National Geographic : 1956 Feb
Camera Under the Sea BY Luis MARDEN Foreign Editorial Staff, National Geographic Magazine With Illustrations from Photographs by the Author during four months in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean I literally rubbed fins with them as I swam in the depths of their blue lit improbable world. Eight years ago in Paris I had heard of Capt. Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his little group of submarine pioneers, but it was not until much later that I met the fearless cap tain in the United States. In my copy of his book, The Silent World, he wrote: "With the conviction that we shall have the occasion to work together some day." Last spring this prophecy came true: I sailed from Toulon with the captain and his crew aboard Calypso, the diving-research ves sel that has become legend to undersea explorers all over the world. I was the expedition's underwater still photographer, specializing in color. This carried on a long time interest of the National Geographic So ciety, for, as far back as 1927, the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE had published the world's first undersea color photographs. We found an ideal place for color photog raphy at a small dot in the monsoon-whipped immensity of the Indian Ocean-Assumption Island, 240 miles from the northern tip of Madagascar (map, page 152). Only a hand ful of humans were living on the low islet, and above water the white sand and scrub did not look inviting. But Calypso moved slowly in toward shore and anchored over the mot tled yellow-brown shadows of a vast coral reef. Seamen rigged the diving ladder, and Fre6dric Dumas and Albert Falco descended to look around. In a few minutes they popped to the surface like seals and, removing their mouthpieces, cried out "Extraordinaire!" It was indeed extraordinary. Compared with Calypso's veterans, I am a novice, but all my diving has been on coral reefs. Yet never have I seen so magnificent a sight. When I dropped backward off the diving ladder, I sank for a few feet, then doubled up and rolled over, to drive straight downward with strokes of my rubber-finned feet. Thirty feet below me a low jungle of corals Like a Balloon Vendor at a Fair, Pierre Goupil Swims with Flash Bulbs Lead weights on net bag counteract lamps' buoyancy. Used bulbs go back into bag to preserve equilibrium.