On this expedition Peter Gimbel had always been the first to suggest a dangerous move. Now, with the stakes higher than they had ever been before, Ron had upped the ante. Silence followed, and I glanced at Stan Waterman. Thin lips and a set smile told me where he stood. He had less experience with sharks than Peter and Ron, but he had joined them outside the cages off Durban. He would argue against going out now, but if the others left the cages Stan would go with them.
Finally Peter looked up at Ron, steadily and long, and said, "I think we could, too." Then, very low, almost apologetically, he added, "I'd do it. I'd go out, but I don't think it would do anything for the film."
I felt like laughing. In two years of working and planning for this expedition I had come to respect Peter's ability and taste, but always there remained the nagging question whether somewhere in him there was a twist of madness. In the final test he came up sane. We were done. No one had been hurt. We had not pushed ourselves till tragedy set the limit.
Later that night when the Saori docked at Port Lincoln, Peter said, "What in the world made us risk so much of ourselves on luck? Think if we had never seen it." If the success of the film had depended on Peter Gimbel swimming with great whites, I know he would have done it. It was a commitment he may never have intended to make, but his long pursuit of the goal had made the commitment for him.
Three weeks later Peter and I were walking up Fifth Avenue in New York. In the slightly embarrassed way he acts when doing anything nice, he had just given me a larger share in any eventual profits of the film and also a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
"It's been a great success," I said.
"It's about time," he replied. "I had nine years of failure. I was due, way overdue."