Time Capsules

1985 What Happened to the Artificial Gill?
It was the future of diving. An artificial gill that could extract oxygen from water, supplying divers, ROVs and underwater habitats with an unlimited air supply. In 1985, Bonnie Cardone visited the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina, where there was a working prototype. But there was work to be done. Drs. Joseph and Celia Bonaventura had originated the idea, and now a team of scientists was working the bugs out. The biggest bug? The prototype could extract one-quarter liter of oxygen per minute from sea water, and a diver would need two liters per minute to survive. A larger volume of water would have to move over the membrane in order to produce the necessary amount of oxygen. Will the artificial gill resurface or languish in the realm of science fiction?

1977 Pop Taylor the Pied Piper of Diving
You've got to introduce kids to diving early if you're going to keep them interested. At least that's what Calvin Pop Taylor told Skin Diver contributor Bill Barada in 1977. Pop had developed a unique dive program for kids ages 10 to 15 (16 was the minimum age for O/W certification back then, it's 15 now), combining diving with underwater archaeology, Pop's passion. When he started diving in 1953, he said, everybody was spearfish crazy, and after shooting one fish, he chose artifact hunting as his hobby. By 1977, Pop had trained more than 1,100 Underwater Scouts to search out artifacts that lay hidden in the mud of Florida's springs and rivers. If Pop's teaching theories were right, his Scouts should be among the active divers of today.

Preservation through Photography
In the 1960s, Skin Diver began to focus less on the spoils of the hunt and more on the rewards of photography. The May 1965 issue covered underwater photography from top to bottom, and although the images are rudimentary in comparison to those we see today, there was one photographer who stood out among the rest. Roberto Merlo, Photographer of the Year at the Eighth International Underwater Film Festival, was an Italian who had chosen underwater photography as an artistic outlet rather than a profession. He had photographed sharks in the Red Sea and Polynesia, shot a documentary in the Mediterranean and some extraordinary images of champion freediver Perotto riding a whale tail in the Atlantic. The author credits Merlo with furthering appreciative attitudes toward the sanctity of the sea.