Last week I scored a week off after some intense university work at the National Marine Science Centre (NMSC) in Coffs Harbour. The weather was looking great, the swell had died and those crisp, clean winters’ mornings had set in over a few days. It was time to dive. Over three days I dived three spots and an interesting series of events unfolded…
The tides weren’t working with the low light of dawn or dusk, so snapper and mulloway were out of the question, but you don’t know if don’t try. No snapper or mulloway seen on the first day but some good sized rock lobster and rock cod were landed in poor visibility. This came at a cost. The next day my float and everything attached (drop weight, dive torch and dive bag) sailed out to sea, due to what I suspect, to be a hungry shark. Luckily the packed lunch in my drystore bag wasn’t attached at the time!
On the third day of diving the visibility was a clean fifteen metres. A good sized yellow fin bream and an octopus were taken for the table. Diving at the entrance of a large bowl like gutter, I noticed a small dead shark lying belly up on some stones. On closer inspection I was blown away ‘No way? A thresher shark?’ I thought, ‘Yup!’ So I scooped it up under my wing and swam to the surface. Its tail was the length of its body (about a metre in length) and it had a very thick tail wrist (caudal peduncle). I guess it weighed around 6-8kgs. It had some serious cuts on its body that were either from wave action and rocks, or from a net. Either way it was definitely by-catch.
Back on shore I called up a shark researcher from the NMSC to come and pick it up. All in all some interesting diving, that resulted in a couple hundred dollars of lost gear, a scientific donation and of course fresh seafood!