(l to r) Bill Hall, Alec Black with a rebreather,
Walt Deas & David Dye, at Ardmair Bay, near Ullapool on the west
coast of Scotland, 1955.
Walt and Betacam unit about to film at Heron Island
from a helicopter.
ionel Aitken & Walt Deas with Arri underwater
camera at Wistari Reef. Filming for Swedish company.
Early days of SCUBA Diving
We were a very keen group interested in the underwater
and because of shortage of equipment and money made a great deal of
our early equipment.
One would lie on a sheet of plywood, have one's body
marked out, cut the ply fit long john underwear. Coat it with latex,
Once cured fit cuff and neck seals from various sizes of inner tubes.
We tried pumping air down to various types of old gas
masks, some built regulators from Calor Gas Valves, then eventually
dry suits and Aqualungs came on the market. We were there!
Move to Australia and Heron Island
In the winter of 1956 I purchased the book "The
Coast Of Coral" by Arthur C. Clarke (today a famous science fiction
& interplannetary exploration author). It described the adventures
of Arthur and Mike Wilson as they traveled from Sydney, Australia up
the east coast to Thursday Island. They stopped off at a small coral
island called Heron Island. Six chapters were devoted to this tiny spit
of coral sand, trees and birds. Fed up with a freezing climate plus
continual unemployment I said to my wife, Jean "Let's emigrate."
Months later after arriving in Queensland we made our
first visit to the island and loved it. From then on, at least once
or twice a year we returned to "our home from home". However
in later years saw me there four or five times a year on filming assignments.
In 1969 we worked there for a few months, Jean as the Resort's hostess
and I as dive master.
Then in 1975 we were asked if we were interested in
coming back and setting up professional scuba diving facilities. We
said yes, and intended staying for one year and ended up being there
for five. The attractions were the Reef and its marine life the birds
and nesting turtle, the type of work, although hard was interesting
and the friends we made who were staff or visitors are still great friends.
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