Scuba Goat

Surface Interval - Lissa, Don & Matt - S01 E18

May 26, 2021 Matt Waters / Lissa Rebec / Don Silcock Season 1 Episode 18
Scuba Goat
Surface Interval - Lissa, Don & Matt - S01 E18
Show Notes Transcript

Trying out something new with this episode, entitled "Surface Interval."  My idea is that once a month we have a few people in the studio and have a wee catch-up with what's caught our eyes in the scuba news from around the world. 

I'm joined by an old favourite, Don Silcock and a newbie to the show, Lissa Rebec.
Don and Lissa both come to the show with some big announcements linked to their involvement with Scuba Diver magazine and Sea Shepherd respectively. 

During this episode, topics range from conservation to travel, upcoming documentaries to home-based Australian diving, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Maldives and the Bahamas. All whilst having a beer, or in Lissa's case, a cup of tea. 

Dons website: Indo Pacific Images

Lissa's next event: EveryFin Matters
Sea Shepherd Australia

Scuba Diver magazine:
Australia & New Zealand
Global edition

Unknown:

The podcast for the inquisitive diver.

Matt Waters:

Hey, there dive buddies and welcome to the season finale. Over the past 10 months we've taken the plunge 18 times and it's time for a short surface interval. I have a couple of peeps joining me in the studio today. The first is an old fellow that's been on the show before takes a bloody good underwater photo and conveniently forgets every time it's his turn to buy the beers. We'll get to him in a mo. The newbie, diving right in, is arguably Sea Shepherd's number one fan has a raucous laugh to challenge any of us in the studio, and is one of my good dive buddies right here in Sydney, but don't even know her surname. Hiya Lissa.

Lissa Rebec:

Hi.

Matt Waters:

Hi, Don.

Don Silcock:

Good day.

Matt Waters:

Welcome to the show.

Lissa Rebec:

Thank you. Thank you. Do you want to know my surname? Lisa Rebec.

Matt Waters:

Oh, it is Rebec?

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah,

Matt Waters:

I thought it was abbreviated or shortened so that you had some kind of, you know, difficulty trying to find you on social media and stuff like that.

Lissa Rebec:

Well, I'm Lissa Marie. So yeah, I just use that. So no one really knows my surname.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Oh, I found the Rebec somewhere, it was on one of the social things. I thought it was like it was shortened from Rebecca or something like that.

Lissa Rebec:

Could be. Yeah, I do sometimes get emails. "Dear, Rebecca."

Matt Waters:

Brilliant. Well, seeing as you're the newbie on the show today, why don't you give us a little bit of a background on who you are and what you're doing here.

Lissa Rebec:

Okay, so I love the ocean. I love scuba diving. And that's how we met. Through our connection with scuba diving. I happen to be a very big supporter of Sea Shepherd. And quite recently, I have been made a coordinator of the Sydney South chapter. So there was the Sydney chapter. But that's been divided into two because it's such a huge area to cover. So I've now been squeezed and being given my own chapter so we can concentrate with raising funds down in the south.

Matt Waters:

So being a chapter, does that mean they have to wear a leather waistcoat and ride a motorbike?

Lissa Rebec:

Maybe in the future? No, but definitely have the wardrobe. I think I own every Sea Shepherd merchandise known to man. So yeah. Excellent.

Matt Waters:

Well, congratulations on getting your own chapter.

Lissa Rebec:

Thank you. So we're in the works of setting that up. So I've been doubly busy this week trying to do that. So exciting things happening, we're recovering, we're recovering from after COVID. So there's been quite a few events that have been cancelled as a result of COVID. So we're hopefully getting more of a presence in Sydney.

Matt Waters:

And so, because I'm relatively new to the Sea Shepherd kind of thing in Australia, but I would have thought that Sydney would have had quite a strong presence, because I've always seen on your social media, like the markets and stuff like that. So but it needs it needs bolstering, eh?

Lissa Rebec:

it does, because Sydney's such a huge area to cover there is and, as you know, Sydney traffic is crazy. So you need to, you need different areas of concentration. So Sydney is actually cut up of central coast where they have lots of events there. And then we've got the Sydney area and I'll cover the South. So down to Cronulla, Wollongong, all the way down to Jarvis. We've got a couple of volunteers down there. So

Don Silcock:

How did that happen? How did you get the gig? Did they come to you?

Lissa Rebec:

Well, thats an interesting story. I've been involved with Sea Shepherd for a couple of years now. And I have pretty much gone to them and said I'd like to do a market here. And I've just been slowly but surely creeping my way in doing markets here and there. And, and then I eventually got to have merchandise at my house so that I can do my own markets. Yeah. And then they've just said, Well, hey, you're doing it already do kind of want your own sub chapter and concentrate on that area. And Sydney will concentrate on their area and Central Coastal, concentrate on them. And yeah, build it.

Don Silcock:

Have you met the man, Paul Watson, yet?

Lissa Rebec:

That's the dream. No, No, I haven't.

Don Silcock:

He's quite a... quite a character, isn't he?

Lissa Rebec:

He certainly is certainly is very, very passionate. Have you seen "Watson" the film?

Don Silcock:

No, I haven't, no.

Lissa Rebec:

it's a very, it's a great film. So it speaks about how he was the co founder of Greenpeace. So then he broke away and he started Sea Shepherd. Yeah, and the rest is history. So I implore you to watch it .It's er... it's amazing.

Don Silcock:

It's on Netflix or where can you see it?

Lissa Rebec:

It's you can stream it, I believe on Amazon.

Matt Waters:

I think so, I think there's a few

Lissa Rebec:

There's a few streaming, yeah, but unfortunately it's not on Netflix.

Don Silcock:

Okay, I'll find it.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah.

Matt Waters:

There was a couple on YouTube I saw the other day.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah, there's quite a few on YouTube. So there would be "Chasing Thunder" on YouTube, which is one of the Sea Shepherd campaigns. It's.. yeah. That we're chasing...

Don Silcock:

It's quite amazing what they do. Isn't it? Really? You know, so committed?

Lissa Rebec:

Absolutely. Absolutely. So my role is fundraising.

Matt Waters:

So she does it quite well, mate. To give you a bit of a backstory,

Don Silcock:

she got some money out of you

Matt Waters:

Oh yeah! Straight away mate.

