Time Capsules

Tamara Collins

1977-The Calypso Compensator
The buoyancy compensator has gone through an amazing transformation in the past few decades. In the process of its evolutionary development, a few designs went the way of the dinosaur. In between the horsecollar and Scubapro's revolutionary Stabilizing Jacket, U.S. Divers came out with the Calypso Compensator a part back, part front-mounted missing link of a BC. Paul Tzimoulis wrote in his January review that it defies classification. In addition to the advantages of being both back- and front-mounted, it was also one of the first BCs to break open the horsecollar design, so it could be slipped on like a jacket. Paul said it may establish a new trend for years to come. And it may have if Scubapro hadn't introduced the jacket-style BC just a few months later.

1965-Attack of the Killer Ab
I was flipping through the April 1965 issue and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the picture of this radiation induced, horror-flick-sized abalone. I read the article, studied the photograph and passed it around the office for everyone to judge. Could this be possible? A 48 inch ab weighing 149 pounds found off the California coast? Ray Van Loon's absorbing little story told how the reef where they found a bunch of abalones proved to be the mother of all abalones. We collectively cried foul, and I was about to call the original editors, when I flipped to the table of contents and read the word spoof. April Fools Day and I almost fell for it!

1959-Gary Cooper Goes Diving
Many celebrities have found their way into the pages of Skin Diver over the years. From actors like James Bond to Jacqueline Bissett, their roles eventually called for them to face killer sharks or mad morays, and to promote their aquatic celluloid adventures, they turned to the only magazine (at the time) that covered the ocean realm. Throughout its history, Hollywood has often chosen Nassau in the Bahamas as its underwater movie set, and that's where Skin Diver found Gary Cooper and his wife Rocky in 1959. On vacation and promoting his new movie, The Wreck of the Mary Deare, Cooper and his wife explored the same reefs filmed in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.