Tuesday, 8 May 2018


Peter Kemp, Ron Taylor, Wally Gibbins (1965)

(Centre) The Australian Open 1964-1965 


January 2000 at Las Vegas, Nevada,USA for the DEMA show.  Australian legends John Sumner (left) and Wally Gibbins (far right) meet with European legend JACQUES MAYOL.
Picture courtesy John Sumner collection.

Jacques Mayol

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 10 May 2018
Jacques Mayol (1 April 1927 – 22 December 2001) was a French diving legend and the holder of many world records in free diving. The 1988 film The Big Blue, directed by Luc Besson was inspired by his life story and that of his friend, Enzo Maiorca. Mayol was one of the screenwriters and authored the book Homo Delphinus: the Dolphin Within Man of his philosophy about humans having aquatic origins.
Jacques Mayol was a French national born in ShanghaiChina.Mayol spent his summer vacations in Karatsu (Japan) every year as a child. When he was 7, he would skin dive with his older brother in seas around Nanatsugama (Japan), where he saw a dolphin for the first time. Mayol described the fateful encounter in his book, "Homo Delphinus: The Dolphin Within Man". 


At 49, he was the first free diver to descend to 100 meters (330 ft) on November 23, 1976; and when he was 56, he managed to descend to 105 meters. During the scientific research phase of his career, Mayol tried to answer the question of whether man had a hidden aquatic potential that could be evoked by rigorous physiological and psychological training.
Mayol’s lifelong passion for diving was based on his love for the ocean, his personal philosophy and his desire to explore his own limits. During his lifetime, he helped introduce the then elitist sport of free-diving into the mainstream. His diving philosophy was to reach a state of mind based on relaxation and Yoga, with which he could accomplish apnea.  He also contributed to technological advances in the field of free-diving, particularly improving assemblies used by no-limits divers. He was also instrumental in the development of scuba diving's octopus regulator, which was invented by Dave Woodward at UNEXSO around 1965-6. Woodward believed that having the safety divers carry two second stages would be a safer and more practical approach than buddy breathing in the event of an emergency. 
Mayol was already an experienced free diver when he met the Sicilian Enzo Maiorca who was the first to dive below 50m. Mayol reached 60m depth.  A friendship, as well as rivalry between the two men ensued. Their most famous records were set in the no-limits category, in which the divers are permitted to use weighted sleds to descend and air balloons for a speedy ascent. Between 1966 and 1983, Mayol was eight times no-limits world champion. In 1981 he set a world record of 61m in the constant weight discipline, using fins. In 1976 Mayol broke the 100m barrier with a no-limits 101m dive off Elba, Italy.[5] Tests showed that during this dive his heart beat decreased from 60 to 27 beats/min, an aspect of the mammalian diving reflex, a reflex more evident in whalesseals, and dolphins. Mayol’s last deep dive followed in 1983 when he reached the depth of 105m, at the age of 56. 


Mayol’s fascination with dolphins started in 1955 when he was working as a commercial diver at an aquarium in Miami, Florida.[5] There he met a female dolphin called Clown and formed a close bond with her. Imitating Clown, he learned how to hold his breath longer and how to behave and integrate himself underwater. It is the dolphins that became the foundation of Mayol’s life philosophy of "Homo Delphinus". 
Throughout his book L'Homo Delphinus (2000 published in English as Homo Delphinus: The Dolphin within Man by Idelson Gnocchi Publishers Ltd.) Mayol expounds his theories about man’s relationship with the sea where he explores the questions of whether man really has an aquatic origin. And how man could re-awaken his dormant mental and spiritual faculties and the physiological mechanisms from the depths of his psyche and genetic make-up to develop the potential of his aquatic origins, to become a Homo delphinus.
Jacques Mayol predicted that, within a couple of generations, some people would be able to dive to 200 m and hold their breath for up to ten minutes. Today the no-limits record stands at 253 m (Herbert Nitsch, June 2012). Serbian Branko Petrović holds the record for Static Apnea at 11 minutes and 54 seconds (October 2014).[6] Croatian Goran Čolak holds the record for static apnea on pure oxygen at 23 minutes 1 second (June 2014). 


The film The Big Blue, directed by Luc Besson in 1988, was inspired by his life story and the life story of the Italian diver Enzo Maiorcaand their friendship. Mayol was one of the screenwriters.


On 22 December 2001 at the age of 74, suffering depression, Mayol committed suicide by hanging himself at his villa in ElbaItaly . His ashes were spread over the Tuscany coast. 

Monday, 19 February 2018

WALLY GIBBINS - Cairns movie work (age 23)

Wally Gibbins did dangerous stand-in underwater scenes.  Cameraman was the great Noel Monkman who later owned a small theatrette showing his underwater Great Barrier Reef  films.  Theatrette was located at Green Island off Cairns, a popular destination for day-trip visitors.

Crown of Thorns starfish eating coral in significant numbers were first spotted here during the 1960's through underwater observatory windows. Later in the 1960s the problem was alarming scuba diving scientists elsewhere, especially at Guam (USA).  A major survey was instigated in 1969 by the Department of the Interior who contracted Westinghouse Ocean Research Laboratories for the project led by Dr Richard Chesher. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016


This is a blog not a website. REMEMBER:  Click OLDER POSTS  (lower right corner) to keep going and see all the entries.