Lissa Rebec:

It's my gift.

Matt Waters:

We've kind of got, we got put in touch with each other from a mutual mate from when I was doing some, some runs down to Margo and Cobargo last year when the when the bushfires were on and a mutual mate said "oh you should meet this chick. She's She's a diver as well. So you've got to know each other". Of course, I've got to know every diver in the world because we're divers. So we ended up all getting together and going for the first dive. And the very first, well, within five minutes of rocking up, she pulls up in her ute, pulls down the back tail end, and says "oh, I've got some t shirts and some hoodies and I've got a five XL I've never been able to get rid of Do you want it?"

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah, absolutely. This was during COVID. So that' how we stayed afloat and ende up raising money. It was jus through our online merchandis and Sea Shepherd are ver passionate. So they speak fo themselves. And we have suc great supporters. So yeah absolutely

Matt Waters:

Lissa's other hal , Rod . He gets Christmas nd birthdays, its all Sea She herd stuff. He sponsored y Sea Shepherd.

Don Silcock:

All the sizes don't fit him as well. Really a coincidence, isn't it?

Lissa Rebec:

And there are so many shirts that he's yet to get.

Matt Waters:

Oh, bet he's over the moon with that.

Don Silcock:

Good on you.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Well, just moving away from Lissa for a second. For those people that haven't listened to..er, I can't even remember the episode number now. I think it was 16...15 or 16. Don was on then. But since then, Don's moved up into the realms of being the Gods of scuba diving,

Don Silcock:

Oh, I wish

Matt Waters:

What's that? What's the... What's the news, dude?

Don Silcock:

Well, I've been appointed as senior travel editor for Scuba Diver magazine, all three editions, the ANZ one, the UK and the US one, which is a great step forward for me. I am quite passionate about writing about the things I do and the things I've seen and what it all means. And this is a great...it's kind of a win win opportunity, they were looking for somebody to contribute on a broad scale, shall we say? Which kind of aligned with all the stuff I've been doing and all the stuff I hope to do going forward. So I've got the first have got the front cover of the UK edition with an article on the Oceanic White Tips of Cat Island and the next two issues, we'll have the hammerheads of Bimini and then Tiger beach will be the third one.

Matt Waters:

Yeah.

Don Silcock:

And then I've been doing all the stuff with the Australia New Zealand one. I've had numerous articles in there and about five, four or five front covers, which have been great. You know, it's front covers are uh, you know, are the the big prize, you know, any kind of, you know, you can show your mum. She'd be so proud. Well, if only she could see me now, you know. Yeah, but no, it's it's, you know, for a photographer. It's a big thing to get front cover and yeah, so I'm really happy about it .They play win win and uh, yeah, we'll see where it takes us.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, exactly. We'll see where it takes us. You know, as the travel editor, I'm sure you're gonna go places. And you know, I'm very good at carrying bags.

Don Silcock:

Actually, can you take your ticket because there's a queue?

Lissa Rebec:

Do you need any Sea Shepherd t shirts?

Don Silcock:

Thought you'd never ask.

Matt Waters:

See? Told you she was good.

Don Silcock:

Yeah.

Lissa Rebec:

We're actually... Sea Shepherd have a campaign called the Apex Campaign. Have you heard of it?

Don Silcock:

no

Matt Waters:

Whoa, whoa, whoa. That means that you've not you've not listened to this podcast other than your own.

Don Silcock:

Listen to my segment day after day. No idea. There was something else out there. Oh, my goodness.

Matt Waters:

You're not coming on again.

Don Silcock:

It's only been two weeks. I've listened to it every day.

Lissa Rebec:

Guess what you're doing tomorrow?

Don Silcock:

Yeah. Oh, clearly.

Matt Waters:

Sorry. Carry on Lissa.

Lissa Rebec:

So just in a nutshell, because I won't go on a big spiel, but the Apex Campaign is targeting non lethal methods for shark control. So getting rid of shark nets and drum lines, which cause a lot of harm and deaths to marine animals as well as sharks, so the Apex Campaign campaigns for non lethal methods to for you know, people to be safe in the ocean, but also to not harm sharks, and, you know, predominantly other marine species that seem to be caught up in in these drum lines and shark nets,

Don Silcock:

which is, uh, it's horrendous the damage that's been done by all this, you know, long liners and the whole thing of the way that sharks have been the indirect victims, but on a huge scale, massive scale. So that was for me, was the big thing of going to the Bahamas was there were sharks. Everywhere else you go, you're lucky if you see them.

Matt Waters:

Yeah,

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah,

Don Silcock:

Really, you know, it's it's, you're lucky if you see them,

Lissa Rebec:

yeah.

Don Silcock:

But when you get to the Bahamas, because of everything they've done there, it's not a perfect thing. But it's a lot. It's the best that I've personally seen in terms of, you know, there's sharks there.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. And the income for the local community must be huge.

Don Silcock:

The, the economic benefits of a live shark versus a dead shark are significant, very significant. And the thing is when you remove them.. I mean the sharks are there, as Jim Abernathy said to me, once. Jim is one of the pioneers of Tiger beach, he said, the you know, the role of the shark is to clear up the dead, the dumb and the dying.

Matt Waters:

Yeah.

Don Silcock:

Which sounds like a great soundbite. But they've got a real role to play. Because if they're not there, everything gets out of kilter. It's a fine balance. Yes. It's an absolutely fine balance, and they have a role to play. And you take them out 90% said to have gone then everything gets thrown out of balance. The marvellous thing is, what you see in the Bahamas is how they can come back strongly, when we get out the way. When we stop doing all these things that you were referring to, they have a tremendous capacity to rebuild. So there, there is hope out there. Before we have to stop doing these things.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, have to get the crap out of the water. The, the podcast that you didn't listen to

Don Silcock:

yet

Matt Waters:

was er, was Lisa's compadre up in Queensland, Jonno, and he's the coordinator for the Apex Campaign. And he goes into detail about the long lines, the drum lines, and the the nets. And it doesn't take a genius to work out that if you put a bloody big fish head on a honking great hook, you're going to get something big. And if you leave a net dangling in the water, you're going to get something big eventually. And unfortunately, it's not just sharks like Lisa said, you know, it's been loggerhead turtles.

