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Some additional notes on the
THE HISTORY of DIVING
..

 
This page has been established for general interest as a result of contributions received from divers. It is not meant to be a complete history of diving, obviously, but rather an addition to the many excellent texts available. 
For books on the history of diving see our 
DIVING HISTORY category of new books....
SECOND-HAND BOOKS, and .....
CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS for an historic bibliographic record.

Links for your interest: 
DIVING HERITAGE
SE ASIA (Australia) DIVING HISTORICAL SOCIETY
US DIVING HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The US Society's page has several excellent features, including biographies of Phillippe Tailliez and Jacques Mayol.

VALE - JIM CHURCH
Respected author, educator and underwater photographer Jim Church died at his home in Florida, USA just a few hours before the end of year 2002. The author of hundreds of articles over thirty-two years, and several standard texts on the Nikonos System, and underwater videography will be sadly missed by all who knew him, and thoe who have benefited so much from his publications and teachings.
See the Word according to Church.
Tributes to Jim Church:
http://www.scubadiving.com/feature/news/010603jimchurch.shtml

VALE - PHILLIPPE TAILLIEZ
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Capitane Philippe Tailliez, on Thursday September 26, 2002, in Toulon, France. He was ninety-seven years of age. A diver since the 1930s, it was Tailliez who introduced Jacques Yves Cousteau to the sport of goggle fishing in 1936. Two years later he introduced Cousteau to Frederic Dumas and together the diving trio became the famed "Les Mousqemers" of the French Mediterranean coast. See the Classic Books website, Tailliez page.

PAUL TZIMOULIS
It is with the deepest regret that we report the passing of Mr. Paul Tzimoulis, one of the diving industry's true icons. Paul lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, and passed away at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tuesday June 3, 2003. During his five decades in diving, Paul was a mentor and friend to countless senior members of the diving community. The following account of Paul's career is edited from Pioneers In Diving, by Edward C. Carigle, and reproduced in email received with Ed's permission. More on Paul's career can be found at www.hds.org

Paul J. Tzimoulis is one of the true pioneers in sport diving.  He has encouraged photography, diving research and safety, and conservation in the underwater world by writing hundreds of articles to the public about diving. His management skills were very evident in the 34 years that he was the guiding force in dramatically building (the US) Skin Diver Magazine. He is an excellent writer and underwater photographer. 

 Tzimoulis has devoted over 45 years to diving and campaigning to preserve  the world beneath the waves.  He has an exceptionally wide range of experiences and is extremely knowledgeable.  His significant influence in the world-wide diving community has made a major impact on the advancement of diving. Born November 16, 1936 in New York, NY, hegrew up in  New York and Connecticut.  In 1951, Tzimoulis began free diving to explore the lakes of Connecticut.  He bought a gum rubber facemask and a pair of fins from a sporting good store. Being an avid fisherman, his natural curiosity lead to asking where bass were hiding in his neighborhood lake.  He began his search to answer this question by free diving.  As an early adventurer scuba diving in 1953, Tzimoulis experimented with homemade scuba.  Over the next few years, he used a converted Air  Force oxygen rebreather to expand his underwater exploration. 

His first real interest in diving was the result of a two-month trip to Miami, Florida, in the fall of 1954.  He was very impressed with the sport diving equipment there and bought his first manufactured scuba rig in 1956, an AquaLung.  In 1957, Tzimoulis opened a scuba training school and trained more than 5,000 divers throughout  Connecticut (New Haven, Bridgeport and Stamford). Expanding his diving even further, in 1957 he began professional sponge diving in Tarpon Springs, FL.

Tzimoulis started and operated one of the first East Coast retail dive stores in 1958, called the East Haven Diving Center. He also worked with retailers throughout the U.S. by developing diving promotional activities - including underwater film festivals, dive seminars and dive events. He quickly became a nationally recognized authority on wreck diving, underwater photography, treasure hunting and underwater natural history. He also worked a salvage inspector in the Long Island Sound. He became a Certified Scuba Instructor at the first YMCA Diving Institute, conducted in Boston (1960).  Shortly thereafter, he was appointed to the YMCA Board of Examiners for YMCA Diving Instructor Certification. He was the Customer Service Manager for U.S. Divers Company at their Stamford, Connecticut facility from 1959 to 1961. He subsequently served as East Coast Sales Manager for Sportsways, Inc. (1961 to 1963) - calling on retail dive stores from Maine to Key West. In 1962, Tzimoulis received his NAUI  Instructor Certification (#347) and soon joined the Eastern NAUI Board of Instructor Examiners.  He became a PADI Instructor (#125) during their first year of existence, 1966.  He also served on the teaching faculty of these organizations - training and certifying instructors.

