We held our CAPT. Nobby Buckley Memorial Dive at Edithburgh Jetty today (22nd December 2021). Let me explain.
I made my first dive trip to the Yorke Peninsula in June 1979. It was a (MARIA) club trip to Edithburgh; probably the first time that I had seen the jetty there. I logged just two dives for the weekend – one at Port Giles jetty and one at Edithburgh jetty the next day. The Edithburgh dive was only my 24th ever dive.
We were camping at the Edithburgh Caravan Park for the weekend. We got to meet an ‘elderly’ wet-suited gentleman at Edithburgh before our trip to Port Giles. He said that he was about to dive at the Edithburgh jetty and that he would let us know what it was like.
We learned that he was an ex-air pilot called Captain Nobby Buckley. We were very impressed when he told us that he was 73 years old and still diving. I could only hope to be able to emulate him by still diving in my 70s myself. Nobby turned up again the next day, asking if he could join us on our dive at Edithburgh jetty that day. It appears that he did just that, although I have nothing concrete to go on.
I have been recalling meeting Nobby at Edithburgh ever since 1979, especially as I got closer and closer to the age of 70. I might at least still be able to dive when I turn 70, I kept thinking to myself. I finally turned 70 in December 2021 and, as luck would have it, Chris Hall suggested that we dive at Edithburgh just before Christmas. My thoughts returned to Nobby once more and I discovered that he was born on Boxing Day in 1905. I decided that we could dive in his memory a few days before Boxing Day.
A little more research about Nobby revealed that his name was actually Noble Buckley. It turns out that his father, Allan Buckley named Noble Park in Melbourne after his son. Nobby took up diving with the British Sub Aqua Club at the age of 65. He had only been diving for about 8 years when we met him at Edithburgh.
According to SOUTH AUSTRALIAN AVIATION MUSEUM, SIGNIFICANT AVIATOR PROFILES, NOBLE (NOBBY) SYDNEY DOUGLAS BUCKLEY MBE by Paul Divett from the South Australian Aviation Museum Inc. History Group in January 2017, Nobby Buckley “died on the 21st June 1981 at age 75. He spent the day of his death scuba diving with other BSAC members off the coast of Adelaide and after returning home died peacefully in his sleep.”
So Nobby died less than two years after we had met him at Edithburgh. He was still diving up to his premature death at the age of 75. He may have just managed ten years’ of diving since the age of 65.
My dive time at Edithburgh back in June 1979 was 80 minutes (double that of my dive time at the deeper Port Giles the day before). The only comments that I made in my dive logbook at the time was what I had managed to collect for my home aquariums.
I returned to Edithburgh for three dives in two days at the end of 1979. I was back there again in February 1980. I returned again at Easter for more dives, including a couple at Edithburgh. More trips followed each year throughout the 1980s. It’s fair to say that I dived at Edithburgh jetty a couple of times each year, until I remarried in 1990 that is.
My trips to Edithburgh petered out in later years. One memorable dive there, however, occurred in 2008 whilst I was doing some monitoring training through Reef Life Surveys. A white pointer shark swam over a couple of our divers and even caused a couple of them to hide behind jetty piles. I didn’t return back to the jetty for another 13 years after that, although not for that reason.
I finally got to return there in 2021, several times in fact, but some of the trips that I did make were disappointing due to poor weather conditions there. I had to change location on a few occasions. My last dive there, prior to this one, was a good one, however.
Today’s dive was equally good. Three of us did the dive which lasted some 90 minutes. We saw many great creatures, including a couple of leafy seadragons. I was the last one to enter the water, which, coincidentally, turned out to be at ‘Remembrance’ time – 11.11am. Very fitting for remembering Capt. Nobby Buckley.