Don Silcock:

All the bycatch. It's horrendous. And the thing is, it's unseen. We we don't see it.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, well, thats what the Apex Campaign is trying to do. Because Jonno will go out on the Rhib with a team and if they find something in the nets or on the on the hooks, they'll go down with the cameras, and they'll record it and get, and get, you know, you know, pretty crappy evidence or not crappy as in poor quality. But, you know,

Don Silcock:

yeah, in your face,

Matt Waters:

not, not what we like to see

Don Silcock:

exactly,

Matt Waters:

it's actually what we do need to see.

Don Silcock:

It's absolutely what we need to see because we're the lucky ones. We get to go underwater. Everybody else doesn't. And they just doesn't know.

mechanical voice:

Could you try again?

Matt Waters:

Oh, that's that's Don buying the beers on the next one.

Don Silcock:

Yeah. So where was I ? We get to see this stuff?

Matt Waters:

Yeah,

Don Silcock:

If we're lucky as divers. The vast percentage of the population have no idea. But it's serious stuff. It really does matter.

Matt Waters:

Yeah.

Lissa Rebec:

What does the Bahamas do so well?

Don Silcock:

Well, what they were one of the first countries to set up marine protected areas, MBAs, right so and then they they have over I think a million square miles of, of area. Because, you know, the Bahamas is a lot you know, there's islands, but there's a lot of sea. But they were one of the first nations to set it up, which given the benefit of hindsight, was phenomenal, farsighted decision, and then they I think they were the fourth nations to create a shark sanctuary. So there's no take of any sharks. And the population has rebounded. The first time I went there was to Tiger beach which is in Grand Bahama in the north. And I just couldn't believe when we pulled up, that there was all the sharks around the back of the boat. You don't see that anywhere else. I've never seen anywhere and It's quite intimidating your first time getting in. You're thinking "Oh my god!", you know, all these shark fins is, you know, must be dangerous. And then you get in and there's sharks everywhere. They're there in that area because it's a known aggregation point and also some of the boats feed.

Matt Waters:

Yeah.

Don Silcock:

So they turn up snacking. And then you get... it's the place to see Tiger sharks. That's why you go there,

hence the name:

Tiger beach. But they're there because there's plenty of food and it's a safe zone for them. And the number, the magnitude, the number, the size, is is, it's mind boggling really. If you're used to the diving everywhere else? Where you typically don't see a lot of sharks, you might see one or two sharks, but you won't see a lot. Wheras there, they're, you know, they're everywhere?

Matt Waters:

Yeah, the free food

Lissa Rebec:

and no nets on the beaches?

Don Silcock:

No.

Lissa Rebec:

Great.

Matt Waters:

They're not needed. Because, well, nets...

Don Silcock:

It's not allowed. It's a shark sanctuary.

Matt Waters:

And the drum lines. What I.. what did astound me when Jonno was going on about the drum lines is how close they are to the surface. And they put, you know, they put bait on a hook to entice a shark to chomp on the hook. When it's, you know, a stone's throw from the surface that they're trying to protect. It's just false.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah,

Matt Waters:

They're actually luring in stuff that is going to cause a problem for us. Someone's gonna get snagged. I do have two, actually there's two bits of info I want to shout out about. One is continuing on from Apex Harmony, because that gets a shout out on a documentary that's coming up. In July, I think it's been premiered.

Lissa Rebec: Is that "Envoy:

SharkCull".

Matt Waters:

That's the one!

Lissa Rebec:

21st of July there, Matt.

Matt Waters:

There you go. Boom, straight on it. But as I've been chatting to the director, Andrea Borella. And I'm pretty stoked he's going to come on the show as and when it launches. Excellent. But it's, it's got Eric Bana on there, thats narrating it all. And it's focused on Apex Harmony and the impact of what Australia is doing with the sharks around this coastline. Isn't it?

Lissa Rebec:

yeah, it'll be in cinemas all around Australia

Matt Waters:

and the world hopefully,

Lissa Rebec:

hopefully, hopefully, it can get as much momentum as "Seaspiracy", because we have seen a lot of interest in the ocean since "Seaspiracy" came out, which is a positive, such change needs to happen.

Matt Waters:

It's well, it's probably going to be really good timing actually, was it 6,7,8 months on from "Seaspiracy" when it launches?

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah, absolutely.

Matt Waters:

We'll still have momentum.

Lissa Rebec:

And you can get your Sea Shepherd merchandise.

Don Silcock:

As it happens,

Lissa Rebec:

Had to throw that in there.

Matt Waters:

And the second bit of info I want to share with you is we've got to give a huge shout out to Robin Gallagher. Do you know who that is?

Lissa Rebec:

no,

Matt Waters:

clue?

Lissa Rebec:

no clue,

Matt Waters:

Because there's not a lot known about this person. But this person is actually an ambassador for a charity called Shark Guardian. And they petitioned UK Government. Because it was it was found out that you could legally import 20 kilos of sharkfin in your luggage as a traveller into the Yeah, 20 kilos. And it was legal. So the petition UK.

Don Silcock:

Really? said," This is dogshit, it should stop" in a nutshell. And Shark Guardian jumped on on board and ran with it. And Brandon and Liz have been relentless in hounding down, you know, sponsorship signatures, and we had to get 100,000 plus signatures and there was success, which then saw it get mentioned in Parliament in the UK. And subsequently, we've now got the information. And Brendan was chatting with me this morning, that they're now going to ban all import and export because they were exporting sharkfin from the UK.

Lissa Rebec:

Yay.

Matt Waters:

So it's a huge success. And it's all down to this one person. Robin Gallagher.

Lissa Rebec:

Thank you, Robin Gallagher.

Don Silcock:

These things are so important. Raising the raising the awareness of the general public about what's happening. The best example I can think of is Yao Ming. Do you know who he is?

Matt Waters:

Nope. Oh, yes, I do actually.

Don Silcock:

They used to play for the I think was the Houston Astros. He's seven foot five.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah.

