Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sea Dwellers

Going to have to pick up a copy of these books.

starAquarius Undersea Laboratory
July 18, 2011 1:31 PM
by Justin Brown

Sea Dwellers

For those of you interested in learning the beginings of seafloor habitats I suggest to read Bob Barths book on the SEALAB programs.

From the Publisher

From the late 1950′s through the 1960′s the U.S. Navy SEALAB program was guided by Captain George Bond. This program ultimately had a huge impact on the global economy. The SEALAB program provided the commercial diving industry with its most important tool in the exploitation of offshore oil and gas reservoirs: the ability to dive deep and stay there for extended periods of time. In the process, the Navy medical community extracted a wealth of physiological data from their human subjects. While this diving program got less media exposure than NASA's space program and even Cousteau's rival Conshelf program, SEALAB's impact has been very profound by proving the viability of saturation diving.Sea Dwellers: The Humor, Drama and Tragedy of the U.S. Navy SEALAB Programs is a journal of this exciting Navy adventure. Author and Navy diver Bob Barth was the only man to experience all of the SEALAB programs and its predecessor, the Genesis program, from the other end of the hose. These programs provided the scientific basis for the practice of saturation diving as it is known and performed today. Barth and his peers were literally human guinea pigs. He gave blood, sweat, tears, the prime years of his life, and even his heart and soul to these programs in order to experience what most men can only dream of… life on the bottom of the ocean.

Sea Dwellers will not become the definitive account of SEALAB in the annals of history. George F. Bond's own chronicles, as edited by Helen Siiteri, provide a more comprehensive and balanced view of the political, technical, and logistical hurdles that had to be crossed in making Genesis and SEALAB happen. Yet Barth's story must be told, and the fact that he is a colorful story teller in his own right is icing on the cake. That his recollections don't always jibe with Bond's in the finer details of what happened is only reflective of Barth's different vantage point… from the bottom.

Barth recounts dozens of comical episodes in Sea Dweller, including: contending for the right of way with a destroyer in his 35 foot LCPL; attempting to drown one of the NASA astronauts; providing for the construction of the SEALAB habitat with a little midnight requisitioning; explaining to the Shore Patrol why a sailor needs to be out walking goats; having the whole Armed Forces Sea and Air Rescue Teams out looking for him as he is parked at an island enjoying drinks at a nearby club; and instigating many other shenanigans that aggravated his Captain and, if not for the greater good achieved by the project, might have put him in real hot water.

NASA Astronaut and Navy Diver Scott Carpenter was a member of the SEALAB team. Of the author, Carpenter has the following to say: Bob Barth is a man of few words and, in a few words, he is the undisputed dean of the saturated diver. He was in the business before anyone ever knew it was a business, including Bob himself. Name any event or feat in the world of saturation diving and Bob Barth has been there and done that. His long underwater career has left him with an endless list of respectful shipmates for whom the mere mention of the name Barth brings fond smiles. He doesn't talk about it very much though, and unless you ask him to tell you a story, you'll have no idea of his background or his accomplishments. It has taken a quarter of a century to get him to write this book because, he says, he can't write. The book itself proves him wrong.

Sea Dwellers is a 184-page book which contains 115 photographs, many of which have never been seen before, covering all of the SEALAB and Genesis programs.

July 2011 Saturation

Dr. Art Trembanis
109 Penny Hall
Department of Geological Sciences
The College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment
University of Delaware
Newark DE 19716

"Education is not the filling of a pot, but the lighting of a fire." -W. B. Yeats

No comments: