additional notes on the
THE HISTORY of DIVING
- JIM CHURCH
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
the Word according to Church.
to Jim Church:
- PHILLIPPE TAILLIEZ
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
development of the YMCA diver and scuba instructor certification program.
and development of NAUI.
and development of PADI.
photographer for the Hannes Keller 1,000-foot ocean dive.
and filming of the lost Japanese submarine I-169 in Truk Lagoon.
and development of Manta Ray diving in Yap, Micronesia.
development and promotion of dive tourism to Palau, Micronesia.
of the Paul Tzimoulis Underwater Photo School at San Salvador, Bahamas.
of early shark diving at Stella Maris, Bahamas.
of dive tourism to Bonaire.
of dive tourism to the Cayman Islands
and naming of Stingray City, Grand Cayman
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.
1957, Paul Tzimoulis has received more than 50 awards from the diving industry.
In recent years these have included:
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.
Tzimoulis and wife Geri Murphy have worked together since 1975. They
were married in 1987.
to Ed Cargile for this summary, and to Sam Miller for bringing it to my
photographer, diver, journalist
January 1913 - 3 March 2003
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 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
and was a prolific lecturer.
orchid and a sea flea were named after him.
did more to introduce 35-millimetre colour photos than anyone else, Cathy
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.
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
lived in a house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for them in McLean, Virginia.
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.
working as a freelance photographer for the Boston Herald, he took a job
in the Geographic
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.
he saw a rudder from the Bounty in a museum on Fiji, he pestered his editors
to let him
off Pitcaim Island in the South Pacific. He found the wreck in 1957.
lifetime isn't enough," Marden said. "Just when you start to learn, it's
time to go."
Martin, New York Times)
December 2002, 80 years of age, of leukemia.
J. North studied the undersea world with passion and was one of the true
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
by Gary Robbins, The Orange County Register.
provided by Sam & Betty Miller, and A. B. Rechnitzer
RIEFENSTAHL TURNS 100
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
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.
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
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.
to CNN provided by Sam Miller - thankyou once again.)
DIVING DEPTH RECORD
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.
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
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
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
Wally Potts lived in Point Loma, California, with his wife, Vi, herself
an accomplished water-woman and constant companion to Wally in his fantastic
much saddness respectfully transmitted,
additional contribution by Jim Cahill)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
from Andy Rechnitzer, who was the project manager on the Trieste dive,
and drove the sub to 20,800 ft. - received via Sam Miller.