Don Silcock:

Well, I could I could, I could walk underneath

Matt Waters:

Can't miss him. him. So he's returned to China and he's a megastar there because of his success he had in the US basketball, and WildAid managed to convince him to be the spokesperson locally to stop eating sharkfin soup. And he's been phenomenally successful. So to the point where the it seems to be having, you know, an overall impact on the decline of the in demand for shark fin, because it's to the point where sort of the younger generation, shall we say? He's iconic to them. So when he says don't do and some of the imagery of the use and the explainer, you know, it's really well done. And it's having, it's to the point where it's frowned upon now with the younger generation and China, whereas before it would have been seen as something you needed to do to, you know, to just show that you've got some money, yeah, you can afford this stuff. That's the way it works. And he's done a phenomenal job. He's just amazing what can be done, if you change that public perception? I'd Like to see more on that, actually, I've not seen many reports on it. But I did see the..., I think it was a while ago now,probably a year ago

Don Silcock:

I just looked it up today. I was writing something, as you do you know, when you're a senior travel editor.

Matt Waters:

just mention that to your bag carrier again,

Don Silcock:

couldn't ..you know. Did I mention that about senior editor? So I was just in fact checking, actually, to see if it was still there. And I went to WildAid. And Yao Ming, and is still there. It shows. It really explains really well on on their, on their site. I just think it's a great example of taking a high profile individual who commits to doing something for you, and changes that public perception and dri... at the end of the day, unless you drive down that demand, they'll always, you know, the bad people will always find a way to make money out of it.

Matt Waters:

Yeah,

Don Silcock:

Right?. But the demand declines, then they'll move on to something else.

Matt Waters:

Yeah..

Lissa Rebec:

Hmm. Didn't he also advocate for not eating whale meat as well. So I think that's that's declined as well.

Don Silcock:

I don't think eating whale is a big thing in China. It is in Japan. Yeah.

Lissa Rebec:

In Japan.. and I think you know, people don't know, but Norway also do whaling as well. But everyone always points the finger at Japan. I think though, yeah, there has been like the younger generation turning against eating whale as well. Which is, yeah, it's just not popular. Which is good. Good for win for the whale.

Matt Waters:

How's that coffee?

Lissa Rebec:

It's tea.

Matt Waters:

Is it tea?

Lissa Rebec:

It's tea. Yeah.

Matt Waters:

Is it like a hippie tea or something? Or is it a normal one?

Lissa Rebec:

Oh, no, it's just black tea. It's... It's doing its job.

Matt Waters:

How'd you with that beer there Rod?.

Don Silcock:

Going good. Rod?.

Matt Waters:

Rod? Don,

Don Silcock:

We need a refill.

Lissa Rebec:

Well, we've got a Rob.

Matt Waters:

Ye..oh, we've got a Rob, yeah. Yeah, we've got Lissa's other half quietly sitting in the background. So yeah, he can be he can be refilled, man.

Lissa Rebec:

Did we tell you what happened on Saturday night?

Matt Waters:

You're gonna get a little bit, you know, naughty naughty. Okay. Is this okay, for hearing?

Lissa Rebec:

It is. I will actually be the judge of that. So I think we did. We were planning on going diving on Sunday, but that had to be benched because we went ice skating on Saturday night. And I thought I was doing really amazing until I had a bit of a slide and I fell on my coccyx, my tailbone.

Matt Waters:

Did you laugh, Rob?

Lissa Rebec:

I think on the inside. That really freaking hurts.

Matt Waters:

To be honest. You probably didn't miss much about because you were gonna goto Shelly Beach weren't you?

Lissa Rebec:

yeah.

Matt Waters:

I don't think you'd have missed much.

Lissa Rebec:

No, apparently the conditions have been rubbish. Like in Sydney. Yeah, even just yeah, it looked really rough at Cronulla.

Matt Waters:

Someone's been posting, you know, satellite imagery. You know, when we had all the rain, you could see all the rubbish coming out of the estuaries. And I was up in Hawkesbury yesterday. And I stopped by there's a beautiful little spot, bridge going over it. Stop, stop and have a stretch of the legs. And I was there six weeks ago. And in between then and now. I think the water levels probably raised up by about four to five metres

Don Silcock:

Really?

Matt Waters:

So many trees have been washed , fallen over. And it's honking through. The water there is thick chocolate brown. It's just honking through.

Lissa Rebec:

Meanwhile, I was talking to a friend in from Byron today, uhhh, 15 to 20 metres viz

Matt Waters:

which friend was this?

Lissa Rebec:

This was Andrew.

Matt Waters:

Do I know Andrew?

Lissa Rebec:

He's one of the locals that dives weekly at Sundive dive centre which is our favourite dive partner.

Matt Waters:

Andrew Delt he's an old boy.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah,

Matt Waters:

I think I dived with him a few months ago.

Lissa Rebec:

He's part of Apex.

Matt Waters:

Oh Ok.

Lissa Rebec:

Sorry. Yeah, I was talking to him today. And he said, dive conditions were amazing. Yeah, no one likes a bragger.

Don Silcock:

The impact of that, all that floodwater. I saw it firsthand the week before last, I spent a couple days at er, Nelson Bay.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, Oh, yeah, yeah.

Don Silcock:

So there's some great, there's my one of my favourite sites there, is Fly Point. Which is, you know, it's a protected area. It's just phenomenal what's there when you er, I was really, I'd heard about it years ago. And since I've been back in Australia, I've been up there a few times and I was just blown away the first time I got in the you know, the diversity the colour that all the sponges, is just fantastic. But the becau e of all the freshwater, down to about seven metres ther 's nothing. It's just all g ne. completely gone. All the kelp and just just nothing.

Matt Waters:

What like, literally wiped out?

Don Silcock:

Wiped out. Because of all the, all the freshwater has gone through and killed everything. I mean, it's a natural thing. It's not it's not, you know, it's not the first flood is it? So it will come back. But the impact of this you know what you're saying about the water coming down to hawkesbury that anything that's, you know, seawater environment won't last long in freshwater.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, bloody hell. See I've been meaning to do Fly Point so many times.

Lissa Rebec:

Where it's that?

Matt Waters:

Just north of Nelson, the north side of Nelson Bay.

Lissa Rebec:

Because what did we... have you done the Looking Glass?

