The search for new dive frontiers – by Rebecca Byfield
Copyright Rebecca Byfield
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Not too long ago, diving was the new frontier – the stuff of legends and dreams. As far back as Alexander The Great (who was rumoured to have spent time at the bottom of the Mediterranean in a very early precursor to the diving bell), humans have been fascinated by the underwater world.
In the 1600s, Denis Papin and Edmund Halley were the Captain Cooks of the deep, exploring the seabed via specially designed diving bells. For two centuries, this remained the only reliable way to breathe below the waves until John and Charles Deane patented the dive helmet in 1823.
Diving, as we know it today, did not come about until Jacque Cousteau invented the aqualung, which still forms the basis of modern SCUBA equipment.
We owe a lot to these early pioneers. Without their trials and tribulations, we would probably still be living vicariously through the imagination of Jules Verne and Herman Melville. Recreational diving would exist only in the realms of science fiction.
Thanks to their forages into new frontiers, diving is now accessible to the masses.