. John decided that they should turn their attention to finding sunken treasure ships overseas. Eight years later, four long court cases to the supreme court of the USA, changed international law, an expenditure of approximately 4 million US dollars located one of the greatest treasure troves ever unearthed from a wreck site. Paul Lunn has spent three years on the Dive Australia Board as a Board Member and Vice President.

PHOTOGRAPHERS AND FILMMAKERS-DAVID PARER, LIZ PARER-COOK: Sydney. David Parer's interest in photography and film making began as a teenager. Between 1969-73, he wintered twice in the Antarctic as a physicist. During this time, he filmed three documentaries on 16mm film, Broken Silence, Antarctic Winter and Antarctic Summer. He also shot many black and white photographs on these trips and as is the fashion down south, processed and mounted these at the station. In 1973, he went to Papua New Guinea for the Australian Broadcasting Commission's (ABC) Natural History Unit to make three wildlife films, The Immigrant Deer, Home of the Bird of Paradise and Bird of the Volcanoes. He then wintered again on Macquarie Island in the Antarctica, this time in 1975-76, and made a four part series about its history and wildlife, it was called Edge of the Cold and featured elephant and fur seals, penguins and albatrosses. Elizabeth's interest in film and photography began at University.

David and Elizabeth Parer-Cook on one of their ex-perditions to the Antarctic, filming wildlife for the BBC and ABC television.

She worked briefly at the Commonwealth Film Unit during University vacation. In 1973 she shot and edited a video-tape program of the Aquarius Festival. During the time between 1974 to 1976, she lectured in Sociology at Footscray Institute of Technology using film and video as part of her teaching methods. At night, she worked on the development of scripts, both film and video-tape. David and Elizabeth married in 1979 and together have spent ten years making documentaries on contract to the ABC Natural History Unit. In l979 and 1980 they made two films about the dugong, a rare marine mammal involving a good deal of underwater photography. David produced and filmed whilst Elizabeth researched and recorded sound. Their most recent documentary, Wolves of the Sea, is about the natural history of killer whales. It began in 1990 and was filmed entirely in the wild over 3 years using specially developed camera techniques underwater. Over the years they have won over 40 Australian and International Awards for production, cinematography and makeup, including the Grand Prix at the Melbourne Film Festival ( 1983). Mystery of the Ocean Wanderers, is another film which includes the natural history of the wandering albatross, elephant seals and king penguins in the light of the most recent discoveries.

UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER-JOHN BUTLER:  Perth. When I joined a diving club many years ago, diving meant one thing spear fishing. I competed in spearing competitions for some years with a notable lack of success, until a short dive on the club's cranky old hookah unit convinced me that I was missing out on the real marine world during my brief breath-hold dives. I was also becoming disenchanted with spear fishing. The same divers who wouldn't harm a terrestrial creature, seemed to be able to "de-animalise" fish and subject them to unspeakable cruelties all in the name of sport. I came to the conclusion, after re evaluating my attitudes towards all marine life, that whether it be the unwanted bags of "shit-fish" left over at the conclusions of a competition, or having to swim over reefs devoid of large fish, there are no winners from such events, only losers. Today my efforts are devoted solely towards underwater photography, but I must thank my years in spear fishing for one thing, through hunting fish, I gained a greater knowledge of their habits, which has since been invaluable to me as a photographer. Unlike many of my contemporaries, I never experimented with cameras in home-made housings. My first camera was a new Nikonos I, with which I used a bulb flash and later, an electronic flash unit. The old Nikonos incidentally, is still going strong and is now used by my wife, Val, to further her interest in underwater photography. I consider myself very fortunate to have a wife who is a diver. Val and I have shared some great dives (and some not so great) together during the last number of years. Some of our favourite places are Busselton jetty, Rottnest Island, and the south coast of W.A. In the future we hope to venture farther afield to dive some of the exotic locations outside W.A. An elderly Rolleimarin was my next acquisition, followed later by a brand new Rolleimarin IV. These cameras gave me excellent service before they were replaced by a Nikon F2 in a "Hydro 35" housing, coupled with a " Sea & Sea" flash unit. Recently, top local underwater photographer, Dick Beilby, and I teamed up to conduct an underwater photography course. This proved so popular that we plan to run more of them in the near future. With more and more new divers emerging on the scene, a significant number of them will be attracted to photography. Dick and I feel that our combined experience will benefit these divers and help them avoid many of the pitfalls inherent in their hobby As well as his underwater photo-journalist activities, John is also recognised as one of Australia's best known underwater cartoonists. His character "Brinesnorkel" has been giving divers a laugh at themselves for many years.

UNDER WATER PHOTOGRAPHER, NATIONAL AND AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINES, CSIRO FISRERIES. Coffs Harbour. Gary Bell is one of Australia's most accomplished underwater photographers with international acclaim. His images have featured in major magazine and books around the world, limited edition coins, postage stamps, newspapers advertisements, sign age and many other publications. He has worked on assignment for National Geographic magazine and Television Division, Australia's CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Australian Geographic magazine and other nature related journals. In 1990, 1991 and 1992 he was awarded the Australasia Underwater Photographer of the Year, the only person to have won this award in three consecutive years. Behind this photographer is a man with a deep respect for wildlife and the environment who loves to explore new ecosystems with his camera and capture the extraordinary beauty of the natural world. When Gary started taking underwater pictures in 1975 there were few underwater photographers in Australia and he was soon getting requests for copies of his pictures from his family and friends. Today he continues to share his pictures with the world through his company Oceanwide Images stock photo agency. Based in Australia and specializing in natural history photography, Oceanwide Images now represents some of the world's best known nature and wildlife photographers. Gary's passion for photography has seen him amass one of the largest collections of Great Barrier Reef images in the world. In 1985 Gary joined the team on Heron Island working as a dive master/guide for P&O Resorts and lived on the island, on the Great Barrier Reef, for three years. During this time Gary recorded on film a huge collection of marine life images. In his own words, his fascination with the reef is "I just love the fact that you could dive the Great Barrier Reef for a life time and still not scratch the surface. The reef is enormous, it is our planets largest natural ecosystem, covering an area of 345,400 square kilometres and stretching a distance of 2300 kilometres. The natural beauty and diversity of this Australian icon is the attraction." Some recently published coffee table books containing Gary's imagery are The Great Barrier Reef, by Murdoch Books and BBC earth, and former book The Great Barrier Reef, published by Steve Parish Publishing. Just as in 1975 when Gary shared his first underwater pictures with his family and friends, he continues to bring beautiful underwater pictures to people all over the world through Oceanwide Images. When asked to choose a favourite from his huge image collection, Gary's answer is definitive "the picture of my two children, Leah and Adam, and amazing wife, Meri". 

UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER, AND AUTHOR. Sydney. Rudie Kuiter started scuba diving in 1964, taking a course with the Mick Simmons Skin and Scuba School in Sydney. With an interest in fish since childhood, the marine fishes of the Sydney area became the focus of studies for many years. Working together with scientists from institutes’s world wide he published numerous scientific papers on taxonomy and biology of Australian marine fishes. At the same time fish identification articles were published in diving magazines. The photography evolved to become the largest collection of Australian fish species and demand for those came from both at home and overseas. Rudie's undersea interest expanded to Queensland, and then to the east coast of Australia. He moved to Melbourne in 1980 and began diving overseas, particularly in Indonesia but also in other parts of the west Pacific as far as Japan. He became a research associate with the Museum of Victoria and some of his early highlights were the publication of postal stamps depicting marine life and a scientific paper on parental care, hatching and raising of sea dragons, published in France.

Rudie Kuiter author and underwater photographer.

