Home NewsAustralia Free diver’s 60 years in the water saw ‘lots of money, lots of danger, and lots of fun’

Free diver’s 60 years in the water saw ‘lots of money, lots of danger, and lots of fun’

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It has been nearly 60 years since Jon Stewart first started free diving within the deep, chilly waters of the south coast of WA, and he continues to spend loads of time diving and sourcing his dinner from the ocean.

The Albany resident had his first style of the game as a 9-year-old, making pals with a boy round his personal age who he noticed fishing in Princess Royal Harbour. 

With a pair of googles in hand, the duo started experimenting with diving across the many alternative coastal areas of the area.

“We figured it out after which turned fairly proficient at diving,” Mr Stewart stated.

“The game was in style in Albany on the time and a neighborhood membership within the space had two Australian champions as members. 

“The membership welcomed us into their group and taught us all the things they knew.

Mr Stewart stated he would frequently compete in competitions the place divers had been required to swim unassisted for 4 hours round islands, headlands, and reefs.

A man holds two photographs in his hands depicting him on a boat and him holding a large fish
Jon spent a few years working within the diving and fishing business, together with on pearling boats off the coast of Broome.(ABC Nice Southern: Ellie Honeybone)

He turned his consideration from leisure diving to business work and spent a few years working within the pearling commerce within the north of the state.

Now on the age of 69, Mr Stewart nonetheless dives ceaselessly, with a particular affinity for the clear water of the south coast. 

“The factor down right here is there is no tide to cope with. Up north you are at all times swimming towards the tide, down right here you do not have to fret about that,” he stated.

“You simply chill out, do your respiratory, swim ahead, use your momentum and down you go. 

“I acquire all of the meals I would like. Across the rocks near city you’ll at all times get sufficient for a feed so long as you are not grasping.”

An old aluminium boat parked in a backyard
Jon’s trusty previous boat which he makes use of to discover the waters round his residence in Albany. (ABC Nice Southern: Ellie Honeybone)

Considered one of Mr Stewart’s most prized possessions is an previous diving helmet that reminds him of these early days within the pearling business. 

“All my life I needed to get a helmet, it is a heritage factor for us,” he stated.

However regardless of its vintage standing and iconic design, Mr Stewart’s associate will not let him show the merchandise in the home. 

“It is such a unclean, ugly factor, however I like it,” Mr Stewart stated.

“It is most likely the most costly backyard decoration you’ve got ever seen”.

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