At the very moment of 7:00 AM this morning the roller door on our garage churned its way up, lifting the veil on a project that has lain dormant for at least a year. I built a trailer for my bike from an old wooden pallet and a $10 bike from the dump. The coupling, and indeed the idea, is the brainchild of a guy from Christchurch and you can see his webpage here about making cycle trailers (www.cycletrailers.co.nz). I had built it about 1 year ago but have not had the chance to use it!
The fishbins were loaded with my spearfishing gear (see the photo below), and after about 40 minutes cycling from my house I was at my destination with my mate Steve. We had the usual archetypal Wellington dive that included paua (an abalone), butterfish (greenbone/mararï), blue moki and rock lobster (crayfish/matapuku).
The paua are gathered by hand, using a soft plastic spatula to prise them from the rocks. The fish are of course taken with a speargun, and the crayfish require a fast hand to grab them as the shoot backwards into their caves when the realise what is happening.
Spearfishing is like deerstalking, it has finesse and requires a delicate touch. If movements are too rapid then the fish will spook. Many of the fish I shoot are taken while I lie motionless on the bottom of the ocean. Catching crayfish with your bare hands is the total opposite, and something I confess I am only marginally capable of. It is the ‘pig hunting’ of the ocean; rough, dirty work in amongst the weeds and in caves. No weapon is required (or indeed, even allowed), it is a hand-to-claw fair contest – one of which the crayfish often get the better of me on. Remember, we are freediving, so that means you are holding your breath and on borrowed time! Todays single crayfish was taken at 10 metres (30 feet) after 1 minute below.
There are some curious and very talented folks I have dived with who have a seventh sense for picking up crayfish. It is hard to understand just how gifted these people are until you have had an attempt at it yourself. It is not easy.
I had collected my catch without the use of any fossil fuel at all, and got back to the house by 10:30 AM ready to spend the day with my family!