National Geographic : 1954 Jul
Engineer Stations + Himself at Sub's 4-inch Cyclopean Eye Above Lt. Pierre Henri Willm's head, a pressure gauge registers zero, indicating that the ship is at surface. En closed graph (left) records sig nals from the echo sounder. Top right are the ultrasound transmitter and receiver; be low, the radio set, for use only above water. Rubber pipe connects with snorkel breath ing system. Telephone en ables pilot in sphere to talk with launching crew up in the conning tower. Lower: His legs tucked through a side hatch at the air lock's bottom, Houot wriggles into the sub's spherical gon dola. Sea water admitted to this air lock later will add weight and start the dive. 81 Pierre Vals, Paris Match selves in the steel ball. By telephone we told Michaudon in the conning tower to open the sea cocks of the air tanks, release the tow line, and get off on the dinghy. From now on, no one could help us. We were the masters of our fate. To start the dive, we turned the valve flood ing the air lock. From the Elie-Monnier Or tolan's voice came over our loudspeaker: "The bathtub is halfway under. The base of your antenna is covered. So long and good. .. " We heard no more. The antenna was drowned at 10:08. Once again we relived the stirring minutes of passing through the photosynthetic zone (page 78), sinking into the blue sea-the blue that deepens and grows dark. Softly, softly we were falling into a hostile world where men can live only in a globe of steel. Our dive plan called for a swift passage through the first 6,600 feet. We wanted to spend the time we saved on the virgin depths below. The hands of the pressure gauges turned slowly while we worked feverishly to arm the cameras. Mounted on the outside was a new "3-mile" electronic flash unit built by Dr. Harold E. Edgerton for the National Geographic Society. We called it the 3-mile flash because it could withstand the pressure of that depth without crushing. With this margin of safety we need think no longer of an implosion destroying the bathyscaphe (page 75).