The past few weeks have seen a massive high pressure system crushing all hopes of waves on the eastern seaboard. Its been distinctly summer like, with bountiful sunshine drenched days and tropical looking clear, flat water.
So while the surfing/bodysurfing has taken a back seat, it has lead to a rekindling of a passion that has long been left in their wake.
That passion is freediving and more specifically spearfishing.
A long long long time ago, the two used to be my first loves. I would spend several days a week immersed in the ocean, learning about its amazing inhabitants and occasionally taking one home to eat. It was an education that has given me the love and respect of the ocean that I still carry to this day.
My first rock lobster
For some that may seem at odds – the quiet observation of marine life mixed with removing some of it.
Perhaps that’s because there is a perception that spearfishing is simply about shooting anything that swims. There will always be a small contingent in any pursuit but for the most part, spearfishing is an extremely selective and environmentally low impact activity.
You can only hold your breath for so long and dive so deep. You are limited by the range of your apparatus, physical endurance and the conditions you can operate in.
When I leave the water, I leave nothing behind, no line, hooks, sinkers or plastics.
I am only hunting a very specific range of fish, there is no bycatch to my activity, I only take what I am allowed to eat and if I don’t see what I am after, then I am content to drift along and enjoy the view.
Which, depending on the day can be quite spectacular with rays, sharks, groper, reef and baitfish all in attendance across incredibly diverse underwater landscapes. Its something, that I feel privileged and humbled to enjoy and hope to share with my my own children in the way I did.
Suddenly, those flat summer days aren’t looking so bad after all.
Has spent over 30 years of his middle aged life trying to spend more time in the ocean. Likes to surf, bodysurf, free dive and pretend he enjoys chasing big waves.