VA­LERIE TAY­LOR

Scuba Diver Australasia - - Gear -

FOR­EVER FA­MOUS FOR be­ing part of the pi­o­neer­ing hus­band-and-wife team that were the first peo­ple to film great white sharks un­der­wa­ter with­out a cage, and for cap­tur­ing the live scenes from the in­fa­mous movie, Jaws, Va­lerie Tay­lor’s in­flu­ence and im­pact ex­tends far fur­ther than the realm of un­der­wa­ter film­mak­ing; she is one of the world’s most avid and suc­cess­ful ma­rine con­ser­va­tion­ists.

VA­LERIE TAYOR’S LOVE af­fair with the ocean started with free­d­iv­ing and spearfish­ing in the wa­ters of her na­tive Aus­tralia. In 1963, Va­lerie, née Heighes, mar­ried Ron Tay­lor, form­ing an inimitable part­ner­ship that lasted for the next 52 years. They soon switched from spearfish­ing to hunt­ing ma­rine life with cam­eras. In 1973 Va­lerie was fea­tured on the cover of Na­tional Ge­o­graphic hold­ing the cam­era setup that Ron had de­signed and built for her.

VA­LERIE WAS THE clear star of the ground­break­ing movie Blue Wa­ter, White Death test­ing the very first chain­mail shark suit to full ef­fect, in a thrilling en­counter with a blue shark. The film in­cluded the world’s first 35mm footage of a great white in its nat­u­ral habi­tat, a pro­ject that led to their work with Stephen Spiel­berg on Jaws. THEIR UN­DER­WA­TER FILM­MAK­ING es­capades brought them face-to-face with the in­creas­ing chal­lenges fac­ing the oceans. They dis­cov­ered min­ing claims on sev­eral Coral Sea is­lands, vi­tal breeding grounds for seabirds, bring­ing it to the at­ten­tion of the gov­ern­ment, and were in­stru­men­tal in sav­ing th­ese re­mote is­lands.

THEY WENT ON to cam­paign for the pro­tec­tion of a num­ber of im­por­tant ma­rine ecosys­tems, in­clud­ing the now iconic Cod Hole, at which potato cod can still be found to­day, thanks to their tire­less ef­forts.

IN 2000 VA­LERIE Tay­lor was in­au­gu­rated into the Amer­i­can Women Divers Hall of Fame, and she and Ron be­come in­au­gu­ral mem­bers of the In­ter­na­tional Scuba Div­ing Hall of Fame.

IN 2013 VA­LERIE was a in­vited by the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment when they de­clared a ma­rine sanc­tu­ary in the South­ern Ocean, nam­ing it the “Ron and Va­lerie Tay­lor Ma­rine Park”.

AT THE AGE of 81, she is still ac­tively ad­vo­cat­ing for the oceans.

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