July 18, 2011 1:31 PM
by Justin Brown
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
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.
Dr. Art Trembanis