For many years, Paul Tzimoulis has been keenly aware of the need for marine ecological study and underwater  conservation.  He joined the American Littoral Society in 1961 when it first started.  In December 1962, Skin Diver Magazine published an article by Tzimoulis, "Our Vanishing Wrecks."  By early 1963, he organized the Committee For The Preservation Of undersea Wrecks.  As Chairman of the Marine Preserves Committee of the American Littoral Society, he led a campaign to save the wreck of the U.S.S. San Diego, which lies off the South Shore of Long Island.  The campaign Tzimoulis started gained national recognition with an article in the August 16, 1963 issue of Life Magazine and a television interview by Hugh Downs on the Today Show.

His serious involvement in scuba training included him serving on the Board of Advisors of NAUI, PADI and YMCA. Of all professional underwater photographers, few are as widely known and as easily recognized as Paul Tzimoulis.  Beginning in 1957 with just an Argus C-3 in a plastic bag, the superb underwater photography of Tzimoulis has developed to a very high level of perfection. He won his first underwater photo competition in 1959.  He was a five-time winner of the Connecticut  Underwater Photography Competitions. Tzimoulis founded one of the first underwater photography schools, located in San Salvador, Bahamas.  He developed many of the teaching techniques still used today.  Tzimoulis conducted additional underwater photo courses in Hawaii, Bonaire, Florida Keys, Stella Maris and Chub Cay, Bahamas.

His first article, "Sponge Diving -- Scuba Style," appeared in the August 1959 Skin Diver. Paul Tzimoulis was chosen Chief Photographer for the December 1962 world record dive of Hannes Keller to 1,000 feet off Santa Catalina Island, California.  His documentary photos of this historic event were published in magazines and scientific journals all over the world. In 1964, the International Underwater Film Festival held in Santa Monica, California acclaimed Tzimoulis as, "the brightest young meteor on the horizons of diving's future."  At this prestigious Film Festival, Tzimoulis was awarded a "Special Tribute" for his  documentary filming of the Hannes Keller 1,000-foot deep dive.

He founded and was Executive Director of the first  International Underwater Film Festival held in New York City, held in February 1965.  Tzimoulis helped organize similar events in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston and Chicago. One of the early staff members on Skin Diver Magazine, Paul Tzimoulis joined the Magazine as Assistant Sales Manager in 1963, with primary responsibility being sales and promotion in the eastern portion of the United States.  For some time, Tzimoulis continued to supervise the Sportsways warehouse facility in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Tzimoulis was with Skin Diver Magazine for 34 years (1964-1998). In 1966, at the young age of 29 years old, Paul Tzimoulis was named Editor/Publisher of Skin Diver.  Since then, he served in various capacities - Editor, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher and Group Vice President (over several magazines at the parent company of Skin Diver, Petersen Publishing). During his tenure at Skin Diver,= he provided the dynamic leadership of development of such industry milestones as the certification care (C-Card), dive travel, dive computers and buoyancy compensators.

For many years he guided Skin Diver during its largest growth period, with many publishing innovations and contributions to diving.  After a distinguished career with Skin Diver, Tzimoulis retired as Vice President, Executive Publisher and Group Publisher for the Photography/Marine Division of Petersen Magazine Network. Not one for sitting on his laurels, Tzimoulis returned from retirement to become Executive Consultant of Sport Diver Magazine and Online Publisher of the Sport Diver Website.

 He has greatly helped protect the legal rights of sport divers and preservation of the ocean environment. Within just a few years he had accumulated a tremendous amount of diving, writing, photography, knowledge about the diving industry and an admirable ability in business management.

Tzimoulis is one of the founding fathers of dive travel.  He devoted 42 years to the development of dive travel as a sub-industry.  He made his first live-aboard dive cruise of the Bahamas in 1960.  Over the next 40 years, Tzimoulis helped to create many of today's most popular dive destinations, including: the Bahamas, Bonaire, Roatan, Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Truk Lagoon, Palau, Yap and many others.