The latter created world-wide interest, and worked in various ways such as with the National Geographic, setting up for filming for the well-known nature series by David Attenborough and "Nature Australia" for the ABC. Numerous articles were published in Europe on sea dragons and sea horses that appeared in GEO France and Germany, as well as other magazines such as Airone, Aqua, Tier, Grasduinen, and in various other publications through the USA and Japan. Rudie Kuiter's first book was published in 1992, it was called "Tropical Reef Fish of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters." and was followed by "Coastal Fishes of South Eastern Australia'" in 1993. Another book on Australia's south coast species has been in the making since the early 1980s in which he is a co-author and principal photographer. Rudie Kuiter's camera equipment consisted of a Nikon F4 in a metal housing, and dual strobes with TTL. He also uses a 105 macro lens for small species and the 60 macro lens for larger fish. Occasionally using a Nikonos with a 20mm lens for the larger species of fish. The strobes used are Nikon SB-24 land flashes, rebuilt for underwater, and on the Nikonos, he uses a ring flash tube. Since those days Rudie has replaced some of his photographic equipment with later models.

UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER KEVIN DEACON. Sydney. I commenced scuba diving in earnest in 1963 after purchasing a scuba unit from Ron Harding's Sports Centre on hire purchase and taught myself to dive at Shelly Beach, Manly. That year I became employed by the same sports centre as a junior sales person in the diving department and began my training under two of the original pioneers in the industry, Ron Harding and Barry May. During these formative years, I also had the pleasure of meeting and diving with other industry pioneers such as Ben Cropp, Wally Gibbins, Allan Power, Neville Coleman, Tom Byron, and Eric Buckanon. In 1966, I was given the Ron Harding Diving School as a personal business. By 1970, I felt ready to branch out into my own business. I was too confined operating in a dive department within a sport store and proceeded to set up my own dive shop, calling it Hydronaut Divers, based at Mona Vale. We opened 7 days a week, made wet suits at night and did everything one could think of to pay the bills. After a couple of years, Hydronaut Divers closed. In 1977 I had taken the step of setting up a compressor, tanks and equipment on Lord Howe Island, it was the beginning of the diving facility that still runs today. I also purchased shares in Pro Diving Services at Coogee in Sydney, operated by Rick Poole. With determination and the fresh enthusiasm of three new partners, Russell de Groot, Garry Webster and I, we felt we could make a success of it. By 1982 I was becoming restless as one of five directors of Pro Diving Services, and we parted company. The same year, with my second wife Chris, we started a dive shop in Neutral Bay calling it Dive 2000, specialising in underwater photography and dive travel as well as scuba schools and advance courses. I have experienced over 50 years of diving, seen the sport evolve from our early spear fishing days to scuba diving as a recreational sport. Diving in general has now push out the macho image and have seen women embrace the sport providing a more balanced group of divers. Change has been for the better, today our equipment, training, opportunities to dive, and our communication has reached its zenith. The success of future decades depends upon educating divers and dive operators about the marine environment, it will also depend upon more marine parks as well.

VALE LOTTE HASS. 6 NOVEMBER 1928 - 14 JANUARY 2015. The passing of Lotte Hass in 2015 is not part of The Chronicle of Scuba Diving in Australia, I thought it was important to including it on this web page. The television series played such a large part in scuba diving in the early pioneering days in this country.  In sadness we have to announce that Lotte Hass passed away at the age of 86 on Wednesday, 14th January 2015 after a happy and multi-faceted life. By being the first woman to dive with autonomous diving equipment, Lotte Hass opened up a formerly male dominated field for the female world. Against strong opposition she first starred as underwater photo model before moving behind the camera to become an underwater photographer, subsequently opening up a whole new world for women and entering the history books of diving. Spectacular film scenes that showed her diving fearlessly with sharks certainly contributed to the big success of her husband Hans Hass movies in the 1950s. As fearless as she was underwater as charming and open minded she was ashore. After having left the public limelight, she focused more than ever on being an advisor to her husband Hans Hass. Together they have been married happily for more than 62 years, which has been highlighted by the ZDF/ORF screen adoption of her autobiography "A girl on the ocean floor" in 2011, in which Yvonne Catterfeld starred as Lotte.

Lotte Hass in her younger days.

We ask those who want to acknowledge the accomplishments of Lotte Hass as a diving pioneer, to support SHARK PROJECT, an organization that is dedicated to stop the destruction of the oceans and the extinction of sharks. If you ask many older divers what influenced them to get involved in scuba diving they will almost all agree it was Jacques-Yves Cousteau or the American TV series, Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges. But for me it was solely, 100% Hans and Lotte Hass that influenced me to get into diving. I remember seeing their first public release film "Under the Red Sea" which won an award at the 1951 Venice Film Festival (five years before Cousteau's "Silent World" won the Cannes Film Festival in 1956). This first exposure to diving fired my imagination as a young boy. But it was not until their unique BBC television series "Diving to Adventure" that was produced in 1956 and screened on Australian TV long before "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" or Sea Hunt, the TV series. Diving to Adventure was a unique weekly TV series which followed the adventures of Hans & Lotte Hass aboard their 170 foot cruising yacht "Xarifa" as they explored the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean. This TV series was the single biggest influence which steered my entire life to be involved in diving. Back in 1976 we invited them to be our special guests of honour at the Oceans Conference and Film Festival, "Oceans 76". They accepted and all was in hand until a motor vehicle accident caused them to cancel, a huge disappointment. Over the years both Belinda and I (Barry Andrewartha) met them on numerous occasions in France at the famous Antibes Film Festival, at DEMA in the USA and various other diving events around the world. Later we co-hosted Hans and Lotte Hass on a visit to Cairns where we introduced them to Jean-Michel Cousteau, the first and only Cousteau to ever meet Hans and Lotte Hass. Hans Hass passed away in 2013 and sadly Lotte passed away on January 14, 2015... a remarkable life. I (Tom Byron) was first introduced to Hans Hass through his TV series "Under the Red Sea" it played a tremendous part of my early diving days and I have never forgotten the series.

ALEX WALLMAN JUNIOR MASTER SCUBA DIVER. South Austrlia. Earlier this year at the age of just 13, Alex Wallman became not only the shop's first diver to graduate to rank of Junior Master Scuba Diver since Scott and Lexi Nystrom became the proprietors of Divers Delight but she may possibly be the youngest person in South Australia, if not the whole of Australia ever to do so. First getting a taste of the sport when she was just 8 years old after Alex enjoyed some holiday recreation dives in both Fiji and Bali she then went on to become certified as an Open Water Diver in December 2013. Since then she has clocked up many dives and had gained the necessary specialties along the way: Peak Buoyancy, Search and Recovery, Navigation, Boat and Deep, before finally completing her Rescue Diver course, thus awarding her the title that she now holds. "I would recommend Peak performance Buoyancy because that was really helpful with the others," Alex advises. "Especially if you're a new diver and you need to get used to everything and I reckon that you should do that one even before you do your Advanced because it's a really good skill to have". With close to 150 logged dives to her name, Alex not only has an after school job in a dive shop she has set her sights on even further goals within the world of scuba. "I just started working at the shop which is really good because I'm getting to know Scott, Lexi and Larissa and the Divers Delight crew a lot better now," she says of the both the financial and ongoing educational support she now receives with the position. And I'm going to use that to fund my future courses like becoming a Dive Master and then hopefully, an Instructor," she adds, before being asked of what her career plans might've been before a life of diving became a vocational option. "I'm not sure," she hesitates, as would most modern young teenagers do when posed that question. "I wanted to work with the police or ambulance services or some other medical field like a doctor or surgeon because I'm not afraid of that kind of stuff," she boldly states, before further pondering, "Well, that's what I wanted to be but I don't know if I ever could. My parents are pretty much happy with whatever I want to do," she affirms. "I probably will end up going to university and being an Instructor would probably be just a temporary thing. But being a Dive Instructor you can travel anywhere in the world and be pretty much guaranteed a job". But it's her no fear approach to life, not only as a diver but towards many other dangerous activities that she has undertaken that it comes as no surprise that Alex is, in her own words, an "adrenaline junkie".                                                                                                                                                                                                         

WRECK DIVING IN AUSTRALIA. Nature provides plenty to see on any dive, but man has also left behind an enormous supply of things to explore underwater. Shipwrecks have fascinated many from the early history of diving. The thirst to unravel the mystery of what lies beneath our oceans is a common trait in a diver. Wreck diving is an exciting way to combine your passion for diving with a truly unusual view of history. With wreck diving sites dotted all around Australia there's an almost infinite  supply of local places to visit to indulge in this fascinating experience.                                                                                                                                                                                         

  New South Wales: Sydney is home to many outstanding shipwrecks, although many of the popular ones lie in the 40m or deeper range, requiring training, experience and equipment to dive them safely. PADI's Wreck Diver courseis one of the most popular specialty courses available. Visit padi.com or your local PADI Dive shop for more details. There are reportedly around 80 plus wrecks in Sydney Harbour, with many more along the Sydney coastline. Worthy of a mention are the Valiant and the Birchgrove Park off Palm Beach; the Dee Why, Bellubera, Duckenfield, Myola, Meggol and the Coolooli, off Long Reef; the Kelloe off Botany Bay and the Tuggerah and Undoa off the Royal National Park in Sydney's south. Just north of Sydney, theExHMAS Adelaide was scuttled in 2011 off Avoca Beach near Terrigal and now serves as a world class artificial reef and dive site. Sitting bolt upright in 32 metres of water, this site is the first of its kind in NSW. The wreck has diver access holes strategically placed to allow easy exploration of key areas.