Don Silcock:

Oh, out at Broughton Island? No,in fact I've done Broughton Island. But when I've been out there, we hard to get on it. You know, it's you need the right conditions and it's never been right. So I tend to, when I go up there I just concentrate on Fly Point because it's so good. It's so good below seven metres. The, you know, that obviously that top layer is where all the freshwater came, came out. And it's killed everything. But it'll come back. It'll grow back. But down below seven metres. It's still very vibrant. But a lot of critters have gone. There was all sorts of stuff there before. But clearly that's had an impact but it will come back there, you know, it's a natural cycle.

Matt Waters:

In fact, I saw some of your social media this week. How much did your ass twitch when you saw that eel, the estuary eel

Don Silcock:

Ha ha , that was at Fly Point

Matt Waters:

I literally saw saw me first one like four weeks ago

Don Silcock:

Well so did I , that was it...

Matt Waters:

Had to take a a double take of it. I was like "what the hell is that thing?"

Don Silcock:

Well, it was, it was, funny thing was, I was looking at something else. And you know, you get that feeling that somebody is looking at you.and I turned round and it was like "what the...?" So it's this is er, I can't remember the scientific name, but it's an estuary eel which is like a cross between a Moray and a catfish. It's got the face of a catfish and the body of a Moray Eel and it's yellow in colour.

Matt Waters:

It looks like he's been eating too much kelp over his life doesn't it?

Don Silcock:

I don't know but it is It is behind apparently, you've got to be careful because they've got poisonous spines on the back. But I just didn't know what the hell it was I've never seen anything like it before. And I spent the whole dive with it, you know, go off and it'd dissappear and come back out again. And the image you're talking about was that it took a shine to itself in the dome port of my camera. So I put the dorm port of the camera down. I could see it was interested so I kind of thought I'll put the dome port, just put it down and it just came forward and came forward in the end it was just right on the dome looking at itself. Couldn't quite work out you know "who's that good looking fellow there" you know? Yeah, interesting.

Matt Waters:

My missus was closer to the one that we saw, but in a long line on her left along her left side and I pointed out I was like okay, you know indicate "get some film of it" and her eyes just said the one thing " sod off!" She wasn't going anywhere near it.

Don Silcock:

You go, you go

Lissa Rebec:

Are they known to be aggressive?

Don Silcock:

Apparently not. Apparently they they have these... some poisonous mechanism, I believe its spines on the on the... on the er, like a bit of a dorsal fin that runs down the their back, which are , as I say, poisonous, but they spend, from the various comments that were on my post, indicate that they spend most of the time hidden under ledges and what have you. So you would... No, the short answer is no, they're not. They're not aggressive unless you annoy them. But this one was out roaming round. And

Matt Waters:

There you Lissa, that's the photo.

Lissa Rebec:

Wooow.

Matt Waters:

Exactly.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah, look at that.

Matt Waters:

If you're going to dress up for Halloween, it would be that,Wouldn't it?

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah! Wow. Have yo been to the Maldives? Have any f you been to the Maldives

Don Silcock:

Oh years ago, yeah.

Lissa Rebec:

Did you ever do that dive off the back of the tuna factory?

Don Silcock:

no,

Lissa Rebec:

There's this dive that they do off the back of the tuna factory, and it's, it's just within, I want to say, about eight metres of water. So, from five to eight metres of water, and then there are just these massive fat, moray eels because they just hide in their little caves and they just wait for the bits of tuna heads to come in and they just feed and they're massive. And then you got rays coming through and it's just ...you just have to just sit there and film

Matt Waters:

Its a free feed isn't it?

Lissa Rebec:

yeah, it's amazing, but I couldn't get over the size of these massive big eels.

Don Silcock:

Have you heard of the... I'll try and match that and raise you. Theres a place in Ambon called The Twilight Zone? Have you heard of that one?

Matt Waters:

I've heard of it , yeah.

Don Silcock:

so it's the, er.. in Ambon. The uhm, there's a huge natural harbour there. And on the, I think it's on the west side, is the Pertamina jetty for the aircraft fuel that comes into the nearby airport

Matt Waters:

that's right, yeah.

Don Silcock:

And there's a large kind of fishing fleet, who moors up there, that that moors up there. And they go out at night and catch everything, bring it back in and then they fillet it all and throw all the stuff over the side, while they're moored up. And then so you've got all this stuff coming down. And then,er, it's terrible as such in Ambon because they throw everything into the sea. You know, if you coming up from the Banda sea, you know you're getting close, you see all the plastic bags, what they do is they, or they used to I don't know if its changed, but they'd, you know, the rubbish would be in a plastic bag and they'd throw on the beach, and it'd be gone in the morning. It's all drifting out. So you knew we're getting close to Ambon, because the number of plastic bags will increase in the water, in the places you went diving. So they have this terrible habit of throwing everything in the water. But the Twilight Zone is this mixture of all this stuff, this tires and all sorts of stuff thrown off the jetty. And then every day there's this organic stuff that rains down. All the fish guts and you know, so you get these huge morays and everything else that lives in this and, once you're there you know how it got its name, The Twilight Zone, because it is, it's really weird. All these fishing boats, you got the sunlight coming down. And then every so often, you know there'd be all this stuff coming over the side. All the morays would come out. Like you said they're really fat and quite glossy.

Matt Waters:

I was there um, in fact when were you last in Ambon?

Don Silcock:

six years ago.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Okay. All right. So it's a lot cleaner than what it was back then. I was there. September, October 2019.

Don Silcock:

Oh really?, it's cleaner? Well, thats good.

Matt Waters:

Well, I was based out of Spice Island Divers.

Don Silcock:

Oh, yeah.

Matt Waters:

Big shout out for Ronny there. But the dive sites that we did, was it four? Four days, we were there. And we dived four or five dives a day. And there was very little rubbish. So they've I think everyone's clubbing together to actually make much more of an effort. And it's certainly a lot better than what it was.

Don Silcock:

Yeah, it was horrendous, The er.. but when I first went there in about 2008 coming up from the Banda Sea. And as I say , you just knew you were getting closer. At first I didn't know all this stuff was, then I realised it was old plastic bags and rubbish and, but where's it coming from? And when we got into Ambon, I asked about it, you know, these people said, well, that's how people get rid of rubbish here. Yeah, you put the plastic bag on the beach at night in the morning is gone. Where's, whats the problem?