His excellent underwater photography has appeared in numerous magazines, including Skin Diver, U.S. Camera, Underwater Naturalist, Leisure, Carte Blanche, Argosy, Sea Venture and several other leading publications.  He has won many honors and tributes for his underwater photography work at film festivals.  He has one of the country's most complete photographic and research files on diving. One of his true gifts is the class he shows as Master of Ceremonies for countless underwater film festivals, award ceremonies and other formal functions. As a very  knowledgeable and polished speaker, he has conducted Underwater Photography Seminars and courses in many parts of the world. 

He has also shared his tremendous first-hand experience in writing numerous articles on photography.Tzimoulis co-authored a classic book on underwater photography with HankFrey, entitled Camera Below (Association Press, 1968).  This is one of the first books published on underwater photography.  Camera Below includes everything from the properties of the underwater environment, to still and movie equipment and techniques, to photo competitions and film festivals.  The book remains one of the most complete guides to the art and science of underwater photography.

He is a prolific writer on many other ocean subjects, including marine li fe, ocean technology, diving equipment, underwater operations and many other aspects of the oceans and lakes of the world. During his almost five decades of involvement in diving, Tzimoulis has been involved in numerous historical milestones:
Early development of the YMCA diver and scuba instructor certification program.
Creation and development of NAUI.
Creation and development of PADI.
Still photographer for the Hannes Keller 1,000-foot ocean dive.
Discovery and filming of the lost Japanese submarine I-169 in Truk Lagoon.
Discovery and development of Manta Ray diving in Yap, Micronesia.
Early development and promotion of dive tourism to Palau, Micronesia.
Creation of the Paul Tzimoulis Underwater Photo School at San Salvador, Bahamas.
Development of early shark diving at Stella Maris, Bahamas.
Development of dive tourism to Bonaire.
Development of dive tourism to the Cayman Islands
Discovery and naming of Stingray City, Grand Cayman

His leadership and tremendous knowledge of the diving industry has resulted in Tzimoulis being members of several Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards, including NAUI, the NAUI Diving Association, the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and In 2002, Tzimoulis was elected Chairman of The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. Under his leadership, the Academy has made great strides in expansion and operational improvement.
Since 1957, Paul Tzimoulis has received more than 50 awards from the diving industry.  In recent years these have included:
DEMA Hall of Fame (1997); PADI Outstanding Achievement Award (1998); induction into the Cayman Islands International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (2001); Interspace Pacifica; Boston Underwater Club; the Sir Turtle Award of the Cayman Isla nds; and many others. 

Paul Tzimoulis and wife Geri Murphy have worked together since 1975.  They were married in 1987.

(Thankyou to Ed Cargile for this summary, and to Sam Miller for bringing it to my attention). 

LUIS MARDEN
Adventurer, photographer, diver, journalist
25 January 1913 - 3 March 2003

Luis Marden, a writer and photographer who prowled the globe for National Geographic for 64 years, sometimes vanishing for months with little more than a pith helmet, quinine water and a medical kit, died in Arlington, Virginia. He was 90. 

Marden was one of the last of Geographic's old-time adventurers who went to great lengths to get material for his articles. He was the writer or photographer for 55 articles, contributed to five
books and was a prolific lecturer.

An orchid and a sea flea were named after him. 

Marden did more to introduce 35-millimetre colour photos than anyone else, Cathy Newman
wrote in Geographic. Before he showed up in 1934 with a lightweight Leica, Geographic photographers carried 90 kilograms of gear into the field. He introduced sceptical colleagues to Kodachrome, which gave richer, more vibrant colours and higher contrast than other film and became standard for Geographic and many other magazines.He pioneered underwater photography in dives with Jacques-Yves Cousteau, developing ways to use filters and auxiliary lighting to enhance color. 

Marden's heart was in his larger-than-life adventures, often retracing the explorers' steps. He found the wreck of Captain Bligh's Bounty, retraced Columbus' voyage to the New World and theorised a landfall different from earlier conjectures. He and his wife, Ethel, his sole immediate
survivor, lived in a house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for them in McLean, Virginia.

Annibale Luigi Paragallo was bom on January 25, 1913, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He did not go to college, but learned Egyptian hieroglyphics and five languages as a teenager. He went to work at a radio station in Boston, where he had a photography program. He changed his name to Luis Marden because the station manager told him that it was easier on the ears.

