National Geographic : 1963 May
floor. This was important research work, which proved that lengthy and useful tasks could be performed at this depth.* At 5:35 Link had reached his record-break ing target. If he had spent eight hours at 60 feet without his diving cylinder, he would have had to remain in the water without nourishment for a further six hours of decompression. Not surprisingly, no one had ever done this. Once he had closed his hatches, Ed Link could have returned immediately to the safe ty of the ship, though he would still have had to spend six hours in the cylinder while the pressure was gradually reduced to surface level. But he seemed in no hurry to return on board, and actually stayed submerged at varying depths till 9:05. By then he had eaten the excellent dinner, including hot roast chicken, that Jay Elliott took down to him. Link still needed 21/2 hours of decompres sion when he was hoisted aboard. In the hor izontal stowage position, he could now lie down-for the first time since leaving his bunk that morning. He promptly fell asleep. At 11:35 p.m., Bob Bornmann opened the hatches: "Time to wake up, Ed; you can come out now," he said. It was 14 hours and 20 min utes since he had entered the cylinder. Ed Link was in the best possible form. He laughed and joked, gave his wife a hearty kiss, and then went straight to work on the dive's mass of technical data. The first part of the program was thus suc cessfully completed. I know well that Ed Link would have dearly loved to continue as the 726 guinea pig, but he felt the time had come to give way to a younger man. Robert Stenuit, who arrived from Brussels with his attractive wife Annie five days later, is 29. He is a highly experienced diver: He spent two years diving for Spanish treasure galleons in Spain's Vigo Bay, and had worked with Link on archeological research in the sea off Syracuse, Sicily. He is dark and good-looking, with a pleas ant, diffident manner, and has something of the idealist about him. Also he is extremely tidy-minded and purposeful. He seems slight in build, but in fact has immense powers of endurance. However, his most important attribute is perhaps his complete sang-froid. Throughout the hazardous operation which lay ahead, he remained totally calm. Objective: a Day or More at 200 Feet The project is simply stated. Usually, a stay of one hour at 200 feet would be considered very long. Stenuit would stay there at least a full day-possibly two or three. It would be an advance as complete-and as important in its own way-as the orbits of the spacemen. Stenuit arrived in Villefranche on Septem ber 2 and at once set about acquainting him self with the complex equipment. By next evening, he felt ready to carry out some prac tice dives, and accordingly spent most of the *For 13 years the National Geographic Society has aided Dr. Edgerton in the development of deep-sea cam eras, "pingers," and "boomers"-locating and sounding devices of great importance to oceanography.