Queensland: The Great Barrier Reef's signature wreck is the SS Yongala, a 109 metre luxury passenger ship that was lost to the deep during a 1911 cyclone. On this wreck everything is super sized sea snakes the size of your biceps and sea turtles so big they look prehistoric. Every single space on the wreck is covered in colourful life. It's worth several dives to try and see it all. Purposely sunk off Queensland Sunshine Coast lies the great wreck dive of the former HMAS Brisbane, a 133-metre guided missile destroyer. The vessel went down in 2005 and sits upright in 15-18 metres of water. There's a lot of ship to see and a lot of marine life that now call HMAS Brisbane home

Victoria: Notable wreck diving sites scattered across the Victorian coastline include Apollo Bay, where you will find the wrecks of both the SS Casino and the Fiji. At Warrnambool, the shipwreck LaBella rests and at Port Campbell the famous Lock Ard wreck resides. The waters of Port Phillip Bay have claimed over 130 vessels, the best known of these is the City of Launceston. Wilsons Promontory is home to some of Victoria's best shipwrecks, the TSS Kanowna a Gallipoli hospital ship, the SS Queensland and the SS Cambridge, which hit a German mine in 1940. The HMVS Cerberus was scuttled in 1926 and more recently the naval ship Ex-HMAS Canberra was prepared and purpose sunk as a dive site in 2009 off Ocean Grove outside the heads of Port Phillip Bay. Sitting on the bottom at 28 metres, her mast reaches up to within 10 metres of the surface. This wreck is now a marine reserve and hosts a healthy variety of marine species.

South Australia: The enticing South Australian coastline not only promises to treat divers to an array of unique marine life, but also delivers on outstanding wreck dives. There are over 800 known shipwrecks off the South Australian coast and many other vessels have been purposely sunk to form artificial reefs for divers. In 2002, the Ex-HMAS Hobart was scuttled. The former guided missile destroyer now forms a stunning dive site on the Fleurieu Peninsula at 30 metres. Diving at the peak low or high tide when water movement is minimal is best. The South Australian which is locally referred to as the Glenelg Dredge is another popular wreck dive with easy penetration. Lying upright, 5-6kms west of Glenelg in 20 metres of water, The Dredge is home to a wide variety of marine life.

Western Australia: As well as shipwrecks dating back to the 17th century, Western Australia has its share of more recent sinkings. The country's largest wreck, the bulk carrier Sanko Harvest lies in the Recherche Archipelago, a scattered group of islands and reefs to the south of Western Australia. Purposely scuttled as artificial reefs and major diving attractions, the former HMAS Perth is at Albany, while further to the north and offshore from Dunsborough, is the former HMAS Swan. The South Tomi off Geraldton which was scuttled in 2004, rests at 26 metres and is one of Western Australia's Top 10 Dive Wrecks, the Lena an ex-fishing vessel lying in 18 metres of water off Bunbury was sunk in 2003. The Key Biscayne wreck is an off-shore oil rig that sunk 18kms off Lancelin while being towed down the WA coast to be refitted. It lies at 42 metres and is home to abundant crayfish as well as Jewfish and Snapper.

Tasmania: Tasmania's early maritime history has left the island with many shipwreck sites to explore. Divers with a taste for the past can discover shipwrecks at sites around Flinders and King Islands in Bass Strait and at other locations along Tasmania's east coast. A number of the wrecks have not been fully explored with some that date back to as early as 1779. The famous SS Nord shipwreck (40m dive) near Port Arthur is located in the south east of the state.

Northern Territory: The Usat Meigs is a 131-metre long US transport ship that sank during the first Japanese air raid in Darwin during World War II. Sitting in 18 metres of water in Darwin Harbour, this wreck is a popular dive. It's important to ensure you have the appropriate level of training and experience when wreck diving. The PAD! Wreck Diver course will prepare you to visit the iconic wrecks of Australia. Check with your local PADI Dive Shop.

KEEPING DIVING HISTORY ALIVE: Victoria. All across Australia, history enthusiasts are maintaining, restoring and keeping our valuable engineering heritage alive, whether it be in the form of vintage cars, steam engines or aircraft. Maintaining our engineering heritage resource is a very worthwhile endeavour and this is also very much the case when it comes to historical diving equipment. We have a fantastic diving heritage in Australia, most of which still remains to be researched, so it is worthy of the efforts of those enthusiastic enough to preserve it. In June each year, during the Queen's Birthday long weekend, Professional Diving Services at Portland, Victoria, run their annual NAUI Standard Dress diving course. Devised some six years ago, it was the first recreational standard dress certification course in the world and it takes place annually, right here in Australia. Students receive detailed, safety conscious training in the use of the old copper helmet style of diving and experience the fun of diving technology which was originally developed back as 1830s and remained mostly unchanged until it was discontinued in the late 1970s. As well as a hands-on experience, the course includes segments on the historical development of the apparatus and its many uses in engineering and infrastructure work throughout the 150 years it dominated the underwater world.

Pioneers divers from the mid 1950s.

The NAUI certification course combines valuable training with the preservation of a diving system which once ruled the world. It is a unique course. What a fun way to spend a long weekend. This year, a class of six students participated under the watchful eye of instructors Frank Zeigler and Stephen Taylor. The weekend's event also presented an opportunity for many previously qualified NAUI standard dress enthusiasts, (mostly members of the HDS Aus-Pac) with a chance to dive their own standard dress systems in Portland Harbour, along with the students. Weekend participants from Melbourne were joined by divers from as far afield as Perth, Auckland, Darwin, Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart. This year's students included Patrick Rodgers, Michelle Doolan, Alan Earle, Paul Barta, Leslie Zelenc and Steven Kendall. Congratulations to all the students who thoroughly enjoyed their experience and enthusiastically worked in two teams, with the emphasis on safety at all times. The weekend also gave Frank Zeigler the chance to test-dive his magnificently restored Siebe Gorman hand-operated air pump. Frank's father-in-law and Historical Diving Society member, Charles Peart, restored the dilapidated pump over a period of almost twelve months. If ever there was a prime example of the worthwhile work undertaken by skilful members of the HDS Aus-Pac, the re-birth of this superb pump is it. Charles certainly had his work cut out, as the pump had served as a garden ornament in a Sydney home for almost 20 years, before it was rescued by HDS member, Allan Kessler. The teak wooden case and internal machinery was severely weather worn and rusted. But, in the right hands, even a derelict apparatus such as this classic air pump has been returned to a useful life. It worked smoothly and provided air to several helmet divers, who had the opportunity to use it over the weekend. HDS Aus-Pac members were full of praise for Charles's excellent work, just another aspect of the preservation work done by HDS Aus-Pac, who see to it that our diving history stays alive.