Thursday, 3 December 2015


Taylor-Cropp barbless spear.  "The Search for a Shark Repellent era 1959-1962

Wally Gibbins cover shots (above). Tiger shark (left) from Sykes Reef ( Capricorn and Bunker Group 1963) - spotted first by John Gallagher. Larger 10 gauge shotgun powerhead euthanased specimen for 'scientific research' i.e. a powerhead could be used on large sharks successfully, if and when required, in defense. (Such as in a shipwreck lifeboat scenario - the Caucom Family Incident offshore Yeppoon, Qld comes to mind. No powerhead available in that tragedy where large Tiger sharks found a small drifting aluminium lifeboat with three occupants, possibly shouting at times, possibly urinating into the sea also, after a considerable time to evaluate any danger or hazard to them. tipped the vessel over in rough sea conditions then quickly 'took' two of the three occupants).

The single survivor was able to reveal these details.  A sudden storm had capsized their larger vessel.

The Grey Nurse picture did not give Wally a mention (a credit) inside the magazine. Probably at Long Reef, Sydney. Maybe an Allan Power picture.  (Shark has been speared).

Friday, 2 October 2015


Crissie Craka in The Solomon Islands
Crissie Craka

Reg Thomas of Don Tas diving and salvage company, Honiara, Solomon Islands (in 1987).  Base, now back in Australia with wife and business partner Helen.   Reflecting today on his 101 near-death experiences underwater.d in The Solomon Islands during thirty years working with explosive and war era shipwrecks in deep water.

Stern section of Ruanui wreck is about 120 feet deep. Crissie Craka with Don Tas crew.

How the EU punishes fishing nation violators. Shark fins etc.

The Solomon Islands sells fishing rights to foreign ships.  (Above news item involves a shark fin incident in PNG during August 2015).

Friday night - Social Sailing Club in Honiara.
Xyuru Maru - salvaged by Reg Thomas and towed back to Japan by his tug.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

HMS PANDORA OF 1779 (with Ben Cropp AM).

Wally Gibbins was one of the Ben Cropp crew and unable to dive due to a cold, Ron Bell was first on the shipwreck site about 110 feet deep.

The location of the wreck of the Pandora was first pin-pointed in November 1977 by a RAAF P-2V Neptune which dropped a flare where it had detected the magnetic anomaly caused by the wreck; the wreck was subsequently sighted by a diver called Ron Bell, working with documentary filmmaker Ben Cropp. On that day under the radio guidance of Ben Cropp, searchers on the ground were initially unsuccessful in pinpointing the wreck at an expected location. Also on that day a second documentary filmmaker team, led by Steve Domm, joined the search. After the wreck site was located on the following day, it was immediately declared a protected site under the Australian Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976, Messrs.Cropp and Domm sharing the maximum reward payable under that legislation. It is located approximately 5 km north-west of Moulter Cay 11°23′S 143°59′ECoordinates11°23′S 143°59′Eon the outer Great Barrier Reef, approximately 140 km east of Cape York, on the edge of the Coral Sea.
The Queensland Museum has been excavating the wreck according to a research design. Archaeologists and historians at the Museum of Tropical Queensland are still gradually fitting together pieces of the Pandora story puzzle, using the archaeological evidence as well as the extant historical evidence. A large collection of artefacts is on display at the museum.
In the course of nine seasons of excavation during the 1980s and 1990s, the museum's marine archaeological teams established that approximately 30% of the hull is preserved as a more or less intact structure (Gesner,2000:39ff) The vessel came to rest at a depth of between 30 and 33 m on a gently sloping sandy bottom, slightly inclined to starboard; consequently more of the starboard side has been preserved than the port side of the hull. Approximately one third of the overburden in which the wreck is buried has been excavated by the Queensland Museum to date; it is estimated that the remainder to be excavated amounts to approximately 350 m³. This would probably require at least another ten full-blown seasons of excavation – assuming a similar methodology and level of technology is used as on previous museum expeditions. If an expedition were to be mounted from the 2008–09 summer – and subsequently at a rate of one excavation per summer (until 2017–18) – it is estimated that at least A$9.5 million would be required to complete ten seasons of fieldwork. Additional funds (approximately between $450,000 and $550,000 p/a) would also be required to provide for salaries of at least four additional full-time, 'back-of-house' professional contract positions at the museum, until at least 2020.
For strategic and financial reasons, there are no plans to continue excavation in the foreseeable future. However, if the Queensland Museum were to continue excavation, priority would be given to the area under the stern and to the bow section of the wreck; especially to the various petty officers' storerooms that were erected in the bow at platform deck level in vessels of the Pandora's design. In addition to exposing professional and personal items belonging to the ordinary sailors and to such crew members as the carpenter and the boatswain, the forward storerooms are expected to contain a range of extra spare stores and fittings which the Pandora was carrying in anticipation of the need to refit the Bounty after her recapture. (FROM EN.WIKIPEDIA - PANDORA 1779)

Saturday, 27 December 2014

KING OF THE CORAL SEA - dramatic underwater section

Wally was part of the crew, may have been the stand-in diver underwater. Details added when we know more.  Meanwhile here is a 13 minute discovery from YouTube.  "King of the Coral Sea".