After working as a freelance photographer for the Boston Herald, he took a job in the Geographic
photo laboratory. His first assignment as a reporter was in the Yucatan Peninsula, during which he inched overland with a Model T Ford and then a mule and got the bends in a holy Mayan well.
After he saw a rudder from the Bounty in a museum on Fiji, he pestered his editors to let him
dive off Pitcaim Island in the South Pacific. He found the wreck in 1957.
"One lifetime isn't enough," Marden said. "Just when you start to learn, it's time to go."

(Douglas Martin, New York Times)
 

VALE 
WHEELER J. NORTH
Died December 2002, 80 years of age, of leukemia. 
Wheeler J. North studied the undersea world with passion and was one of the true diving pioneers.
Wheeler J. North, a genteel marine biologist who helped open the undersea world to scientific exploration in the 1950s through  his pioneering dives in Southern California's lush kelp forests.
"The world of science has lost one of its great marine biologists ­ and ecologists," said Mike Curtis, a senior scientist at MBC Applied Environmental Sciences in Costa Mesa who spent years diving with North.
North, who lived in Corona del Mar and Costa Mesa for the past 40 years, was one of the world's first "aquanauts," or scuba-diving scientists. Overcoming a physical infirmity, he spent more than 30 years exploring the waters of California and Mexico, performing seminal studies on the nature and growth cycle of kelp forests and the effects humans have on them.

His dives in such places as Laguna Beach, Palos Verdes and Point Loma helped reveal that kelp forests are as vital and productive as any terrestrial forest since they provide food or shelter to more than 800 marine plants and animals. He took ocean-temperature measurements during his decades of diving, adding to science's understanding of how the El Niño climate phenomenon influences the size of kelp, the so-called "sequoias of the sea.

North also was a gifted wordsmith, writing in National Geographic in 1972, "At day's end, I often relax by lazily roaming the upper branches of the tall forest where I work. Creatures bizarre and beautiful swarm about me. Overhead, the tangled foliage almost obscures the daylight. But I need no tree climbing irons; only swim fins. The air I breathe is carried on my back. I am a scuba forester and the 'trees' I tend are giant vine-like streamers from the ocean floor off Southern California."

North was born on Jan. 12, 1922 in San Francisco. His family moved to the San Diego area a short time later, and North began exploring the tide pools of La Jolla Cove at 7. His attention soon drifted to the kelp beds near shore. He wondered what type of fish lived amid the amber stalks and fronds of giant kelp, a curiosity North began to satisfy in 1949 when he purchased one of the first 10 Aqua-Lungs sold in the United States. The Aqua-Lung was an underwater breathing device invented by Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnon. There were no decent wetsuits at the time. So North put on woolen underwear, hoping that it would provide some warmth during his first dives. It didn't. But it mattered little to North, who recalled those dives in 1995:
     "Even at a shallow depth, I was immersed in a remarkable community. Fish of all kinds slowly passed by instead
     of fleeing like animals do on land. Eelgrass and kelp swayed with the current. I was mesmerized."

North's forays into the sea were interrupted in 1951 when he accidentally fell 15 feet down a cliff and broke his back and severely injured a leg. He recovered, but walked with a slight limp the rest of his life. He went on to earn a degree in environmental engineering and joined the research staff of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla in the mid-1950s, where he came under the tutelage of the legendary Conrad Limbaugh, creator of the nation's first civilian scuba-diving course.

North's dives and research helped reveal the environmental importance of kelp forests, which provide to food and shelter to  over 800 types of animals and plants. He became a masterful diver and a prodigious researcher. In 1956, he started the Kelp Project, a research effort in which Scripps scientists spent five years doing exhaustive underwater studies of kelp. North also undertook one of the most important challenges of his career ­ figuring out why kelp forests were shrinking off Laguna Beach, Palos Verdes and Point Loma. He determined that sewage flowing into the ocean helped feed the sea-urchin population, and that the urchins in turn feasted on the lower portion of kelp stalks. North later showed that the warm-water discharge from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station created underwater turbulence that made it difficult for kelp to grow offshore of the power plant. Both studies underscored the impact humans have on California's near-shore waters.

North left Scripps in the early 1960s and joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology, where he taught a popular marine-ecology course, among other classes. He split his time between Caltech's Pasadena campus and the school's Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory in Corona del Mar. During the ensuing years North and his collaborators developed techniques for restoring and transplanting kelp. 
     "His concern on Wednesday night was for the kelp plants we had planted off Laguna beach the prior week and how they would survive the present storm," said Chuck Mitchell, president of MBC Applied Environmental Sciences. 

