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RECORDS and quasi-records
I have to confess that when, after several ten of years spearfishing, I have discovered that there was someone, somewhere, keeping track of all that wonderful fish caught all around the World, and recorded the best as records, I went rather mad (well, more than before, my detractors would).
But what: records? Me too, me too!
Proceeding orderly, my first record recorded in chronological order was for the wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri), a species belonging to the Scombridae family, that of the tunas to be clear.
Wahoo - Western Australia
The image quality is not as good as it is nowadays.
In my defense, I must say that they were originally shot with a Nikonos II (late 60s) on a film, recorded on Ektachrome slide, duplicated for safety for my archive. Despite everything, however, there are scratches and damage to the delicate photographic emulsion.
Decades later, I had my entire archive converted to digital by professionals.
What you see is the result...
It was 1998, we were in Western Australia, returning from the Australian-style camp in the wild outback of Ningaloo Reef. And from Perth we drove north to Shark Bay. And there, together with Greg Pickering, freediving and spearfishing Australian champion, we were exploring the waters of the Zuytdorp Cliffs, in the open ocean...
The most important was certainly the World Record, on a fish of the Blue, in the open ocean, caught following the complex rules of the organizations that recognize the records, which impose the absolute independence of the catch from any outside help.
It is a long-awaited record, pursued throughout the 2005 Round the World spearfishing Tour and, finally, achieved.
Something I had dreamed of years ago, first as just an almost impossible vision, then, over the years, getting closer and closer. The purchase of frighteningly expensive but frighteningly effective equipment. The acceptance that, in the water, with the possibility of a Record Fish around, it was essential to focus only on that, and wait for the Dream to become Reality. Willingly endure the feeling of coming out of the water without any fish, again and again. And start over with determination the next morning. Being in the ocean itself as the only reward.
The calm acceptance of bad days, empty blue waters all around, and the happiness of contemplating teeming ocean lives. Always concentrated, waiting for the Dream to become Reality, coagulating, right ... now !, the waters beneath you.
And then the satisfaction of the Record, finally, in an unhurried time, in your hands, so so you can contemplate its wonders. The deep contentment of knowing that better and bigger fish will certainly be caught in the future but, this, here, right now, is mine.
That curious sensation, which tries with difficulty not to become a scream, to shout to the world "I am first!".
And, finally, the profound pleasure of knowing that I am the first Italian spearfisher ever to win this honor. And, what's more, not in the home waters, easier in hundreds of ways, against countless competitors who fish where this fish is at home ...
Sailfish - World Record
Cape Verde archipelago, July 2005, off the southeast coast of the island of Sal. The fish has been recognized as a World Record by both the IBSRC (International Bluewater Spearfishing Record Committee) and the IUSA (International Underwater Spearfishing Association).
Why quasi-record? This is a bit childish ... But, once I found out that the records existed , I went to check them and compared them with what I had caught myself. And it turned out that one of my fish could have been registered as a record ... if only I knew at the time !
This amberjack was caught in some deep reef of the Strait of Sicily in the 1992 summer. Its weight was higher than that recorded on that date by the IUSA (International Underwater Spearfishing Association), an association that records species from any environment, not just the most prestigious ones, that of the Blue.
It would have been a record...
This quasi-record is a bit stranger. As soon as I caught it, my Australian friends had looked at me very strangely. On shore, then, weighing the fish, the mystery was revealed: the fish, they told me, was NOT a record, for just a kilo and a half, a trifle. The fish was still so beautiful and I was happy all the same.
However, in retrospect, I found that whoever caught that record fish they told me about had forgotten the little detail of the recording of the fish . Officially, therefore, that record did not exist .
And my Spanish was truly a record fish ! I mean, it would have been a record if I had recorded it too!
Western Australia, July 1997, Australian winter.
Campsite in the Australian outback of Ningaloo Reef.