MY TIME, PETER STONE: Victoria. I started diving back in 1970 as a result of a quickie scuba course operated by a couple of entrepreneurs, a work colleague Clive Budd, and VFL footballer and sport's store owner Barry Donnegan. In those days most of my diving was from shore with the Hawthorn Scuba Club under the leadership of Ted Chaplet, a genuine pioneer of scuba. It didn't take long before I became interested in shipwrecks, a rewarding pursuit in those pre-legislation days taking me to all states of Australia, and in 1978 I called and formed the Maritime Archaeology Association of Victoria. In 1980 I collaborated with Australia's foremost maritime historian and author Jack Loney to produce Australia's Island Shipwrecks, followed a year later with the small book publication on shipwrecks, High and Dry. Diver politics was very much the go in the seventies, with interesting verbal battles between the long standing Australian Underwater Federation and the Scuba Divers Federation of Australia. I became the founding Administration Manager of the SOFA after a stint as Secretary of the very active Scuba Divers Federation of Victoria under the professional administration of then president Toby Stewart.

Peter Stone.

Several years of politics was enough. I had done my bit. During this time I received a call from Barry Andrewartha, editor and publisher of Skindiving in Australia magazine (now Sportdiving) and became a regular contributor. This was my start In a profession as a photographer/writer, and later publisher. I also became involved in the Oceans Congress and Underwater Film Festival, eventually running the show with Barry Andrewartha and our respective wives at the time. Oceans is the forerunner of the dive industry show now in Sydney. During all this time I kept a nine-to-five executive job as computer manager for Nissan Motor Company. Clive and the two Barrys literally changed my life for which I am most grateful. In 1983 I joined my wife Janis in developing Aquarius/Dive Travel Australia as a leading dive travel company in Australia. Aquarius and Jan have now gone the way that all good things, but during its day we had a good life, travelling extensively to most popular dive sites in the Pacific and SE Asia. Our company contributed to the opening up of diving in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomons, Maldives and Bali. I then became a full time photojournalist; I travelled, wrote, took photographs, published material, supplied shots for advertising, magazines and books and went on a non-optional diet that, presumably, helped to develop a relationship with a remarkable woman, primary teacher and educationalist Wendy Bouker. In an attempt to "start a new life" we packed up our belongings, shipped them up to Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, but never made it - we decided to live in South Gippsland (eastern Victoria), and bought a fine old building in the township of Yarram, east of Wilsons Promontory. I have a publishing and book distribution business Oceans Enterprises, and have published several books for other authors, including the late maritime author Jack Loney; and edited and published the remarkable "The Last New Guinea Salvage Pirate" by Fritz Herscheid. My own magnum opus was the definitive work on the war in New Britain, "Hostages to Freedom", "The Fall of Rabaul". Also "The Lady and the President"- "The Loss of the SS President Coolidge", and the Encyclopedia of Australian Shipwrecks which took many years to prepare. And now, Dive Australia edition five has taken about two years to complete, a massive work of a thousand pages - and my last. In 1998 I was the inaugural recipient of the Victorian Government's Jack Loney Award, being cited for: 'In recognition for his outstanding contribution to the preservation of Australia's maritime heritage through his community role as a maritime and dive adventure writer, lobbyist, publisher and photographer'. I also have Recognition Award from the Government of Papua New Guinea. For contribution in services to the development of Papua New Gunea, awarded on the occasion of their 25 years of independence. I no longer write, and whereas I do not wish to admit it to myself, I no longer dive. I am a founding member and Treasurer of the local University of the Third Age; and am passively active in the Historic Diving Society. I'm still consulted on various recreational diving matters by organisations and individuals but the so-called "expertise" is now old hat. Wendy, teenage son Sam and I live ten-minutes out of Yarram township on a very pleasant country property. I also have a wonderful adult daughter Catherine and two grand-children. I am in semi-retirement mode and haven't dived in the last few years but I just may have to resurrect my old diving gear as Sam has taken an enthusiastic interest. It's a cliché I know but I have always believed that the more you put into an organisation or activity the more you get out of it. I put a lot into diving both personally and administratively and have reaped the rewards. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity in my life and cherish the hundreds of friends that I have made, and the marvellous diving I have experienced. My log books will always remind me of the many wonderful divers I have dived with and enjoyed their social company.

DIVE AUSTRALIA, QUEENSLAND: Queensland. Most people will immediately start dreaming of the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, and it is rightly the pinnacle of diving. Along with the amazing Great Barrier Reef there are also a range of spectacular dive sites in the Sunshine State for divers to enjoy. Starting at the New South Wales Border, Queensland's coast stretches close to 7,000 kilometres and houses 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. The Great Barrier Reef is without a doubt the most famous dive location in Australia and, arguably, the world. It has inspired tens of thousands of people to try scuba diving and experience the underwater realm. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system and is home to over 1,500 species of fish, 600 types of corals as well as whales, dolphins, rays, sharks and turtles. Cairns and Port Douglas are the two most popular hubs from which divers can access the Great Barrier Reef, however some operators also depart from Brisbane. If time allows, we recommend trying a live aboard trip so you can simply dive, eat and sleep, day in and day out. Further south, off the coast of Townsville, is the SS Yongala, one of the world's most accessible and popular wreck dives. This 109 metre vessel was once a luxury passenger ship, but after sinking in 1911 it has become home to thousands of marine creatures including turtles, giant groupers, barracuda, eagle rays, yellow tail demoiselles, Maori wrasse and sea snakes. The SS Yongala is an enchanting dive but also quite challenging - make sure your skills match the requirements. Another incredible region is the coastline and islands between Townsville and the Sunshine Coast. The famous hub of Airlie Beach provides a great gateway to the northern part of this coastline and pristine islands. Bowen, Mackay, Hayman Island and Hamilton Island are popular and incredible destinations to explore. In this region you will be spoilt for choice with exciting day trips to enjoy. Marine life including manta rays, whales and sharks make this area popular for divers from across the globe. As you head south along this coast, Bunderberg, Lady Elliot Island and Heron Island are also great places to explore the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. Stunning reefs, walls and marine life will make a PADI course or dive trip here, truly a memorable one. Not all of Queensland's fabulous diving is located up north of the state. Easily accessible from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast is Flinders Reef which hosts multiple dive sites, more than 175 species of fish, 112 species of coral and a Turtle Cleaning Station. Between June and September, you may also come across a Humpback Whale on your way to Flinders Reef. From this region you can also get a boat down to the Cook Island Marine Sanctuary, situated on the New South Wales border. This site was declared an aquatic reserve in 1998 in order to protect the marine biodiversity, Leopard and shovel nose sharks, wobbegongs and stingrays are in abundant here, as well as a wide array of pelagic and reef fish. Turtles can be found at dive sites year round, a bottle nose dolphins have been known to make the odd appearance. For world class dive sites and year round fabulous weather, make Queensland your next dive destination.

