It seems that some people who don’t know much about spearfishing have these imaginations that it involves a mass slaughter of everything that swims below, with no other purpose. I can tell you now that it’s not like that at all.
Spearfishing is so much more. Being submerged under the ocean. Seeing the amazing organisms that exist. Seeing something new every time. Learning to respect the ocean and its creatures.
Ryan introduced me into this passion in April 2012. It was a slow introduction, starting with some drifts through a reef in the green zone (spear free of course).
I had been snorkelling before. I knew there was amazing life underwater. This experience was different. I had a weight belt to take me slightly deeper than I’d been before. There were turtles. So many happy, playful inquisitive turtles. It left me wanting more.
The next time, we went to an area with some shallow-ish rocks with spearguns. I had absolutely no idea what kind of fish I could shoot and what I couldn’t. That didn’t really matter, because my first challenge was getting used to breath holds and staying down for long enough to scope out a fish.
Freediving is invigorating and challenging, without even having to add hunting fish to the mix. When we go spearfishing, more time is spent scoping out different areas, diving down and waiting than actually shooting fish.
There are so many moments unrelated to shooting fish that make the whole experience leave us addicted.
When it comes to actually spearing fish, that’s a whole new challenge in itself. Those little (and sometimes not so little) buggers are hard to catch.
When one of our buddies catches something, it’s
just almost as exciting as having speared it ourselves.
It helps me overcome my fears
And then there are the sharks. I
always usually wear a shark shield. Although some people are dubious about whether they actually work, it gives me some piece of mind to know a shark sneaking up behind me might just get zapped!
The first shark I saw was HUGE. I swallowed about 10 litres of sea water before calling out to Ryan. He was a fair way away from me at the time. Ryan swam over and casually told me “it’s OK, it’s just a shovelnose.”
THAT meant nothing to me at the time. I didn’t know shovelnose sharks are harmless. Ryan swam away just as casually, as I splashed around trying to catch up to him and ask “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?”
“Their harmless” he said.
I know now that it was not a shovelnose, and probably something that warranted almost pooping my wetsuit when I saw it. Ryan did the right thing to put my mind at ease.
The next time, danger was a little more obvious. I figured that out myself and got back in the boat faster than I ever had.
In time I have become more comfortable around sharks. Learned which behaviours I should be concerned about and which not. Sometimes I don’t even feel the need for a shark shield. One less accessory to attach to myself.
It’s more than just hunting
I don’t know a single spearo/speara that participates in the sport only to shoot fish. It seems the others are like me, but maybe a little less turtle obsessed.
Spearfishing for me is like therapy. As soon as the boat drives away from land, my my brain switches to ocean mode. I forget I have a job and responsibilities. It is just us and the
blue usually green water.
Exploring new territory, new reefs, new headlands and waters of a different country peaks my excitement. The entire underwater world leaves me in awe.
Although scuba diving interests me and would give me more time to stay underwater, I haven’t done it yet. The addiction relates very much to the challenge of using my own breath and pushing my limits.
In time, I have trained myself to dive deeper, and stay down longer. I love the fact that I can go deeper than some scuba divers. I love the fact that having to dive out of Brisbane I am forced to be a better free-diver, because the reefs are deeper. I love the fact that the boys I spear with are better divers and this means I spear more challenging reefs, forcing me to improve my diving.
I love that I can see things many others don’t. There are so many moments where I wish I could snap photos to share with you all. There simply isn’t enough battery on the gopro to capture everything… Like the rainbow sitting above the lighthouse at Cape Moreton, the dolphin swimming by with its baby, the whale bomb diving Ryan, the three sharks circling me, the biggest pinkest jellyfish I have ever seen and so many other things.
We catch our own dinner
Best of all, we (usually) come home with dinner. Hopefully enough fish to freeze and use until the next time we can go out. If there is more than we can handle, we share with family and friends. Never having to buy fish at the shops ensures we are eating sustainably caught seafood.
The fish frames also don’t do to waste. They are shared with other friends who enjoy crabbing and need bait.
It’s the circle of life *cue music from the lion king*