I love the adrenaline and the flow of a good hunt. I have, like many men, an instinctive fondness for hunting.
Fishing is like hunting but it really isn’t. Hunting is more active. Hunting to me is to use a spear to snare the fish and then to carefully harvest the catch to eat later. That dry description masks a world of challenge.
That’s what makes it a sport.
The French Connection
Last week my interest in the sport received a helpful bump when I met Adrien, one of three Frenchmen on holiday here in Palawan. Adrien has been spearfishing for the past three years in the Mediterranean. And he claimed that his record best is 20 meters (65 feet) but when he accomplished it, he just had enough reserve to tap the bottom before heading back up. I can believe it. Last week we went diving in three locations at the mouth of, and outside, Puerto Princesa Bay. Nicolas and Adrien were going to get certified. Thomas was already certified and so am I.
Adrien and Nico are getting SSI dive-certified (SSI is a major rival of PADI) with Moana Divers located here in Puerto Princesa. Getting certified in the Philippines is less expensive than getting certified in developed countries. It cost each of them less than 350 Euros here versus between 500 to 600 Euros in France.
I can only describe my hunting grounds because my underwater camera is inoperable until I retrieve its battery charger which I forgot in the States. Good thing Benjo’s almost back!
Our first dive spot was called Maris. It’s a kilometer below the tip of the dick. (What dick? Well, it’s the “bite mole” and more will follow in the next post.) Beneath the waves the bottom was a flat plain of sand interspersed with plant-covered boulders. There were also a few clumps of small coral formations but it was the boulders that dominated the underwater landscape. It was seven meters deep (23 feet deep). We kept on going down and then up. I am very pleased to note that I could do it although I wonder how many more years I can descend to that depth. (And I can stay there for only a measly five seconds.) There were no table-sized fish that we saw for the next 45 minutes. None and that’s alarming! The seas are being depleted of fish. We’re harvesting fish faster than our environment can replace them.
The second dive spot was called Something-River. That’s not its real name of course. I just don’t remember the first word. I think it’s named after the small river that discharges into the sea near this point. It was here that they had the best dive. While I spearfished, the Frenchmen and their Divemaster checked out the underwater topography. They reported seeing many medium to large cliff dwellers and coral reef fish: a school of about 20 barracuda, a stingray, a 2-meter long shark, and even a turtle. But they were all too deep. For now I can only descend to a practical depth of five meters (16 feet) since I need a few seconds to at least shoot. Tsk, tsk…
The third dive spot was called Crossing. It was here that Divemaster Danny proposed that I follow them. I would follow their bubbles, on the surface, as they traced the outline some 20+ meters below of a well-populated deep reef. Perhaps their human presence down there might frighten a large-enough food fish to the shallows that are 7 to 10 meters deep. There would be no such luck. No such luck at any of these dive spots (which we explored over three dives in two days).
It’s made for small-to-medium sized fish.
This is a JBL Magnum, model Custom. It is 80 centimeters long (31 inches long). It is powered by two thick rubber slings. Its spear is 62 centimeters long (24 inches). The spear has a cord attached to tip of the gun barrel. In the water, in an extended position, I can hit anything within 3.7 meters (12 feet) of my eyes and the cord will hold on to the spear.
Care & Maintenance
After every use, everything is rinsed with fresh water. Sea water is corrosive and should not be allowed to dry on anything manmade, even rubber.
Get a Glimpse!
YouTube is the first place to go. Check this out.
Benny, this is my response to your question friend. Hope you enjoyed it!