North provided scientists and the public with an unusual perspective of such kelp beds by conducting regular aerial  photographic surveys of kelp canopy from an airplane that he slowly flew up and down the Southern California coast. He quietly sat in the plane, steering through the skies with an ever-present smile. "He must have been coded for the genes that expresses endorphins. He was eternally optimistic," said Michael Hoffman, dean of graduate studies at Caltech. 

Over the years, North also taught scores of young research scientists to scuba dive, often using the cov es off Laguna Beach   as his classroom. He was something of a human squid underwater, outpacing people half his age despite the problems he suffered with one of his legs. "I had all I could do in just keeping up with the end of his fins," said MBC's Curtis. Curtis' boss, Chuck Mitchell, said : "Scuba was a tool and not some demonstration of macho. It enabled this classic 'Caltech nerd' with a   pocket protector to make firsthand observations on the sea floor and begin a lifetime study of kelp. He has been and will continue to be an inspiration to generations of marine biologist and diving scientists."

Obituary by Gary Robbins, The Orange County Register.
Kindly provided by Sam & Betty Miller, and A. B. Rechnitzer 

LENI RIEFENSTAHL TURNS 100
As the centenarian prepared to celebrate on Thursday (22 August) near her home outside Munich, a Gypsy organisation announced it was suing her over allegations she used slave laborers as extras in her film "Lowlands" between 1940 and 1942. Riefenstahl  gained notoriety for the propaganda films she made for the Nazis. The Cologne-based organization Rom says Riefenstahl used 120 Gypsies from concentration camps in Salzburg and Berlin, then failed to prevent them from being returned to the Nazi camp system, where many died. The group said it was suing Riefenstahl for Holocaust denial, a crime in Germany. Hitler selected the dancer-turned-actress to be Nazi Germany's official filmmaker and gave her vast resources to make movies that idealized and glorified Nazism. She gained wide acclaim for "Triumph of the Will," a documentary on the 1934 Nuremberg rally, and "Olympia," a filmed record of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. But she was ostracized after World War II and spent an active later life protesting against condemnation of her Nazi links. Riefenstahl always denied political involvement with the Nazi party or any romantic link with Hitler. She defended her work by saying she was only filming what was happening in Germany at the time. Riefenstahl was acquitted twice by allied "denazification courts" after the war ended in 1945 but was jailed by French occupation authorities for helping the Nazi propaganda machine. Blacklisted as a filmmaker, she turned to still photography. She rebuilt her reputation with photographs of Nuba tribesmen in southern Sudan and at the age of 72 took up diving. In recent years she has earned a partial rehabilitation in Germany. After her birthday, she said, she hopes to put on her wet suit and go diving again. 

Last week Riefenstahl released her first film in half a century, "Underwater Impressions," a celebration of marine life mainly in the Indian Ocean. 
-- From CNN.com europe

When she undertook a diving course, I believe she put her age down as fifty-four. She published a book on her excellent underwater photographs, Coral Gardens, about twenty-years ago. 
(Link to CNN provided by Sam Miller - thankyou once again.)
 