FIVE AMAZING AUSTRALIAN DIVE SITES: All States. We want to shine the spotlight on some other amazing dive destinations from around Australia. With diverse conditions and varying marine life, there are countless other places worth exploring right around the country. Here are five such places. Ningaloo reef, Western Australia. Just off the coast of Western Australia is one of the longest fringing reefs in the world. The beauty of diving here is that you can step off the stunning white sandy beaches and straight into an underwater wonderland. The Ningaloo Marine Park covers the entire reef and has provided protection for the abundance of marine life that calls the reef home, dugongs, turtles, manta rays, humpback whales and, famously, whale sharks, who appear between April and July each year. This truly is an unspoiled wonder of nature and diving here is an unforgettable experience. Kangaroo Island, South Australia. It may not be Australia's most famous coastline but the South Australian coastline is something to marvel at. For a unique diving experience, head straight to Kangaroo Island, just off the mainland below Adelaide. Under the water's surface, a kaleidoscope of colour awaits you along the incredible coral walls. You'll also dive alongside leafy sea dragons - if you can spot them - despite being slow swimmers, their camouflage makes them difficult to see. If you're looking for a more challenging dive, there are more than 50 recorded ship wrecks around Kangaroo Island to explore. The narrow passageway is the reason for the high number of wrecks and many of them can be explored by following the Kangaroo Island Shipwreck Trail, which circle's the island. Fish Rock Cave, NSW. Fish Rock Cave is a spectacular dive site at South West Rocks, located halfway between Sydney and Brisbane. All you can see above the water is a simple rock, but what lies beneath is one of the largest ocean caverns in the Southern Hemisphere. Fish Rock Cave allows you to have a whole range of diving experiences at the one site. Begin your dive by descending and enter the tunnel at a depth of 24 metres - at this point, look down to admire the incredible site of numerous wobbegong sharks resting on the bottom. Then ascend up one of two vertical chimneys, with just your torch to pierce through the darkness, this is an ascent that will stand out in your memory for years to come. If you dive at the right time of year, you'll see the giant male cuttlefish with their colours on display. As one of the few diving sites in Australia where grey nurse sharks can be found all year round, here you'll see the endangered sharks emerge from the cave in spectacular fashion. Rye Pier, Victoria. Rye Pier, just over an hour's drive from Melbourne's CBD, is arguably one of the most interesting pier dives on the Mornington Peninsula. Hidden just under the water's surface is a haven of unique marine creatures. This dive site is shallow, making it perfect for beginners, it's recommended that you dive at high tide - or better still, try a night dive here. Once the sun goes down, the true beauty of this dive site is revealed. Witness the beauty of calamari squid communicating via changes in their body colour and admire the blue ringed octopuses as you pass by. Rye Pier is also home to the spider crab migration that sees hundreds of thousands of crabs gather. Seeing this invasion of crabs is truly unique and divers at Rye Pier can be lucky enough to experience it first hand. Munro Bright, Tasmania. In Ideal conditions, such as those in parts of Tasmania, Giant Kelp will grow more than 50cm per day forming towering columns up to 20 metres. It's the largest marine plant and there are few places in the world where you can dive amongst it. In Tasmania you'll find one of best examples of these forests still existing today. The Giant Kelp Forest creates a shaded environment that forms a unique marine ecosystem. The large plants protect many marine species - weedy sea dragons, trumpeter fish, sea urchins and sea stars, all of which find their home in the giant kelp forests. The beauty of giant kelp forests is in the way that light dances amongst the plants. The subtlety of rays of light peering through creates a feeling of tranquillity you're unlikely to find anywhere else.

EARLY DIVING AT MT GAMBIER: South Australia. I Christopher Deane have been sorting through some pictures that veteran diver Igo Oak has of diving in the sink holes and caves in the Mount Gambier area in the 1960s, way before the Cave Divers Association of Australia was formed in September 1973. This was the era of true exploration, with sink holes and caves   were being discovered and dived for the first time. Equipment was at best basic mask, fins, wet suit, tank and regulator. Torches were 'D' cell with incandescent bulbs or even a Dolphin water proof torch with bike valve to pressurize it. For buoyancy control, no

Early scuba divers at Mt Gambiers sink hole.

BCD's -you just took your weight belt off at three metres and if still over-weighted you had to fin a little harder. Some of the early BCDs when they were available were very interesting, and mainly orally inflated with the weirdest the New Zealand horse collar boasting a phallic inflator hose. Ladders were home made rope with wooden rungs and you just went over the edge of the sink hole holding on tight. It has given me the missing piece of diving history that I've needed for one of my projects that is in the pipe line for completion. 

 

HAVE YOU SEEN A MERMAID: Sydney. According to state records there were no official registrations of mermaid births in the greater Sydney region. I (Karen Hoffman) am registered, but as a full human. I have been advised that this commonly occurs, especially with mermaids, as we are quite shy when it comes to public displays of tails. Having struggled with this for 25 years I realised around the mid 1990s that I could more easily hide my mermaidness by using external breathing sources so I became a certified diver. I was working on Great Keppel Island at the time as a sea kayak guide and recreation officer. Being surrounded by my natural environment, the ocean, it seemed only fitting to explore what lay underneath the big blue. I would dive every opportunity I had during my 2 years on Keppel and logged around 40 dives during that time. Over the next 10 years or so I would do just a few dives whenever I went travelling. I took the risk and returned to dive here again. I am not one to return to the same destination simply because I believe experiences are tough to recreate as it is not just the destination that has created the memory. It is the combination of the place, the people, personal mindset and recollection.

Karen Hoffman.

Having time to dive more regularly in the past 5 years I have been fortunate to dive some truly spectacular sites, in Australia and overseas. In Australia my diving has spanned from Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea, all the way down the east coast of Queensland and NSW, with just one dive (because it was so cold) in South Australia at Rapid Bay jetty and an earlier trip to Rottnest island in WA. Having dived around 30 different sites around Australia, I can safely say there was something memorable about each one. In terms of wrecks, The Yongala had the most amazing amount of marine life including many of my favourite Olive Sea Snakes. I first encountered these critters when taking people on sea kayak and snorkelling trips around the islands and beaches of Keppel Bay. They have been my favourite ever since, closely followed by octopus. Although the Yongala had incredible displays of marine life, the ex-HMAS Brisbane is to date my favourite wreck dive as this was the first time I was able to penetrate a wreck and explore inside. The marine life has increased over the years I have dived there; however, it is the story and images I create in my imagination about it's past as I go through each section of the wreck that makes this such an enjoyable wreck dive for me. My role as a lecturer I tutor in Tourism at the University of Queensland, combined with my research topic for my PhD studies (reef conservation education for reef tourists), is the result of my previous work experience in the tourism and travel industry as well as my passion for diving and wanting to ensure that I (and my children -both divers) can continue to dive well preserved sites. I felt I would have more credibility in my role if I had completed a professional certification, so I completed my Rescue course with Cooly Dive then a year later commenced my Dive Master training with Go Dive in Brisbane. Not only did my diving knowledge increase, and when I go diving, it is not just the underwater marvels that make this so important to me. It is the community of fellow divers with I can share my experiences and get excited about theirs. The only downside is the more divers I listen to, the more my bucket list gets. I have not come across a single mermaid during my travels.

VAST UNDERWATER FORESTS HAVE GONE MISSING FROM THE SYDNEY COASTLINE: Sydney. Thanks to the Nature Glenelg Trust's NGT Newsletter, a vast underwater forests have gone missing from the Sydney's coastline, with repercussions for local fish, abalone, crayfish, and coastal marine biodiversity. We have a solution, but the ocean needs your help. It goes on to say, Crayweed (Phyllospora comosa) once formed dense beds on shallow reefs all along the Sydney coastline, but sometime during the 1980s it all disappeared, Crayweed can either be male or female and their sexually produced babies attach permanently to the reef, forming the basis of a new, self-sustaining population. And this loss of underwater forest went unnoticed and unreported in the scientific literature until 2008.

DES WALTERS: Fifty Years of Continuous Diving. Albury. Des learnt to dive in 1966 with the New South Wales Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) and over the next 20 years served the VRA as Senior Diving Instructor, Treasurer and Secretary. His efforts were recognised in 1979 with Honorary Life Membership. In 1979 Des started Descend Underwater Training Centre in Albury and at that time it was one of the only SCUBA centres outside the capital cities. In 1992 Descend was the first school to become accredited as a Commercial Diver Training School with NSW Workcover. This system was later absorbed into the Australian Diver Accreditation System (ADAS) in 1998. Descend set many training milestones including being the first civilian contractor to train Police Divers in Queensland, ACT and Victoria and the first ADAS school to seed other new commercial diver training schools in South Australia, New Zealand and Istanbul in Turkey. In 2003 Descend won "Best Micro Business in NSW" in the Commonwealth Government and Telstra Business awards. This elevated them into open competition and they won "Best Small Business in NSW" then "Best Micro Business in Australia". In July 1999 ADAS presented Des with an "Award for Hyperbaric Excellence" for his work in Hyperbaric Tunnelling. In a long career Des has earned an amasing range of diving qualifications including Instructor Trainer with FAUI, NASDS, SSI, DAN and IANTD, Diver Trainer Assessment Manager with ADAS, ADAS level 3 supervisor with Trimix, Cave Diving Instructor with CDAA, Examiner with RLSSA, Diplomas as both Dive Manager and Diver Trainer as well as an Advanced Diploma of Occupational Diving - Dive Project Manager, HTNA Hyperbaric Technician Grade 1, Diver Medical Technician, TQS Level 3 SCUBA Technician- Senior Technical Trainer and CMAS Master Instructor 155. Des holds ADAS certification number 001. Acting as the National Director of NASDS from 1996 to 1998 Des was part of the ADAS Board of Directors from 2003 to   sat on the Standards Australia SF17 committee for Occupational Diving. As an author Des contributed heavily to ADAS diving texts, co-wrote the "The FAUI Divemaster's Manual", "The Porpoise Australian Diving Technology the World Copied" and wrote "The Hyperbaric Tunnel Worker's Handbook" and "The Hyperbaric Tunnelling Lock Operator's Handbook" both of which are now standard ADAS texts. Des sold Descend in 2007 and now operates Pressureworx as an independent Hyperbaric Tunnelling Consultancy. Pressureworx has completed major tunnelling projects in Hong Kong, Thailand, UAE, USA and has worked on every major hyperbaric tunnel in Australia. With a dive on his seventieth birthday Des has completed 50 years of continuous diving with over 7000 dives.

