John Sumer (left); Jacques Mayol (center); Wally Gibbins (right)
Jacques Mayol predicted that, within a couple of generations, some people would be able to dive to 200m and hold their breath for up to ten minutes. Today the no-limits record stands at 214m (June 2007), and the record for breath holding underwater at 11 minutes and 35 seconds (June 2009).
(John Sumner – 8 minutes)
The U.S.S. CANBERRA CAG – 2 bell is in the Australian Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney. When it was being built, President Roosevelt asked Congress that the US cruiser be named in honor of the Australian cruiser HMAS CANBERRA. HMAS CANBERRA was sunk while fighting with American vessels during the battle of Savo Island, in 1942, against a Japanese invasion force. The USS CANBERRA is the only American Navy ship ever named for an ally’s sunken vessel.
Aboard Coralita (1974) Paul Wilmott (left)
TSSS Runic one of Shaw Saville’s refrigerated ships, the world’s largest at the time, ran aground on Middleton Reef near the southern border of The Coral Sea where it becomes the Tasman Sea 19 Feb 1961.
Wally Gibbins at Heron Island in the early 1960’s was the star adventure diver welcomed by management.
(The late) Walter Hamilton Gibbins and John Sumner were partners in a Solomon Islands adventure and shipwreck salvage plan. A suitable vessel was purchased and was being fitted for deep water salvage when Wal, sadly, passed away at his home base of Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.
Wally Gibbins pictured at Sawtell N.S.W. (1990)
The shark fight was at the height of JAWS movie hysteria, involving a White Pointer shark in a cage. Originally offered to Ben Cropp who declined due to ear problems, the job was passed to Wally who was helping Ben discover shipwrecks at the time and appearing in Ben’s documentaries.
The stunt would have paid Wally $1 Million in 1976 had the promoter not had a heart attack. A Tiger shark would have been substituted for a White Pointer shark if one could not be caught.
A captive shark in a cage is a sitting duck. Little truth was known of White Pointer sharks in 1976.
The RSPCA and other groups were vigorously opposing the plan.