FREE DIVING DEPTH RECORD
Twenty-eight year old Tanya Streeter, and American I believe, born in the Cayman Islands, has broken all free diving records with an amazing dive to 525 ft (160m), breath-holding for three minutres and twenty-six seconds. I have no idea why anyone would want to try to do this, but you have to appreciate her endeavours. She surpassed both the women's world record (446ft) and the men's (505ft) and has now been deeper than any other human being without breathing apparatus. She descended in      Grace Bay in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean. That's almost 200ft deeper than the Kursk when it foundered. Although there is no possibility of the bends, the body is still subjected to terrific pressures. Deep down, divers' lungs fill with blood and they experience a crushing sensation in their chests. As Streeter  descended on a special weighted sled, her ear drums could have  burst with the pressure, she could have gone blind, or she could have slipped into unconsciousness. Congratultions Ms Streeter, but let this be the end of such bravado. I doubt if we can gain and knowledge from such events, and perhaps th next attempt to simply break a record will end in tragedy. Nobody wants that. 
VALE WALLY POTTS.
   One of the early greats of  diving in the USA has passed on. Wally Potts, of the original San Diego Bottom Scratchers, died in February 2002 at the home of his daughter in La Jolla, California. He was loveable man and would take the time to talk to anyone on diving. He was a prolific inventor, an intrepid adventurer, an original thinker, and a good friend to a wide and scattered band of ocean lovers. "I've never seen someone become so animated, a twinkle in the eye emerge so beautifully, as when we talked of diving, of gear,  and always about 'back in the day...' "
   Wally was one of the early members of the now-famous San Diego Bottom Scratchers dive club and, in September of 1945, became the first man to land a fish weighing over 100 lb. via underwater spear fishing. His skills as a master metal worker, and his life-long creative collaboration with fellow club member Jack Prodanovich, made Wally one of the most prolific innovators of spear fishing gear in the world. The Potts Reel and his two-part trigger mechanism
are still defining standards of modern spear fishing equipment. 
   Born in 1918 in Lorborne, Saskatchewan, Canada, Wally moved to San Diego at the age of 8, where he attended school in Ocean Beach and Point Loma. During the Great Depression, Wally was forced to quit  school at age 16, and worked numerous jobs between California and  Oregon, including stints as a cannery worker, farm field hand, and  lumberjack. Fortunately, Wally was able to return to San Diego at the age of 19 where he renewed his interest in swimming, a skill he had learned at age 8 in a tide pool amidst the sandstone curves of Sunset Cliffs.  Wally was known for regularly swimming out "beyond the kelp"  at a  time when few dared to venture beyond the safety of the sheltered  beaches in and around La Jolla. His skills as a waterman eventually  attracted the admiration of the elders, Jack Prodanovich and Glenn  Orr, and he was recruited into their club in 1939. Although very appreciative of its technology, Wally eschews scuba  gear, saying "if it wasn't for that stuff, 99% of guys wouldn't be  in the water, simply because they didn't believe they could do what  we were doin'. I never liked having too much gear." 
   Wallly was known  for his ability to endure long dives in cold water, as well as for  an uncanny ability to point out halibut to his less-visually acute friends, an ability that earned him the nickname "radar eyes." Like his best friend, Jack, Wally was among the very few divers who  actively changed their equipment in response to the daily lessons of  their aquatic passion. It is no wonder that the first commercial spear guns in America, as sold by Scuba Pro and Swimmaster, were direct copies of the gear designed by Wally and Jack, respectively. 
   Wally's first chance at a big fish came in 1942, when he and Jack dove on a huge "jewfish" near La Jolla Cove. Using only hand-powered  pole spears, they surrounded the fish and simultaneously
"punched"  at him, succeeding only in "knocking off a few scales." After this  failure, Jack went back to the drawing board and returned with the  first "powerhead," cartridge-powered tip that allowed Wally to  penetrate and ultimately land the first fish over 100 lb taken by  underwater spear: a 110-lb gulf grouper taken on the day before  Labor Day, 1945 at La Jolla, CA. Over the next several days, the team improved their technique and landed several more large fish,  including rare broomtail groupers, Wally's weighing 85 lb and Jack's  weighing a record 207 lb. Wally credits Wallace Ward with his 1937 introduction to the  "faceplate," an early mask made in Japan: "I couldn't believe how  clear everything was!" Despite his enthusiasm for the gear, he  immediately began improving, and eventually completely redesigning the mask with a metal rim, softer rubber, and a custom-contoured fit. 
   Wally also designed the first plastic reel that allowed divers  to fight large fish underwater, and he produced underwater camera housings in an aluminum mold of his own making. Famed cameraman  Lamar Boren, who was responsible for the underwater scenes in Sea  Hunt, Flipper, and several James Bond features, modeled his first  housing after those designed by Wally and Jack. These two close  friends also co-developed the smoother and more secure two-part  trigger mechanism still used in guns today. 
   Wally never  commercialized his gear, but rather maintained a steady and ever-improving gear supply to a tight circle of dedicated divers from his humble garage shop, saying "if you open a shop, you gotta  deal with the public, and that's a poor thing to have to do. Besides, if your run'n a store, you ain't in the water!" 
   Many have speculated about the modest fortunes Jack and Wally chose  to forego in favor of their freedom in the water: "Any time there  was clear water, we were in it!" If you ask Wally, he'll tell you,  "I'm the most satisfied man in the world: I did what I wanted in my  spare time, had a good wife and kids, and had a good job. Sure,  there was a little bit of trouble but ya' know, it all worked out." 
   Wally like so many of his age and era was uneducated formally but self educated to the genius level when it came to Spear fishing and designing and developing equipment for the sport.  He and Jack were the bopsy twins of SanDiego diving. Ninety miles north in Orange county, Herb Sampson has cameras and a great spear gun of the same name.  In Los Angeles county, about 30 miles even father north was the great Charlie Sturgil. All but Sampson worked out of their garage, invented much, applied for no patents and received only pittances for their efforts. Pictures of all but Herb can be seen in Charlie Eyles book the "Last of the Blue Water Hunters." Unfortunately Wally, and Charlie are now spearing in the great reef in the sky. Jack is in his eighties. 
   Australia has a similar individual, Wally Gibbons.  There are two references to Wally that I can immediately recall. "Modern Spearfishing" by Ivanovic, the last 1957 edition mentions him. "Dive," an American diving magazine produced by NASDS by Gaff Productions (all the principles of that magazine, Gaftney, Smith and Hill, have passed on) in the 1960s  has several articles by or about them.  The title I recall was "Five Pronged Bonanza." 
   Wally Potts lived in Point Loma, California, with his wife, Vi, herself an accomplished water-woman and constant companion to Wally in his fantastic aquatic adventures. 

