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 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.