National Geographic : 1962 Jan
National Geographic, January, 1962 the distant blue haze: A 12-foot tiger shark is rocketing in. You stand motionless, frightened and fascinated as the streamlined giant sweeps through the water, caudal fin swish ing. On and on comes the monster. When only 10 feet separate you, he turns away. But relief is short-lived as he shoots upward and traces two fast circles above your head. He leaves as abruptly as he arrived. Breathing becomes more difficult; your compressed air is running low. You pull the air reserve rod on the breathing unit and earn a brief reprieve before you start a reluctant return to the surface. As you rise toward the roof of the liquid world, you try to recall the bewildering vari ety of life on the reef. How jumbled the im pressions are in your memory! Many more tours will be required before the mind's eye sorts out all the reef's fleeting beauties. Tips on Safety for Beginners For visitors planning to explore the Key Largo preserve, I offer a few simple but vital tips. First, and most important, the beginner who wants to use self-contained diving appa ratus should take lessons from a qualified instructor. Before each dive he should make a thorough check of his equipment. Never dive alone or stray far from the boat on a low tank of air. Always stay upcurrent of your boat; in case of emergency, the cur rent will carry you toward it. If you spend more than two hours in water cooler than 78°, wear a rubber suit. After you've been down for awhile, the water begins to feel chilly at 30 feet. Coral is sharp; watch your step. Be care ful, too, where you place your hand. Beware of treading on long-spined sea urchins or brushing against stinging coral. First Dive an Incomparable Thrill I remind the amateur photographer that he needs no special magic. If he can take rea sonably decent surface photographs, he should be able to get good underwater shots. Obey the basic rules of surface photography, and you will see the quality improve as you practice and experiment under the sea. Underwater lighting conditions, of course, will vary with the water, the depth, and the time of day. But if you can see your subject you can photograph it-provided your film gets the proper exposure. Despite my thousands of dives on the reef, I envy the man who is going below for the first time. It is an incomparable thrill. James Aldridge, an Australian writer and veteran diver, has expressed it well: "You are in another world-absolutely the moment you put your head under the wa ter. This thought will occur again and again, and you will never become tired of saying this trite thing to yourself. It's anotherworld, it's another world." Author-photographer Jerry Green berg has spent more than three thou sand hours roaming the ocean floor off Florida's east coast. He himself designed the Seahawk housings for his cameras and flashes. His formula for underwater pictures: patience, practice, and proper equipment. Adjusting his electronic flash unit, Mr. Greenberg stands on the ladder of his 20-foot, twin-engine runabout. False Eyes and Look-alike Ends Save Butterfly Fish From Hunters Deluded by a stripe that partly ob scures the true eye, attackers often lunge for the big dot near the tail. With a burst of speed, the little but terfly (Chaetodoncapistratus)escapes.