SHARK ATTACKS DINGHY

lemon shark
1. Sharks love the color red. 2. Sharks are said to be attracted to dogs 3. It’s a mistake to bump into a shark with a boat – especially when following one like the above, at any speed.

At first Ben and I thought it was a tiger shark. Now I am not so sure after receiving an email reply from John D. Stevens of Australia’s CSIRO.  Maybe it was a lemon shark after all?

John D. Stevens says: “It’s not a tiger shark, species unidentifiable”.

The confusion was came after we saw numerous tiger sharks on the reef shallows that same morning, attracted by possibly a harpooned dugong or turtle, or stingray – something large enough  when injured to  provided a stimulus attraction.

These were big sharks, 2.5 meters and upwards, with a single four meter monster seen the next day.

Unusual for so many in a tiny area without something having brought them in.

Batt Reef is a big sandy and shallow reef running some ten nautical miles in length, located off Port Douglas, Queensland.

(It’s where the TV celebrity Steve Irwin was fatally spiked in the chest by a large stingray a few months after our episode also at Batt Reef).

THE LATE HENRI BOURCE – ‘SHARK-BITE’ DIVER, SHARK HYSTERIA

Wally Gibbins was the leading shark hunter in 1975, having killed a huge Tiger shark near Heron Island in 1963.  An American sporting promoter devised an underwater shark fight to use a captive shark in a cage – to capitalize on the shark movie hysteria which had most people fearing sharks like never before.  The plan fizzled when the promoter died.  Wally missed out on one million dollars for what would have been a senseless stunt on a very confused captive predator.  Yet at the time most divers would not have taken the job.  A gross mis understanding of sharks still existed.

Meanwhile, to combat phantom pains (itches and aches etc.) in the lost lower half of a leg, Henri learned self hypnosis soon after his ‘accident’ as he called the shark attack.

The effect was, he could explain how the shark bit his leg off and almost turn the incident into humor, sometimes.

So convincing was his attitude to living normal life, without thinking I once criticized him for parking in a disabled parking space.

Henri portrait

Henri Bource led a double life. Rock musician and underwater film maker. People who knew him as diver were unaware he had toured as sax player in the Melbourne group The Thunderbirds – supporting local stars for leading USA artists of the sixties.

Henri’s life story remains untold. He is survived by wife Liz and sons Philippe and Henri Jr.

A young White Pointer shark (1963), at that time it was still a mysterious shark that had not been photographed underwater in it’s natural state, only deceased specimens had been filmed pre 1966.

Cameraman Ron Taylor put a movie camera underwater in January 1966 at Dangerous Reef, South Australia and recorded graphic footage of a small White Pointer snapping at a bait just in front of the lens.

Still frames were used to promote both JAWS and Blue Water White Death movies.  (See Fathom 2 “White Pointer”)

Henri Bource was nearby underwater and recorded the same sequence from the safety of a shark cage.  Henri’s sequence is poorly framed due to the shark cage bouncing yet is a record of the break-through event in shark photography from an alternate angle.

Ron Taylor was not leaning overboard as has been claimed on You Tube (where his film sequence can be found). Only his hands were submerged for that first sequence recorded, on later expeditions Ron would have looked over the side with more confidence. The White Pointer was an unknown species who reputation was greatly exaggerated in the Peter Benchley novel, inspired by that first sequence recorded by Ron Taylor.

(Pat Smith had suggested to his friend Peter Benchley that a good novel might be written about a shark.  Both men were sports journalists working on Newsweek at the time).

The Henri sequence is included in his  Savage Shadows.

TIGER SHARK ATTACKS; DIVER DOUG SMITH VANISHED

Doug had a dive shop at Kingscliffe and then Tweed Heads in northern New South Wales when I first knew him.

This picture was Doug at Cairns a few years later. He’d bought a charter boat and was doing well with dive trips.

Spearfishing alone one afternoon out from Cairns, he failed to return. They found his lead belt, maybe with shark teeth marks and his speargun – nothing else. We have recently learned Doug Smith was spear fishing in very hostile waters that fateful day.

COMMENT

Doug Smith had a bad habit of spear fishing on scuba and carrying the catch inside his wetsuit. (Peter Bristow, charter boat skipper).

2nd COMMENT

“I fished exactly where Doug Smith disappeared and caught eleven tiger sharks (all) over 13 feet in length and within a week of Doug’s disappearance at Pellowe Reef”. (from Shark Man by Vic Hislop).

The first tiger shark caught by Vic was a 14 footer. Within minutes it was bitten in halves by an even larger tiger shark about 17 feet long. Water depth only 25 feet and 30 meters from the edge of the reef.

Doug had a dive shop at Kingscliffe and then Tweed Heads in northern New SOuth Wales when I first knew him.

This picture was Doug at Cairns a few years later. He’d bought a charter boat and was doing well with dive trips.

Spearfishing alone one afternoon out from Cairns, he failed to return. They found his lead belt, maybe with shark teeth marks and his speargun – nothing else. We have recently learned Doug Smith was spear fishing in very hostile waters that fateful day.

COMMENT
Doug Smith had a bad habit of spear fishing on scuba and carrying the catch inside his wetsuit. (Peter Bristow, charter boat skipper).

2nd COMMENT

“I fished exactly where Doug Smith disappeared and caught eleven tiger sharks (all) over 13 feet in length and within a week of Doug’s disappearance at Pellowe Reef”. (from Shark Man by Vic Hislop).

The first tiger shark caught by Vic was a 14 footer. Within minutes it was bitten in halves by an even larger tiger shark about 17 feet long. Water depth only 25 feet and 30 meters from the edge of the reef.

(updated 6 September 2010)

Tiger sharks filmed off Cairns by John Harding in 1975, during the annual marlin fishing season.