TORCHLIGHT RESCUE: Perth.  A scuba diver has survived eight hours in the Indian ocean overnight after becoming separated from his boat, leaving rescuers marvelling at his 16km epic swim to shore. the 46-year-old had been diving near Geraldine on Thursday when he resurfaced and couldn't find his vessel, which had drifted off. After choppy conditions foiled searchers' rescue effort, the diver swam toward the torch lights of his family member scouring the shoreline. They found him on the beach about an hour later. Lucky diver.

SCUBA DIVERS FINDS BODY IN RIVER: Sydney. Swimmers at a popular South Coast camping spot tried desperately to save a young Sydney man who drowned whilst on holidays with a big group of family and friends.  The 23-year-old was riding some kind of floating device down the Shoalhaven River at Coolendel about 3pm when he got into trouble and disappeared under the water. Despite a lengthy search by his and others at the camp ground, the man could not be found and police divers were called in. Bad light halted the rescue operation on Saturday night and the man's body was located yesterday morning near where he disappeared. Inspector Rob Vergano said conditions were perfect on the river and despite recent rain, there were no adverse conditions. Dozens of campers were enjoying the favorable weather weather when the accident happened, Insp Vergano said. "The man was floating down some rapids and there were numerous other people doing it as well and as he got into the deeper water he appeared to get into trouble", he said. "There were a fair few people in there at the time so a lot of campers banded together to try locate the an before emergency services arrived". Insp Vergano said there was no suggestion the man was acting inappropriately before the incident but was unable to comment on whether alcohol may have been involved.

DIVERS DIE IN "PERFECT STORM" ON THE BARRIER REEF: Cairns. A tragic "perfect storm" on a Great Barrier Reef snorkelling trip resulted in the deaths of two elderly French tourist and led to another having to be resuscitated. The two victims a man, 76, and a woman, 74, suffered suspected heart attack and drowned at Michaelmas Cay, off Cairns, about 11am. Another elderly visitor, believed to be a partner of one of the victim, collapsed and had to be revived with oxygen and treated for shock as the drama unfolded. They were part of a group of 21 elderly French tourists on a reef day trip aboard the Passions of Paradise catamaran. It is believed the pair, who had pre-existing medical condition, may have choked on seawater swallowed through their snorkels and, in a state of panic had a cardiac arrest and drowned in shallow water.  Passions of Paradise chief executive Scott Garden described the event as a "traumatic and stressful situation" for passengers and crew. He said there was a lookout on the beach, another on the boat and two snorkel guides in the water. "The lookout on the beach noticed a man floating in the water and pulled him to the sand cay where he performed CPR". Mr Garden said."The lookout on the boat saw a woman floating in the water and pulled her on the catamaran where CPR was performed". The two fatalities take the reef tourist death toll to eight this year.

BARRIER REEF: Third scuba diver die in 3 days: Cairns. A British scuba diver died whilst diving on the Great Barrier Reef, just two days after two French divers lost their lives diving near Cairns. The 60-year-old man was found on the sea floor during a certified dive at Agincourt Reef. Reports said his regulator was not in his mouth at a depth of 15 metres. Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators executive director Col McKenzie said the man was brought to the surface and taken on-board the Quicksilver Group's Silversonic vessel. Crew members tried to resuscitated the man and an emergency doctor was flowen to the helicopter landing pad on the reef, about 100 kilometres north of Cairns, where he was met by the dive boat. The doctor assisted with CPR but the diver was pronounced dead soon afterwards and the boat returned to shore. Mr McKenzie said resuscitation efforts were not successful despite the dive boat having oxygen and defibrillation equipment on-board. On Wednesday, French divers Jacques Goron, 76, and Danielle Franck, 74, died at Michaelmas Cay, off Cairns, while scuba diving.

SEA OF GOLD: Port Lincoln. The odds of being killed in a shark attack is around four million to one. So that's what makes it all  the more incredible that all the divers in the documentary series Abalone Waters have either survived an attack or known people who were taken. No matter how close they come to tragedy, they seem unwilling to give it up. They love the lifestyle, but there's also serious money to be made. You have the potential to make a million-dollar catch, but not everyone will come home. Each diver deals with the danger in different ways. Some are ultra-caution, using shark shields or cages. David Buckland, 53, had terrible feelings of guilt and grief after he ushered his younger brother Paul into the industry, only for the 23-year-old to be killed by a great white shark in 2002. "I nearly gave it away. But I decided that I wasn't going to let it beat me and, I'd just do it as safe as possible," he said. He built a shark cage with an air-driven propeller for protection, which he drives at sharks to scare them off. He knows four people taken by sharks. Now his son Max wants to get into the industry. Darryl Carrison, 50, wears chain mail suit for protection, but embraces the danger. "I must like the risk of what I do." he says, with a big grin. "Sometimes I hum the theme to Jaws when I'm down there." Port Lincoln 280 kilometers from Adelaide has made the town home to more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in Australia. Greg Pickering, 58, his face looks wrinkled, but they're actually the scars from a truly horrific attack. He was diving for abalone in 2013 about 160 kilometers east of Esperance when everything went black and he felt intense pain in his head and shoulder. He thought it was the boat propeller, until h e recognized the "trashing sound of teeth on bone" from another shark attack he'd survived years earlier. The attack lasted about 15 seconds and left him without a mask or regulator. "I couldn't really recall being inside its mouth but I was because it had its jaw over my back and one of its teeth, from the very back of its jaw broke off in my eye". Virtually blind and with no air Pickering faced a terrifying race to the surface hoping desperately the shark wouldn't strike again. "I just launched myself into the boat, landed on the deck with blood everywhere I immediately felt relieved I was away from danger." He somehow made it to hospital in Perth eight hours later, and needed hundreds of stitches. Incredibly, after the attack on October he returned to diving at Christmas that same year. "It's too late for me now to do anything else. I've been diving all my life. It's pretty hard to give up something you have a passion for like that," he says. Neil Rodd, trained by Peter Clarkson, who was taken by a great white in 2011, nearly died three timed when he was stalked by sharks last year. After two hours at depth collecting abalone, sharks kept buzzing him as he was hanging mid water to decompress to avoid "the bends." "I felt chills. " he says. I looked over to my side and there was a 14 foot (4 meter) white pointer swimming alongside me three meters away, looking straight at me. Forced to protect himself on the bottom for 20 minutes after he spotted more sharks, he eventually made a break for the surface, only to nearly drown as he was bashed time and time again against the rocks by waves. Struck with agonizing decompression sickness he recovered thanks to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and a hyperbaric chamber in Adelaide. Abalone diver Bucky has little time for those who argue that the ocean is the shark's domain. Divers blame the increase in great white numbers on "dickheads in concrete jungles" and the demise of shark fishing. Twenty years ago it was rare for a diver to see a shark. "Last year I saw three, this year I've seen two. I'd be happy to see the last shark hanging on a hook at the end of the dock. "There will be more sharks until they do something about it. "Bucky says.

