National Geographic : 1952 Oct
472 . I. -Y . Cousteau, 1'. TaillLez, 1. uumias This Diver Overtook an 8-foot Shark, Then Boldly Tweaked Its Tail Fifty feet deep off the Cape Verde Islands, diver Dumas met the creature and its attendant pilotfishes. All went happily until two blue sharks broke into the party. Captain Cousteau banged one intruder with his camera, and the divers swam head on at the sharks, bluffing them for 10 minutes until rescuers approached. Striped Naucrates, one of the pilotfishes, swims above, and a remora, or shark sucker, beneath this monster. A baby pilotfish, scarcely more than a mouthful, leads the way, seemingly pushed ahead by a cushion of water. Grottoes opened out from the sea wall, dim and inviting. The utter silence of the depths lay upon us like a benediction. While Dumas would reconnoiter for a pas sageway, I would attempt to position the divers holding their great reflectors-one near the subject, one farther away and overhead. Only the backdrop of the grotto itself would be stable: I and my camera floated; the re flector men floated; Dumas, easing through his coral corridors, floated. All would be ready. Pressing the flash buttons, I would explode our "slow peak" bulbs and trip the camera. The darkness would flower for a long instant into blinding light, a light that had never dwelt on this particular cross section of marine life since the seas were formed; then all would be gray and shadowy once more. We would blink our eyes, mutter "I think the color was there, all right," and return to our world above. Not until the film was developed would we feel certain that the miracle was indeed fact: that at depths where neither fish nor man could detect them, colors existed as brilliant and as beautiful as any at the surface. We do not know why they exist, or what purpose, if any, they serve. But they are there. All travelers returning from strange realms attempt to buttress the credibility of their tales with pictures of the marvels they have seen. We, I think, are in a different position. For here the photographs themselves are the real marvels. We offer these pictures to you now with pride and pleasure-pride in the work of the many men who made them possible, and pleasure in the thought that by Aqualung, photoflash, and hand-held camera we have been able to pull aside more fully the dense sea curtain which, since the dawn of time, has shrouded from man's eyes a world of vibrant color-the world of the twilight depths.* * The Silent World, by Captain Cousteau, with Frederic Dumas, is planned for February, 1953, pub lication by Harper & Brothers, New York.