National Geographic : 1960 Apr
A versatile new baby submarine aids man's exploration under the sea Diving Saucer Takes to the Deep By CAPT. JACQUES-YVES COUSTEAU Leader, National Geographic Society Calypso Expeditions A STRANGE and startling sea monster is coming straight at me, and I am delighted. I am 65 feet down in the sapphire-clear Caribbean waters off Guadeloupe, breathing through my Aqua-Lung and writing instruc tions for the monster on a white dinner plate with my black grease pencil: "Turn right." The monster turns at once, nimbly as a seal. Then it stops, its Plexiglas-and-steel eyes pointed at me, awaiting further orders. I address it in French, of course, because this obedient marine monster is French. It is, in fact, an unprecedented piece of diving ap paratus with two Frenchmen inside-lying on their stomachs, one behind each eye. They are putting this new "diving saucer," as we call it, through its first tests with our National Geographic-Calypso expedition. I am overjoyed, because already I can see that this odd jet-propelled vehicle will let us fulfill a dream: to descend deeper and stay longer than the free diver can, while still being able to move, look about, and even pick things up. This is revolutionary. The way opens for geo logical and biological research in a marine twi light zone no man could explore freely before. The germ of the diving saucer idea came to us in 1951 during the first Calypso expedition, to the Red Sea. We swam down the vertical Science fiction becomes fact as a jet propelled diving saucer hovers over the Caribbean's sponge- and coral-studded floor off Guadeloupe. Pilot and observer, peering through twin portholes, scan the blue depths at 60 feet. HIGH SPEED EKTACHROMEBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHER 571 THOMASJ. ABERCROMBIE© N.G .S.