BID TO STOP REEF DEATHS: Cairns. Tourists face strict health checks in a top-level review of the industry after 18 deaths on the Great Barrier Reef. An inquest into a recent reef dive death uncovered a "string of safety failures" in the $1.2 billion-a-year tourist trade on the 2300km coral reef off the Queensland coast, which attracts two million visitors a year. Dive medicals, electronic counting and coronial recommendation on standards for first time divers will be part of the review by experts, policy-makers and reef operators.

SHARK'S BIG TRIP FOR A BITE: Lord Howe Island. A juvenile male shark tagged on the state's north coast two months ago is en route back to Australia after stopping by New Zealand and Norfolk Island. Clocking almost 70km a day, the great white, codenamed Shark 48, transmitted its last whereabouts shortly before 2.30pm on Wednesday in waters near Lord Howe Island. Also cruising the deep is another juvenile male, shark 9, which has travelled a staggering 10,000km since being tagged in October last year, cruising to Tasmania and New Zealand while also doing laps off the Sydney coast. The sharks are among 67 great whits tagged since a state government program was rolled out in Australia last year after a spate of attacks. With summer holidays approaching, the government has ramped up its shark management program, with three more tagged this week, including a 2.6m female caught in Tuncurry on the north coast, yesterday. Smart drums lines have also been rolled out along with the installation of the last of 20 listening stations. The measures are on top of a shark net trial at Ballina to be rolled out before the start of the school holidays. The Department of Primary Industries is hoping to have 100 sharks tagged by the  end of next year, although saltwater conditions are wreaking havoc with the technology. Primary Industries Minister Neill Blare said the data was critical in working out shark movement patterns and identifying high-risk areas. "Whilst there is no silver bullet to this divisive issue, the government will continue to listen to feedback to make sure beaches-goers are safe and coastal communities thrive." he said.

WOMEN IN DIVING: Sydney. PADI sat down with Dr. Erika Sullivan, a Canadian veterinarian now living and working in Australia. She discussed her passion for sharks and what inspired her to become a PADI Professional.  Tell us about your work with sharks. Where did your passion for these majestic creatures come from? As a young child, I wanted to become a whale veterinarian - large creatures in the sea fascinated me! I pursued my dream to help animals by studying veterinary medicine. Since graduation I have traveled abroad to volunteer helping animals in shelters, many of these destinations were coastal. Sharks were mysterious, unique, and the possibility of seeing them and swimming with them made my world spin with excitement. After seeing my first shark, a Grey Nurse Shark, while diving in Sydney's waters, I started to wonder what was it about these mysterious, amazing creatures that inspired me, and yet others were so afraid of? I want to change the world's attitude towards sharks. What inspired you to become a PAD! Instructor? Both in my veterinarian training and PADI Instructor training, I have been fortunate to have been influenced by mentors and role models that broadened my awareness on each industry. One of the things I love about scuba diving is how excited divers can be upon exiting the waters; about what they saw, the photographs they've taken, or the interesting behaviors they witnessed by sea creatures on their dive. Nobody with that enthusiasm for diving and the ocean would want it to disappear. After I began working as a PADI Divemaster, I realized that my continued training, experience, and enthusiasm could have the same effect on divers-in-training. By assuming a role of mentor, I could be in a position to educate student divers, dispel their unprecedented fears of sharks, and be a role model for ocean conservation. What is your most memorable dive experience? My most memorable dive experience was a three-day live-aboard Great White Shark Expedition with the Rodney Fox Foundation, in South Australian waters. Apart from being my first live-aboard, it was also the only live-aboard that I have since been on that was dedicated to diving for observation and science of one species alone, the Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias). Diving in a cage that was lowered to the ocean floor allowed us to witness Great White Shark behaviour underwater. Repetitive close encounters showed us their unique anatomic adaptations, and one shark had an injury that was clearly a result of mankind. Overall, what I appreciated most from this expedition was that contrary to popular belief that such an experience would leave me terrified to dive in South Australian waters, quite the opposite was true. What's one piece of advice you'd give to female divers looking to become a PAD! Instructor or make a career of diving? Don't let gender or size bias you into believing you can't be the best instructor you aspire to be. Scuba diving is a sport favoured by all: children, young adults, women, men, elderly and even those with physical disabilities. Maintaining a positive attitude, a good level of fitness, achieving training by PADI Dive Professionals, and feeling confident diving within your limits will prepare you. Turning your passion a career will not only enable you to enjoy your daily work, but it will reflect in your training of others, who will then become the advocates you've inspired them to be. Becoming a dive leader and professional will expand your own opportunities and help you discover new interests and passions without even realizing it.

A SALUTE TO BARRY ANDREWARTHA: Melbourne. If a life-time devoted to the promotion of Australian skin and scuba diving through magazine publication does not qualify Barry Andrewartha for a salute and thank you. It would be almost impossible to quantify and acknowledge the positive influence Barry has had on the Australian diving scene, over some 50 years. I can think of no other country where one person and his amazing publishing team have made such a continuous and enthusiastic contribution to sport diving. Barry developed a fascination with marine life and the underwater world as a small child, during visits to the beach at Williamstown in Victoria. That interest progressed to acquisition of mask, snorkel and fins and an introduction to spearfishing in 1952 at age 11. His passion for diving was fueled by books and early moving images by overseas divers, Hans Hass and later by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. At 14, Barry entered the printing industry following a family tradition set by his father and grandfather before him and was soon contributing articles to Down Under Magazine, the magazine of the Victorian-based Black Rock Dive Club, where he was a member. By 1960, he was contributing to the Australian Skindivers Magazine and became Victorian Editor assisting the Editor, Jack Evans, in production by drawing on his knowledge of the printing industry. Between 1966 and 1970 Barry authored and co-wrote five books on diving and spearfishing in Victoria, Southern and Northern NSW and Southern Queensland, and included notes on diving gear, fish species and techniques. In response to a growing interest in diving and spearfishing, plus a gap in the market, he launched Skindiving in Australia magazine (later Sportdiving) in 1970, which underwent several minor name changes to reflect its growing circulation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. At its peak, it reached 160 pages with gate-fold, plus a series of booklets on a range of subjects delivered to subscribers in 48 different countries and a reputation as a world leader. Sportdiving Magazine had a life-span of 47 years thanks to the fantastic input from Belinda Barnes and the amazing MOTPUB staff, until its final issue in June of this year. In 1988 Barry and Belinda Barnes launched the first issue of Dive Log magazine, which, after 28 years of monthly publications and 339 issues to October 2016, is still the voice of Australian sport diving! It now includes the best columns from Sportdiving Magazine, printed on quality art paper in full colour throughout and showcasing the best underwater photographers. Dive Log can also be read online at www.divelog.net.au via a flip page version, with a worldwide readership via it's amazing iPad App and whilst its Facebook page enjoys an international following. 1993 saw the launch of another successful title, which today is called International Freediving and Spearfishing News, now entering its 24th year and also with an established print and online international readership. Your reporter has very happy memories of the fantastic Oceans Congresses, which were held at Monash University usually over the Queens Birthday weekend, during the 1970/80s. Launched in 1974, it was the first national underwater congress and film festival for Australian Divers. A typical Oceans Congress began Friday night with a Saturday Morning forum, Saturday afternoons with a range of lectures and an International Underwater Film Festival on the Saturday night. Everyone who was anyone in the Australian and World marine/diving scene attended as a guest presenter in that 13 year period. Crowds of up to 2500 divers packed the congress year after year. The final three events incorporated the highly successful Oceans Dive & Travel Dive Expo, with crowds of over 4000 visitors for the dive show. They were among the best attended dive shows ever run in Australia. Maintaining an interest in all aspects of diving, Barry and Lindsay Stewart set up Divers Supplies Australia in 1976, an importing and distribution company handling the Beuchat Jetfins

