Interview with Bert Keulder – The Old Man Blue

Today’s interview is with Bert Keulder – the Old Man Blue, as you may know him. He’s done everything you can think of in the water, including being tossed into the air by a Great White shark! A well traveled, highly experienced spearo that is deeply in love with the ocean, he has done it all and has an absolute wealth of knowledge from his years growing up near Cape Town, South Africa and living, working and spearfishing all around the world throughout his life. We chat about his early childhood days being dragged around the kelp forests in the Atlantic on an inflated car tube, his days in the military playing underwater hockey to when he worked as a diamond miner along the West Coast of Africa, to living and diving in Fiji with commercial fishermen until finally settling down in WA where he lives and dives today. He is an excellent resource and spearos of any experience level can learn a lot from him. He also makes exceptionally high quality dive gear that is designed to work well and not stop working for a long, long time. If he can give you one piece of advice, ENJOY your diving, be relaxed, take your time and really take in the experience.
Let us know what you think of today’s episode and be sure to check out Old Man Blue’s store.

NSP156 Bert Keulder 1:1

Important Times:

  • 00:20 Intro
  • 04:00 Welcome to Bert and chat about Aqualyte
  • 06:02 Official welcome and Ben’s email
  • 07:50 Old Man Blue gear review
  • 10:14 Estuary Cod bag design
  • 11:24 Aqualyte
  • 13:42 Eating and preparing for a dive day
  • 15:21 How old are you – reflecting back on life
  • 17:00 How did you start diving?
  • 18:42 How has the ocean affected you?
  • 20:40 Childhood diving and getting dragged around the kelp forests
  • 22:52 Hunting Red Steenbras
  • 24:10 My Octopus Teacher
  • 25:52 Eric J Anderson episode
  • 26:38 Diving alone
  • 28:26 Younger divers vs the older generation
  • 29:42 Stages of progression in your spearfishing
  • 30:37 Diving today vs back in the day
  • 33:07 Equipment
  • 36:21 The evolution of spearfishing equipment
  • 37:00 Emphasis on tools vs skills
  • 38:14 The “scarcity mindset”
  • 40:18 Bert’s unsinkable dive boat – The Hallubaloo
  • 43:10 Becoming a boat captain
  • 45:04 Diving the inshore reefs
  • 45:16 Best advice to prospective boat buyers
  • 45:58 The Hallubaloo
the dive boat Hallubaloo

The Hallubaloo

  • 46:46 Sage advice
  • 47:00 Tell us about your boat
  • 48:23 Rules on the boat
  • 49:33 Sustainability and sharing spots
  • 50:15 Don’t be a cowboy
  • 53:16 Sharing fish on the boat
  • 54:26 Spearfishing as a team sport
  • 56:11 A quick story with some more sage advice – the ocean will give you gifts
  • 57:08 Bert’s days in the military
  • 58:44 Seal/Duiker Island in Houtbay
Bert and Garth in Houtbay

Garth and Bert in Houtbay, Cape Town

Duiker Island and Boat

Duiker Island near Houtbay – Image from drumbeatcharters.co.za


  • 60:46 Diamond diving
  • 64:06 Can I go dive for my own diamonds?
An old diamond diving setup

An old diamond diving setup

  • 65:42 Travelling
Bert diving with commercial divers in Fiji

Bert diving with commercial divers in Fiji

  • 69:39 The logo and Old Man Blue ethos
  • 75:20 Hunting fish in WA
  • 79:44 How do you slow yourself down?
  • 82:38 Getting stuck and dealing with panic
  • 84:43 Funny stories
  • 89:39 Spearo Q&A:
    Single best piece of advice you’ve received
    Who is the most influential spearo for you?
    What is the spearfishing experience in one sentence?
  • 92:35 Final advice
  • 93:50 Bert’s experience with sharks and getting tossed into the air by a Great White shark
  • 100:10 Shrek’s closing words


Cape Point Lighthouse

Cape Point Lighthouse in Cape Town where Bert was tossed into the air by a Great White shark – Photo By Diego Delso

Bert in the old days getting ready for a dive with friends

Getting ready for a dive in the old days

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