Methought I saw a
thousand fearful wrecks,
Ten thousand men that fishes gnawed upon,
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scattered in the bottom of the sea.
I was in Bermuda
16 days. Fourteen of them ranged from drizzly and bad to torrential and foul.
They were not days on which an experienced and prudent instructor like Park
Breck would take a rank amateur diver into the open sea. We continued to make
shallow dives in the coves from sheltered beaches. I learned to clear my mask
under water, to make the proper underwater signals, to judge how many weights I
needed in order to sink or rise without fighting the water. I saw little
interesting. I picked up a shell or two deep from the bottom. And once I saw an
angelfish lurking in a dark cave. In the murky waters he looked like a sunset
seen through smog. He didn't count.
Breck and Jeanne, his attractive blonde wife and partner, generously sought to
divert me, and at the same time maintain my interest in diving. They asked me
to parties with their fellow- Bermuda divers and their wives.
There were the
Teddy Tuckers; the Ted Goslings; the Henry Whites; the Freddy Hamiltons; Peter
Stackpole (who was doing an underwater movie documentary about treasure diving)
and his wife; and the Mendel Petersons. Mr. Peterson, curator of naval history
for the Smithsonian Institution, was in Bermuda studying the underwater
artifacts brought up by the Bermuda divers, especially those brought up by
Teddy Tucker, the 33-year-old diver who, it seemed, had done more "bottom
time" than any diver of his age in the West. Divers all, they welcomed me
joined the Flipper Fraternity?" somebody said.
at my age, I am mad even to try."
Mr. Peterson then
said, "The best diver I ever knew was a California woman 73 years
commented, "Oh, everybody's diving; lung-diving is the fastest growing
sport in the world. I saw in the Times today, it's a 30-million-dollar
"It would grow a lot faster if they'd make equipment easier for instructors
to handle and safer for amateurs."