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Saturday, 21 August 2021

RON ISBELL REEF (under construction)

Ron Isbell (Courtesy Scott Ransom 1974)

On 1 August 2009, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority named a
reef in the Mackay/Capricorn Management Area of the Marine Park "Ron
Isbel Reef".
Ron Isbel was a well respected charter boat operator focusing mainly on the southern Great Barrier Reef. Naming a reef in the Swains Reefs is a fitting tribute to his contribution of knowledge, passion and ability to foster world-wide recognition of the Great Barrier Reef.
Size: 527 ha
Zone: Habitat Protection (Dark Blue) Zone
Management Area: Mackay / Capricorn Management Area
Managed by: the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
The name was agreed to under Memorandum of Understanding between Australian Hydrographic Office, Department of Environment and Resource Management and theGreat Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority who named the reef on 1 August 2009.
Ron Isbel passed away on 10 November 2008, aged 79.

Sea Hunt was the first purpose-built charter boat for freedivers & line fishermen (1968).  Scuba diving charters came a few years later. 

               Sea Hunt was replaced by Ron with Tropic Rover  a motor-sailer.

WALLY MULLER (Mullers Reef)



First was Riversong Built of Tasmanian timbers along the lines of a pearling lugger the 42 foot long commercial fishing boat Riversong worked the Swain Reefs at a time when maybe just one or two, vessels went there. With a beam of 12 foot 6 inches she had a 48 HP Gardiner engine which delivered 8 knots. Planks were 6″ thick, deck planks were 1.5″ thick.

Riversong was built in 1947 at Mackay, Queensland from spotted gum timber (maybe with an Oregon pole), by W.Beatie a ship builder formerly from Tasmania. Twin freezer could hold 4500 pounds of fish fillets.
A gypsy anchor winch used a WW2 aircraft starter engine.


#2 Careelah (native word meaning south wind). Former name was Norman R. Wright. 66 feet in length, 15 foot beam, hardwood construction with Hueon Pine from waterline to deck. Deck was of beech. Built in 1949 by Norman R Wright.


#3 Coralita which was the premier dive boat during the 1970’s which hosted scuba diving Prime Minister’s. 79 feet in length with 19.5 foot beam she was built of beech timbers. Twin 190 HP Caterpillar diesels 160 KVA and 125 KVA generator sets. Built by Norman R. Wright of Brisbane and launched in 1969 for Wally and partner Ed Hancock who envisaged regular charter cruises among the local Capricorn and Bunker Group of islands..


Coralita planks were of 8″ and 2″ Spotted Gum each plank with a length of 40 feet or more and requiring five men to handle each one. Launched in 1969.

                          Night diving for live shells, The Coral Sea.  

                                   Fisherman's feet do not require footware.

        Shipwreck anchor saved Coralita during two cyclones at Middleton Reef 


Tuesday, 17 August 2021



                           Former King Neptune's Park, Port Macquarie NSW

                 Territorial Grey Reef shark. Remote section The Coral Sea (1971) below.

          Caution: Lemon shark attacked dinghy after being struck by outboard.

Sunday, 1 August 2021




THE CAVE DIVERS (film 1967)

Cold  cave water and a short wet suit without hood.
Val deserved a medal

 BLUE WORLD text (ABC News)