Matt Waters:

Come on in, me mate. Beer delivery! Cheers Rob.

Don Silcock:

So I have a question. Where do we think diving is going to go next year? Once the I mean, all the indications are that things should get better. And we should be able to start travelling again. But what's your opinions?

Matt Waters:

You want to go first?

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah, well, I think they're really gonna push the fact we're gonna have to have a vaccine. I think that's.. yeah. And it could either go both ways. It could be really expensive, or it could be really cheap.

Matt Waters:

I think there's so many avenues it could go down. I'm hoping it doesn't go down the detrimental ones for the operators. Theres so many dive operators out there now that are really struggling and frustrated.Putting, you know, food on the table for their families and their employees families and trying to maintain everything. So difficult. And I'm just hoping that, when people do get the availability to go to different locations that they don't expect super cheap diving and accommodation and all that kind of stuff. If anything, we've all been sat in lockdown, that people should be, or the customers that want to go diving, should have saved their monies up so that they can pay more.

Don Silcock:

I couldn't agree more. I couldn't agree more. It's it's kind of incumbent upon us, if you if you are into dive travel, to get out there and support these people, you know, those that make it through, those operators. I mean, there's no plan B is there, if you're running a dive operation, everything revolves around people turning up. That's it that you can't pivot to much else, can you? Really, you know. You might be, you might be lucky to be able to do something to keep some food on the table, but it's not sustainable in the longer term, even the medium term, and we're getting into the medium term now. Yeah. So those that make it through, it's incumbent upon us to, to get out there and support them. And don't don't be nickeling and diming them , you know we need to help them. Just like we do with the Australian operators.

Lissa Rebec:

Absolutely.

Don Silcock:

The Australian operators seem to be doing okay.

Matt Waters:

Yeah.

Don Silcock:

Popular spots are booked out months in advance. Now here in Australia, which is a good thing. But it's the operators around Asia, Southeast Asia, that are really doing it tough. And once we can travel, we should travel.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, I hundred percent agree.

Lissa Rebec:

Oh, I miss those drive trips, where you just have to pretty much just put on your gear.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Just drop into the water.

Lissa Rebec:

Those amazing boat staff that just put your gear together and change your tanks and help you out of the... Oh, I missed those times.

Matt Waters:

They'll come back.

Lissa Rebec:

I know

Don Silcock:

They'll come back strong. The huge pent up demand, people are just like, so over. We've adjusted to it and we're making the most of it. But there's like this huge pent up demand to go and do something.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah.

Don Silcock:

So as soon as we can we should.

Matt Waters:

I'm over getting in a five mil wetsuit. And, you know, it's a bloody big five mil wetsuit at my size, freezing my nuts off for an hour in two or three metres viz. I want to be in 30 metre water with my boardshorts on.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeeah,

Don Silcock:

I've got got kind of used to it, now I'm adjusted. I'm going down to South Australia next week, next, next Tuesday.

Matt Waters:

Oh, you're going watching your sex show aren't you?

Don Silcock:

Next month, I going back again. Let me qualify this, in case my wife is listening. The sex show is the great Australian cuttlefish aggregation in Whyalla. So it starts, it's apparently it's just getting going now. And we're spending a couple of days there. Actually, I'm going on Rodney Fox, Great White Sharks. And then a friend of mine and I were gonna do a couple of days at Tumby Bay. And then, er for the Leafys, and then drive up to Whyalla have a couple of days right at the start of the season. Because it's different dynamics at the beginning. And then I'm going back next month for a week in Whyalla. To.. is the, for me, it's the best. It's not it's you know, it is all about the sex. But it's an interesting dynamic. Very interesting dynamics. And as I said last week, last on the last podcast, this reminds me of this this disco used to go a long time ago.

Matt Waters:

Yeah.

Don Silcock:

Back in Runcorn.

Matt Waters:

Yeah.

Don Silcock:

Yeah. So that's, that's cold water, because it doesn't get going till the water's down to, I think, it's about 17 degrees. So yeah, you're freezing your... You, you really are freezing your nuts off down there, but it's good. It's fantastic. There's some great diving here in Australia. You don't have to go up north. There's some great stuff down south.

Matt Waters:

Well, I think you know, since we were talking about travelling getting away, I think, you know, domestic diving, If you look at particular locations around the world, has done very well, because people are forced into diving more locally. And it's opened a lot of eyes on on what's available on your doorstep. I think we're very very lucky here. You know, joking aside at getting cold. We are very lucky with the diversity that we've got.

Don Silcock:

There's some grea, I, my personal favourite is, is South Australia. It just has a unique combination of stuff down there. It's not the easiest of locations logistically you've got to get yourself organised and to do it, but once you're in the water, there's some quite unique things to see down there.

Lissa Rebec:

Leafy seadragons

Don Silcock:

Yes, leafys...

Lissa Rebec:

Have you seen one? I've yet to see one

Don Silcock:

If you Google it, you'll find my page.

Lissa Rebec:

Well, I know I feel like so I'm so sorry, Don.

Don Silcock:

They're wonderful creatures, but they're not the easiest. You can be looking at them and not see them.

Lissa Rebec:

Wow.

Don Silcock:

If they're, depending where they are, if they're in the corkweed, as they call it, you can be actually looking at them and not see th m. People going "look look" ointing "wha

Matt Waters:

I had that in Lembe a few years ago. Lembe Strait, it's all macro. And it's super macro, this tiny, tiny stuff. So my eyes are focused on looking for, you know, grains of sand for a week. And we come on this particular dive site, and the dive guide was, you know, indicating there's a frogfish, pointing, and I'm looking, I'm thinking, "I can't see that bloody frog fish, whats pointing at?". So I questioned him, and he indicates again, and points " nope, can't see it , mate". And this is all obviously hand signals underwater, but, and then he points out and indicates the area of a dinner plate. And it was a giant frog fish. So I'm looking at his toenail. It was a monster. An absolute monster. Blended in really well.

Don Silcock:

Have you been to Lembe?

Lissa Rebec:

No, but I've seen huge frog fish in Philippines.

Don Silcock:

Lembe is.. it's the critter capital of the world, if you, if you if you're into critters, for me, it's certainly the best place in Indonesia.