With much saddness respectfully transmitted,
Samuel Miller,III.  divndocs@earthlink.net
(With additional contribution by Jim Cahill)


 
VALE
JACK PHELPS.

'Jack' Phelps, Navy captain, was in charge of one of the US Navy's most ambitious research projects: a plan to explore the depths of the ocean floor. As commanding officer and director of the Naval Electronics  Laboratory on Point Loma, he oversaw planning for the bathyscaph Trieste's record seven-mile descent to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. The mission ­ completed off the island on Guam on Jan. 23, 1960 ­ enabled the Navy to gather valuable scientific data on the transmission of man-made sounds. Capt. Phelps, who worked in private industry and as a licensed real estate broker after a 27-year naval career, died Jan. 11 at  his home in Vista, USA of cancer. He was 89.   During his four-year assignment at NEL, Capt. Phelps directed 1,500 civilian and 200 military employees in electronics research and development.   His last duty station, before retiring in 1961, was Washington, D.C., where he directed research and development for the  Defense Communications Agency of the Department of Defense.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Capt. Phelps received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1930. After graduating in 1934, he served as a junior officer in engineering, gunnery and communications aboard the battleship Nevada in  the Pacific Fleet. After meeting his future wife, Rita Dietrich, on a blind date, he married her aboard the Nevada. He returned in 1940 to Annapolis, where he earned a degree in  electronics engineering at the U.S. Navy Postgraduate School. He also studied advanced radar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
During World War II, Capt. Phelps was awarded the Legion of Merit for his role as a communications officer in the Pacific. His duties included planning invasions of Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima  and Okinawa and the occupation of the Japanese homeland.
Assigned to the staff of Rear Adm. Harry Hill, he served at  various times aboard the attack transport Cambria and the  amphibious force command ships Auburn, Eldorado and Ancon.
From 1946 to 1949, he was assigned by the Navy Department to  direct electronics design and research and development ­  primarily in government laboratories but also in private companies with government contracts.
Before joining NEL, Capt. Phelps served as superintendent for repair and shipbuilding at Mare Island in Vallejo. During his  year there, work began on the submarine Sargo, which was  commissioned in October 1958. 
In 1960, when the Trieste made its historic dive, the event  brought the Naval Electronics Lab international recognition and  front-page headlines. Navy Lt. Don Walsh and Swiss scientist  Jacques Piccard were aboard the bathyscaph and spent about a  half hour at a depth of 37,800 feet.
The Fifth Guam Legislature issued a commendation to Capt.  Phelps in recognition of the historic dive.  Capt. Phelps began civilian life in 1961 in Palo Alto, where he  was assistant to the president of Granger Associates, a small electronics firm.  He moved to San Diego in 1963 to work for Ryan Aeronautical,  then joined Arnold Dahl in a real estate partnership in 1965. He  retired in 1968.    He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Rita; a daughter, Janice Phelps of New Mexico; sons, Jim of San Diego and John of Vista; and two grandchildren.
Contribution from Andy Rechnitzer, who was the project manager on the Trieste dive, and drove the sub to 20,800 ft.  - received via Sam Miller.

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