1973 - The Legend of the Great Blue Hole
In 1973 a fearless group of divers set out on the 45-foot Vicky to Belize's Great Blue Hole. They were on a mission to unveil the mystery of the legendary Blue Hole Monster. On the way to Turneffe Island, the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed (sing along everyone) and soon the crew found themselves bailing water from their quickly sinking boat. It was 10 minutes to Long Cay, but they made it in the nick of time, grabbed some tanks and went for a dive. When their new boat was delivered, our intrepid adventurers set off for the Blue Hole. The monster, 125 feet in length, 12 feet in diameter, with eyes like red flashlights, had just been sighted a few months before, but this time it was a no show. The verdict: nitrogen narcosis and a little imagination.
1961 - Growing Gills
This full set of gear is an amazing find in a time when the single-hose regulator was just coming into vogue and buoyancy compensators were just a twinkle in Aqua Lung's eye. The Underwater Breathing Set, manufactured by Canada's Normalair, had a full face mask, automatic regulator, independent weight release, weight pouch and, the kicker, it allowed underwater communication. Unfortunately, I don't have the literature to explain how the communication system worked, but apparently a special diaphragm allows oral contact. Whether your buddy could actually hear your excited exclamations remains to be seen.
1958 - Skin Diving with a Pin-up Girl
Betty Page was one of the sexiest women alive in the '40s and 50s she was America's favorite pin-up girl. So, imagine a young skin diver's excitement when her bikini-clad figure was spotted strolling down the beach he was lifeguarding. Ellsworth Boyd was an avid Skin Diver reader and a big fan. He seized the opportunity and approached her with an offer to take her snorkeling and write about it for the magazine. The next day, Ellsworth, Betty and a friend set out to Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida, where they taught Betty how to skin dive. This chance encounter led Ellsworth to a long career as a Skin Diver contributor and inspired Betty to learn to scuba dive.