Matt Waters:

I think Ambon has a little battle with it.

Don Silcock:

Erm, on a scale of one to 10 I'd rate Lembe a nine I would rate Ambon an eight. Bali about, North Coast of Bali, right places, about seven.

Matt Waters:

So I reckon Ambon and Lembe flik flak for first and second position.

Don Silcock:

I've got to tell you a story about Lembe. So I spent, I think it was 12 days there. On the back end of a trip from Surong to through Halmahera to Lembe, we went all the way through the top end of Indonesia, and then got to Lembe and we stayed there for the 12 days. So, the first couple of days we're going out just me and this mate of mine, we had our own little boat and a guide. And you know, you're going down there, you're finding all sort of stuff and they point stuff out to you. On about the day four, day five. The dive guide said to me, "what would you like to see today?" I thought he was joking. I really thought he was joking. "What would you like to see?" And I said, "Well, I'd like a flamboyant cuttlefish, please". So he says "wait just a minute". So he gets on his phone and starts phoning around and says" okay". I honestly thought he was winding me up you know, I thought he was winding me up. So, I didn't say anything. Off we went to one particular site in we go and found it. So there's like this network of guides there. And because they're in the water every day, on the you know, there's numerous different sides. They know what's there. So the other guides, said to him, well go down here, turn..., and you'll find it and sure enough, down we went and we found it.

Lissa Rebec:

Wow.

Don Silcock:

So the next day, you know, I'd be like, well, I'll have one of these. You know, "what would you like to see today?"

Matt Waters:

Yeah, yeah,

Don Silcock:

amazing.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, I have a similar experience in Ambon. That's why I say I battle between the two. The boys were just as good in Ambon as they were in Lembe. And I think its that, it's that, it's that passion isn't it?. And if there's a group of them that are willing to communicate with each other, everybody wins. Yeah.

Don Silcock:

That's the thing in in Lembe. There's like this bush network. Bush telegraph thing that goes on and they s And yeah, great. are information.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah, I found that in the Philippines. So I did Malapasca... 'pascua, where they've got the thresher sharks.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, yeah.

Lissa Rebec:

So I did get to see a thresher shark. Have you ever seen those?

Matt Waters:

Nope, nope

Lissa Rebec:

Wow. They're amazing. But they don't like to come very close, So you do end up seeing them from a distance, but still amazing.

Don Silcock:

It's like you're in the water at five o'clock in the morning or something?

Lissa Rebec:

You are in the water, and you're almost you're at 30 metres. And yeah, you're you're in a two mil though because it's like thirty degrees water. It's amazing. So you don't mind it's like a bath.

Matt Waters:

Did you get the early morning wake up with the chooks?

Lissa Rebec:

Yes, yeah.

Matt Waters:

There's a shit ton of 'em on that island

Lissa Rebec:

There's so ma.. yeah

Matt Waters:

I got there 2013, I think, and um, then everyone went to bed at like, eight o'clock at night. The island was..

Don Silcock:

Cos you're diving at five in the morning.

Matt Waters:

It was desolate. I'm like Jesus Christ who am I meant to have a beer with here. I wanted to have a whiskey later as well. But everyone had gone to bed. So just went to bed early.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah, we 're doing five dives a day

Matt Waters: 3:

30 in the morning you got these bloody chooks on the go. Roosters. A gazillion of them. I think, I think the world has been, you know, they've dumped their chooks on, on Malapascua

Lissa Rebec:

Oh, it's such an experience. Did you even see the threshers though?

Matt Waters:

Yeah,

Lissa Rebec:

You did?

Matt Waters:

Yeah.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah. Although you get a whole bunch of divers that get very overexcited and pile on top of each other and then they just swim away the.. Yeah. So that was annoying.

Matt Waters:

Did they? Have they put a... I heard they put a like a metal line in so you can't cross over into the...

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah they do, but it doesn't stop some people

Matt Waters:

really?

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah, it really doesn't. And that's the same when you see a Manta. You see people, you're just meant to just, you know, just go right down to the bottom and just observe and let them come to you, but everyone just seems to chase after them and then they just swim away. That's that. Yeah, but yeah, in Malapascua that's where I saw my first uhm... What do you call those creatures that can have the little pincers where they can penetrate? I've lost for words. Thank you. Mantis shrimp.

Matt Waters:

Ah, mantis shrimp.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah, you know those mantis shrimp.

Matt Waters:

They can punch really quick.

Lissa Rebec:

I can punch really quick. Yeah, I saw that on a night dive in Malapascua. And I yeah, and then in Caballo that was critter central. Did you go to Caballo, critter central where I saw all the little pygmy seahorses, which you can only see through a camera lens. It's so tiny, like millimetre

Matt Waters:

try taking a photograph of them

Don Silcock:

The most dangerous creature in the sea. The pygmy seahorse is the most dangerous creature in the sea. In my experience.

Lissa Rebec:

It is?

Don Silcock:

yes,

Lissa Rebec:

whys that?

Don Silcock:

I've got into more deco trouble... I'm serious. They have this incredible ability to know when you're about to press the shutter, and they turn away. So you know, with a long lens with a macro lens, it's like looking through the long wrong end of a telescope. Yeah, trying to find these things, you know, and then you finally find it and you get it in focus. And you're just about to capture the front cover of National Geographic. And it turns...

Matt Waters:

You know, with a little flick of the hair, as well

Don Silcock:

it's gone. And then and then here, you go again. And the next thing " Beep Beep Beep!" y'know. Oh my goodness. it's happened to me multiple times in multiple locations. They're incredibly photogenic. Yeah, lovely picture pieces, but you can really burn through time, you're gonna get so fixated on trying to capture the image that you forget where you are, and you forget about your deco and all the rest of it.

Lissa Rebec:

Yeah, they're like hammerheads, for me. I'm, there usually, go down to the deep and I'm usually chasing them. And then your, your computer's beeping at you. We've all been there. I was really disappointed. Don, I really wanted to hear that they were poisonous or something or

Don Silcock:

just deadly. Only to underwater photographers.

Lissa Rebec:

They must be your kryptonite.

Matt Waters:

Stick with the big stuff mate. You know the the eyes are getting older as well. So it's it's easier to go on the big stuff.

