They harnessed the three-cylinder block to Cousteau’s back with the regulator at the nape of his neck. He buckled on a weightbelt and walked like Charlie Chaplin into the sea. He looked down. “A modest canyon opened below, full of green weeds, black sea urchins and small flower-like white algae. The sand sloped down into a clear blue infinity. The sun struck so brightly I had to squint. With my arms hanging at my sides, I kicked the fins languidly and travelled down, gaining speed, watching the beach rolling past. “I stopped kicking and the momentum carried me on a fabulous glide. When I stopped I slowly emptied my lungs and held my breath. The diminished volume of my body decreased the lifting force of water and I sank dreamily down. I inhaled a great chestful and retained it. Then I rose towards the surface…” The world’s first aqualung dive had begun. He did loops, somersaults and barrel rolls. He stood upside down on one finger and burst out laughing. It worked!
The Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus was invented by the great Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan back in 1942. It was originally patented and called by the name “Aqualung”. Although technology has improved and the SCUBA systems have become hi-tech, the basic design and principles used back in 1942 still hold true today.
When you think of SCUBA diving, the most obvious image that pops into your head is that of a diver gliding effortlessly along a coral reef. Colorful fish are swimming all around her as the crystal bubbles wander up towards the surface from her regulator. The peacefulness and tranquility of weightlessness and nothing but the sound of her own breathing.
Like many sports, SCUBA diving has its dangers and an inexperienced or improperly trained person can quickly end up in a life-threatening situation. SCUBA diving is an equipment-intensive sport. The equipment required is expensive and the purchaser needs to do their research to ensure they make the right acquisitions. After all, this is not a set of golf clubs we are talking about. It is a life-support system that needs to suit the user in fit, comfort and function.
For more information please visit your local SCUBA retail store and sign up for a Try SCUBA course. Once you get under-water and experience the incredible feeling of breathing underwater, I know you will be hooked.