Gary is the type of guy who dosen't take no for an answer until the answer is found.
Originally from Florida in the United States, he moved to Australia in 1990. Diving back in the early 1970s was the start of his love of the ocean. Having surfed for many years the ocean has always "been there".
After giving up a long successful adventure in skydiving (5100 jumps) Gary decided to get back into diving. After being shown a red and white spotted Nudibranch on a wreck in Vanuatu the addiction started. He found that it was impossible to remember Nudibranchs and get accurate identifications. So he bought a Nikon Coolpix 5000 with Subal housing and his quest to discover all the Nudibranchs in his "backyard".
Gary also wants to enlighten, educate and make everyone who will listen, about Nudibranchs. You could say he is obsessed!
A graphic designer, artist and photographer by profession for many years, has helped in his quest by designing and building a book and website about Nudibranchs.
Besides being "excited" about Nudibranchs, Gary likes to dive every weekend with his dive buddy David Mullins and Rock climb. Always 'on the go' takes Gary somewhere out-there! Hiking is a fav pastime too.
<- A World Record for the Longest Submergence on a single 12L tank of air was broken on Sept 2003 by Greg Riddell and Gary at Sunshine Plaza Maroochydore Sunshine Coast Australia. They broke the record with a time of 7 hours 40 minutes and 14 seconds.
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"Jo" Jorina van der Westhuizen
Jo is currently based in Brisbane, originally from South-Africa she has been involved in Television Production and Video Editing for many years.
Trained as a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, with experience in technical diving in South-Africa before immigrating to Australia where she worked as a Instructor and Underwater Videographer in Cairns. Moving interstate in 2002 Jo was employed as a video editor at Network Ten and freelanced as an editor at the ABC.
She was first introduced to the magical world of Nudibranchs when she was offered an opportunity to compile Neville Coleman's Nudibranchs Encyclopedia and from there she became fascinated by these fabulous little critters.
Trading as Digital Illusions she's been filming underwater documentaries and freelancing for Neville Coleman's World of Water since 2006, accompanied him on various expeditions, assisting Neville on his website and the compilation of his Wildlife series, Marine Life Identification and Marine Fish ID Apps and the development of the Hazardous Marine Life eBook series for iPad.
Jo's goal is to graduate from her "Nudibranchs P Plate" and to become an active member of the Nudibranch.com.au team and help contribute to the discovering and recording of Nudibranchs on the Sunshine Coast.
David has been diving since 1974 at which time there were no national certifying agencies for scuba but he was taking underwater photos long before then with a Nemrod Siluro (box brownie type) underwater camera from Spain which used flash bulbs that he carried in an old football sock.
He had developed a love of boating, marine ecosystems and of Moreton Bay early on from his father on their frequent bay and offshore fishing trips. Back in the 1980’s David sailed Moreton Bay every weekend in his own 33 foot trimaran, “Samorn” with family aboard, and diving whenever time and tide permitted.
He has undertaken very few trips away to exotic locations due to work commitments, preferring anyway to focus on his “backyard”, the local south-east Queensland sites and its wildlife. He has had photographs and articles published under his mantle of “Marine Images”.
During the late 70’s and early 80’s he won and was placed in a number of national underwater photographic competitions.
Above: David in branching mode.
In the early 80’s he left his professional acupuncture career and put on hold his part time marine science studies to work in and develop the family business. It was during this period that David became a warranted leader with the Scout Association both in the Cub Scout and Venturer sections as well as instructing in canoeing and abseiling activities. These times hold many treasured memories but were also marked by tragic attempts at learning to play the saxophone.
In 2003 after a hiatus of a number of years, due to family and business commitments, he returned to diving and underwater photography with a vengeance and the encouragement of his wife Trish. With a skills and equipment upgrade including the eventual replacement of the faithful “Nikonosaurus” with a digital model he hit the water and teamed up with Gary Cobb (a kindred spirit) in the quest to find and document all the Opisthobranchs on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.
David has recently retired from the pressures of his successful engineering business and now spends every weekend scouring the coastal reefs and intertidal rocks for not only the next species to add to the list but also a photographic record of their natural history.
Although an amateur, David is committed to ensuring the team has all the equipment and skills required to run a professional, independent operation. His love of marine biology studies has never waned and his desire to know the why as well as the way of things still burns strongly.
Terry Farr and Julie Schubert
Terry and Julie have both been certified divers for many years and volunteer their dive time as certified Reef Check Surveyors. They met through a common enjoyment of ballroom dancing and started diving together in late 2007.
It was not until mid 2008 that they really discovered, or rediscovered, the local area and began diving seriously. Terry modified his boat to facilitate these diving excursions allowing them independence of dive site and timetable. Initially the reefs off Coolum and Old Woman Island were their favourite haunts but upon discovering that the bar at Caloundra was not that bad to cross, and being more convenient, they set out to investigate the reefs off Currimundi. They now have a number of favourite sites of varying depths in this area.
Their photographing of nudibranchs commenced largely because sea slugs don’t swim away, and thus allowed for several chances at composition to achieve that “perfect photo”. They both use Canon point & shoot compact cameras in underwater housings. The introduction of a dive-based database, allowing the allocation of species sighted to every dive, opened their eyes to the variety of species that would be seen and photographed on each of those dives.
After purchasing “Undersea Jewels” to aid in the identification of their finds, they introduced themselves to Gary in order to gain clarification and further identification assistance. The more they learned about these creatures the more intrigued they were and the more intensive the searching became. They now undertake intertidal searches when the weather precludes diving and when they do dive now, their goal is to find a species they have not seen before.
When Terry and Julie are not diving they are talking about it and nudibranchs, or if it is dark they are out dancing. Whilst both enjoy overseas dive holidays and seeing new and interesting creatures, that defy description, they both believe the local reefs offer some of the best and varied critter hunting around.
Terry is winding back his university lecturing commitments while Julie works as a project manager with an environmental consultancy.
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