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No. 17 (December 1956)
– 49 –
 

SPEARFISHING

((continued from p. 38)

Sea. One of our members, Peter Te Kani, a carpenter, made a very presentable skiff which we have christened “Susie, the Swimming Skiff”, to transport little groups of members to their diving haunts around Mt Maunganui.

One of our big excursions was made last Easter to Karewa Island about five miles from Mt Maunganui where exceptional catches are reputed to be possible. Whether this reputation is true or false still remains to be seen as, when we arrived there, all fish seemed to have gone away for their Easter holidays or whatever they do at that time of the year.

Three of us, Turi Te Kani, Deryck Werohia and I sought our sport among the islets lying off Karewa but, encountering nothing of worthwhile size, we decided to explore an imposing cave running into the island, where we were hopeful we might meet up with crayfish. We rowed into the mouth of the cave, the roar of the confined sea surging into our ears. One by one we slipped into the water diving down where the swell merely swayed us gently. Visibility was remarkably clear and we saw Maumau tinged with a delicate blue and Leather Jackets both in profusion but small. Turi caught one Maumau about a foot long. I speared one slightly smaller and that was our total catch. Possibly that week-end was Kore Kore on the Maori fishing calendar.

Under the water we have, of course, our frightening experiences, but once safely negotiated they form the nucleus for our fishermen's yarns. On one occasion one of our members, in deep murky water, brushed up against a sand-papery surface. On investigation it proved to be a Shark; the investigation suddenly concluded and the said member left the district with the nearest approach to supersonic speed of which he was capable.

On another occasion Walter Bridger and Turi Te Kani met up with a moderately sized Stingray. Turi attacked, his spear penetrated and held, and the struggle was on. Walter, seeing Turi in a spot of bother, attacked also. Transfixed with two spears, the ray decided to vacate. This it did in spite of the efforts of two lusty men to dissuade it. From the melee were lost one ray, one spearhead and one complete spear. The credit side showed a much greater respect by two men for the Stingray. These rays have been encountered on several occasions around the Mount. It certainly deserves respect for, molested, its jagged sting could inflict a mortal wound should one be within range of that whip.

Graceful it is as it moves through the water, silent and more graceful than a bird, but its very litheness is awe-inspiring. Man's reaction could not be more expressively put than the remark of one of our members: “She was a lovely sight but boy! I sure scaled out—fast!”