Lissa Rebec:

Have you ever seen a mandarinfish . Aren't they Beautiful. They do their little dance

Don Silcock:

Yeah, yeah.

Matt Waters:

The erm did you did you dive in Banda?

Don Silcock:

Yeah. I have a story.

Matt Waters:

I bet you do.

Don Silcock:

So there was myself and this French friend of mine. She's female but really good, just a good personal friend. And we did the night dive in Bandonera to er, to do the.. late afternoon to the mandarinfish and then turns into a night dive. So we, we finished the dive. We drifted all the way along. We got out. We walked into the hotel and had a beer. They didn't blink an eyelid? Did you know we're just sat outside in all our dive gear. Can we have two Bintang, Bintang besar, please?

Matt Waters:

Did they ask you to remove all the sea urchins from your shins first?

Don Silcock:

Didn't even blink, just seemed like kind of normal. Of course, then we had to pay and who had some money? Not me. So, luckily somebody was passing your knew us and lent me 100 uhm 100,000

Lissa Rebec:

Oh, wow.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, that's exactly where I saw him as well.

Lissa Rebec:

Do you know, I've... this week has been devastating for me because, when COVID hit I was over in Dallas waiting to go to Galapagos.

Matt Waters:

really?

Lissa Rebec:

I was on route. And they close the borders when I was in Dallas and I had to turn around and come back to Sydney. So they postponed it to this week. So I've had to witness on social media, my dive buddies who I was meeting there to travel with doing Galapagos, so they have seen everything. They've seen the hammerheads, they have seen humpback whales, mantas, underwater Gauranas. Not Gauranas, that's a drink!

Matt Waters:

Iguana's

Lissa Rebec:

Oh my, so that I've never hated and loved people at the same time as much as I've done this week. I'm very envious. It looks amazing that trip.

Matt Waters:

It's, It's It's actually fantastic. And I don't know if I told you, Don. I did have a Galapagos expedition ready for October 2019. And obviously Rona stepped in and screwed it all up. So I cancelled it across to this year. In fact what year are we in now? Jesus... 21. So two, yeah, so 20 was the original date, and 21 I moved it. I moved it back to October 21. And then me old muckers over at Blue O2 said, "Yeah, well, not sure how this is going for later in the year". And they were good enough to let me put it back again. So as frustrating as it is, I've put it back to July 23. Just to make sure, rather than doing it year by year, and everyone's happy, that's that's going on it. However, it did give me the opportunity to have the entire boat again. So I've now got another four spots on that one 2023..July 2023. And in the crossover of the

Don Silcock:

2023? seasons, so hopefully we get everything including the whalesharks

Lissa Rebec:

in October?,

Matt Waters:

no, July,

Lissa Rebec:

July, see I want to go in March to actually see the schooling hammerheads, when they're there.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, but you can see in July as well,

Lissa Rebec:

you can see it in July?,

Matt Waters:

We did. Jaz and I did April. And there's loads of hammerheads. But you know, you see it a couple of times, and then you start to look around for other stuff. So if you're doing it in the crossover between the seasons, then you've got the chances of everything. And that's why we're coming for the July time.

Don Silcock:

What about next year?Have you got anything?

Matt Waters:

Next year? To be honest. I don't think it's a wise decision to plan an expedition next year. Yes, certain locations are going to be opening up again, but they'll be few and far between and there will be difficulties. Yeah. So even my travel company, I've got our curtain over it. And I don't book anything, unless it's previous customers and friends. And I'll reopen that once it's once it's suitable to do so. But next year, I think it's going to be a struggle.

Don Silcock:

Yeah, I'm... everything I had planned.I had several big trips for this year all booked and reserved and everything and all of them have gone back into next year now. And it starts in late February in Cabo, Mexico, that seems to be operating there. So if I can get there, I think that will work. But then I've got two back to back trips in can't even say properly , Tubbatattaha...Tubbataha... to the Philippines. You can only get there at a couple of months a year,

Matt Waters:

Its the Philippine sardine run effectively.

Don Silcock:

Yeah, and then, erm...stuff in, in the Americas and South America. I'm doing the southern right whales in Argentina, hopefully.

Matt Waters:

And that's the problem. It's not the fact that the operators aren't there. It's the getting there. You know that that Galapagos Galapagos trip I mentioned, the difficulty there is that I've got people coming from seven different countries. You're not gonna guarantee that they're all gonna get there. And from Australia to that side of the world?

Lissa Rebec:

Well, Americans can travel.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, but that's America and South America.

Don Silcock:

We're very fortunate here that there's almost zero community transmission. Right now. What is happening seems to be directly related to the quarantine facilities. Seems to be. The vaccine rollout is happening. And I think everything is pointing to the fact that we should be able to start travelling next year. I think

Matt Waters:

I was gonna, I was gonna ask, I'm surprised you've not had it yet. I thought the obese got hit first. Right. I think we'll wrap it up gang. We've been going for well over an hour. Lissa, thank you very much for coming on the show.

Lissa Rebec:

Can I just say Don? I didn't ask you, and I've asked you this Matt. But um, have you seen the documentary about consta...( laughing)I can't do this joke...I wanted to end our session with a joke, but I just I keep laughing at my own jokes. I'm really bad at telling jokes

Don Silcock:

Its something about cons, cons...

Matt Waters:

Try again, go on

Lissa Rebec:

Have you seen the documentary about constipation?

Don Silcock:

No, I haven't.

Lissa Rebec:

That's right. It hasn't come out yet. My favourite joke.

Matt Waters:

Sea Shepherd. This is your representative...

Don Silcock:

On that note, could I buy a T shirt?

Lissa Rebec:

Absolutely.

Matt Waters:

Erm, gang? It's a it's a trial kind of episode. I hope you've enjoyed it. And maybe we'll, we'll, we'll see how many, you know if we get 10 or 12 people listening to it, then maybe we do it again next month, eh?

Lissa Rebec:

We never hear it. It was shit.

Matt Waters:

Guys, thanks for being on the show.

Lissa Rebec:

Thanks for having us.

Don Silcock:

Thanks so much.

Matt Waters:

Cheers, guys. Thanks everybody, the podcast for the inquisitive diver.