Barry Andrewartha

Agency from France. Prior to its sale in 1994 the importing company had become one of the biggest in Australia, acting as agents for most of the world's top equipment manufacturers. Barry formed his own Freediving and Spearfishing importing company in 1995, importing Immersion and J.B Esclapez from France, Omer-Sub from Italy, C4 from Italy and more recently Salvimar and Fluyd from Italy, plus his own range of Pelagic gear. Today, it is the largest specialised importer of Freediving and Spearfishing gear in Australia. Between 1993 and 2004 Barry was behind the popular series of one night events in Sydney and around Australia titled 'A Night of Adventure'. The hugely successful events were hosted by such well-known diving personalities as Bob Talbot, Jean Michel Cousteau, Dr. Joe Mcinnis, Phil Nuytten, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Emeroy Kristoff and others. The series of events was followed by the 'Blue On Tour' series from 2008 till 2012. These one-night events were also a great success at the University of NSW in Randwick, Sydney. Mention must also be made of the highly successful series of Heron Island Dive Festivals, held in conjunction with P&O Resorts and James Bailee between 1974 and 1987. Sportdiving Magazine organised the keynote speakers and other guest speakers, plus all the prevalent publicity. Another successful events were the Hideaway Island Vanuatu Dive Festival and Photo Shootout between 1997 and 2005 and the Off-The-Wall dive festival at Layang Layang Resort in Malaysia ( 1999 - 2001) .The most ambitious event of all was the International Celebration of the Ocean festival in Fiji in 1977. Participants attended from all over the world and without a huge effort from Curley Carswell and the Fiji Dive Operators Association the event would never had been the success it was - a huge event which was never repeated! Barry is the first to admit that he has been blessed with great friends, great staff and great support committees on so many events and activities as an Editor/Publisher through the golden years of Australian dive publishing.

DIVE DEATH ON THE REEF: Cairns. A tourist has died on a diving trip about 40 kilometres off the Cains coastline, the fifth fatality at the Great Barrier Reef in three months. The man in his 60s was pulled from the water of Moore Reef about 12.15 pm on Wednesday. It is believed he suffered a heart attack whilst hanging on to a life ring 5m from the boat on which he was travelling. Ten people dies on the reef last year. Most of those victims were elderly and had per-existing medical conditions.

A POKE IN THE FISH EYE: Sydney. When it comes to catching fish, a lot of the fishing media and in particular fishing TV shows seem to have a nasty habit of making out it's all really easy. Simply drive out to sea and hook the biggest fish in the ocean and you are home by lunchtime. In reality this couldn't be further from the truth. Fishing is hard enough any day, but when you have to make it into a TV series as well, not only do you have to find and catch the fish, but you also need to make it look the part on camera and ensure the crew get all the necessary shots. The old industry saying "don't work with kids or animals" is true but its nothing compared to fish. When it comes to catching fish, a lot of the fishing media and in particular fishing TV shows seem to have a nasty habit of making out it's all really easy. simply drive out to sea and hook to the biggest fish in the ocean and 'U"e home by lunchtime. In reality this couldn't be further from the truth. Fishing is hard enough bn many days, but when you have to fnake it into a TV series as well, not only do you have to find and catch the fish, but you also need to make it look the part on camera and ensure the crew get all the necessary shots. The old industry saying "don't work with kids or animals" is true but frs nothing compared to fish. Always watch the birds and investigate any concentration when hunting bait balls. Always approach slowly, never charge in, as engine noise can stop the action. Have everything ready before you pull up because when the action starts its chaotic. The new series of Fish'n With . Mates kicked off last Saturday on Channel9. I didn't even get to watch it because I was out at sea searching for baitball action to film underwater for the upcoming series. Now this may sound glamorous but sitting in a wetsuit on a hot day is anything but. Worse still, we were trapped in this weird sea fog that made finding anything on the south coast near-impossible. Towards the end of the day we had drawn blanks and I was literally at boiling point in my wetty when we finally spotted some action. A patch of birds circling tight, along with seals and dolphins kicking around, signalled a bait ball was happening. Excitedly, we edged in closer and soon spotted a brown smudge of tightly packed bait. This was it and I slipped into the blue, expecting to see mayhem with dolphins, seals, sharks and marlin crashing through the terrified bait. Instead I was greeted by a school of tiny leatherjackets. With a terrified look that was almost comical they raced over to me - me being a convenient hiding place from big bad creatures. I was hoping the predators would follow, but they had all finished lunch and gone, leaving me with some new-found friends. The threadfin leatherjacket is a tiny oceanic species that only grows to 20cm. It's amazing to think that such small fish live kilometres offshore in hundreds of metres of water. You'd think in deep waterAlways watch the birds and investigate any concentration when hunting bait balls. Always approach slowly, never charge in, as engine noise can stop the action. Have everything ready before you pull up because when the action starts its chaotic. The new series of Fish'n With Mates kicked off last Saturday on Channel 9. I didn't even get to watch it because I was out at sea searching for bait-ball action to film underwater for the upcoming series. Now this may sound glamorous but sitting in a wet suit on a hot day is anything but. Worse still, we were trapped in this weird sea fog that made finding anything on the south coast near-impossible. Towards the end of the day we had drawn blanks and I was literally at boiling point in my wetty when we finally spotted some action. A patch of birds circling tight, along with seals and dolphins kicking around, signalled a bait ball was happening. Excitedly, we edged in closer and soon spotted a brown smudge of tightly packed bait. This was it and I slipped into the blue, expecting to see mayhem with dolphins, seals, sharks and marlin crashing through the terrified bait. Instead I was greeted by a school of tiny leatherjackets. With a terrified look that was almost comical they raced over to me being a convenient hiding place from big bad creatures. I was hoping the predators would follow, but they had all finished lunch and gone, leaving me with some new-found friends. The thread-fin leatherjacket is a tiny oceanic species that only grows to 20cm. It's amazing to think that such small fish live kilometres offshore in hundreds of metres of water. You'd think in deep water there would only be big fish but in reality there is a real mix of species that inhabit the pelagic layer. As pretty as the little jackets were, they were sadly not what we had come for and despite dragging the boat for six hours down the coast we returned empty-handed. Making a fishing show is anything but easy and hopefully the next time I find these leatherjackets they will be in a tight ball surrounded by predators and I'll be able to knock over the footage and be home by lunch.

CLAWFUL DEATH: Sydney. Experts say there is no definitive verdict on whether crustaceans feel pain, after a seafood shop was fined for animal cruelty for its method of killing a lobster. While lobsters - which can shed a leg to hide from prey - respond to heat and touch, there is no clear answer as to whether they feel pain. However, Nicholas Seafood at the Sydney Fish Markets in Glebe was fined $1500 at Sydney Downing Centre court on Wednesday after the business was charged by the RSPCA with an act of animal cruelty. It was the first crustacean conviction in NSW. The RSPCA fined the store after a witness filmed a worker on January 25 carving up the lobster without stunning it, as guidelines stipulate. The video shows the lobster struggling after its tail is cut off, before being put through a band saw about 20 seconds later. RSPCA Inspector Tyson Hohlein attended the premises and said the staff member was unaware of correct procedures. "We were told it was an isolated incident and the staff member was not aware of correct procedures," he said The company pleaded guilty and was fined $1500 and a conviction has been recorded. Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fisherman's Association executive officer John Sansom said there was no conclusive proof that the creatures feel pain. "There is conflicting evidence and we take the view that people do follow the code of practice," he said. Wildcatch Fisheries president Jonas Woolford said fining was over the top and research on whether lobster's felt pain was not definitive. "I think educating is a better path rather than just filming someone," he said Professional Fishermens Association executive officer Tricia Beatty said the incident "upset" lobster fishermen who went to great lengths to keep the lobsters in a "stress-free environment" on the way to market "We spend a fortune making sure we've got a stress free environment for the lobster so it's disappointing to hear that certain seafood processes haven't abided by the guidelines."

 

Contact me at: tombyronpublishers@hotmail.com

 Go to top of page


 

Copyright: 2016. Tom Byron Chronicle of Scuba Diving in Australia The First 70 Years - 1950 To 2019.