First Lady of Diving
Zale Parry gives off an aura of princess grace of Monaco: Grace Kelly the movie star, too pretty and nice to be more than just window dressing. But this lasting icon of sports diving history is make of steel and hard working parts. Nobody helps her put her diving gear on although every male in sight is eager to do just that. No dive is out of her range. »
Good lord, I don’t dare tell you the experimental stuff her brilliant first husband, Parry Bivens, M.D., set up for her to “guinea pig” through. She pushed into the unknown of diving in those early days while most of us scuba pioneers were wallowing in the shallows. Zale broke the scuba depth record and surfaced to become the prettiest woman ever to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. She was the first bathing suit issue.”
Al Tillman, diving pioneer Zale Parry is a true icon. She literally was the “face” of scuba diving for millions of people who first began to notice the emerging sport in the 1950s. She was one of the very first diving instructors, a champion competitive swimmer and veteran of the grand “swim show circuit”, a test diver for new equipment, pioneer in underwater photography, and the “go to” actress for just about every movie and television production that had a diving or water theme for over a decade.
The cover of Sports Illustrated
I remember Zale from the very first time I saw her. It was one of her never-ending “damsel in distress” roles as co-star with Lloyd Bridges in the blockbuster television series Sea Hunt that captured the interest of the entire nation and gave a weekly glimpse into the then foreign world of scuba diving. The series combined underwater action with one of the earliest environmental and conservation themes. It gave Bridges his signature role as Mike Nelson, diver detective. And Zale became the sex symbol that everyone wanted to give CPR to.
Al Tillman notes that Zale had the “aura” of Grace Kelly. True enough, but she also was a dead-ringer for her. Her diving skills allowed her to set an international women’s depth record in 1954 but her natural beauty put her on the cover of Sports Illustrated and launched her acting career that continues to this day. If she wasn’t handling her own starring roles, she was backstopping other leading actresses as their stunt doubles. She even doubled for Sophia Loren in her breakout role in Boy On A Dolphin. There’s an impossible choice for admiring male movie fans: Sophia or Zale? Call it a draw…
She helped give diving its identity
I met Zale originally when I was researching my book Deep Diving: An Advanced Guide to Physiology, Procedures and Systems back in 1991. The opening chapter was on the history of deep diving and I had to track down some images of Zale’s record dive. I cornered her at a diving show where I was introduced. She recalled the dive, nearly 40 years prior, as if it were yesterday and steered me to a source for archived photos. I was struck not only by her keen sense of diving’s heritage but also her striking allure. Years later when I asked her about being interviewed for this book, she immediately embraced the idea and gave me her fullest cooperation as the long process took place over the course of several months.
Recently she was the MC of Beneath the Sea’s 2007 Saturday Evening Film Program. Sharing the stage with Stan Waterman, Rodney Fox, Ron & Valerie Taylor, John Chatterton, Richie Kohler, Ernie Brooks, and myself, she brought down the house with a film clip from one of her roles in Sea Hunt. Most of the audience wasn’t born when the program originally aired, but as the black & white footage splashed across the two jumbo-screens behind her she held them in the palm of her hand and was greeted with a standing ovation to close the evening.
But she’s used to that. And the acclaim is well deserved. She helped give diving its identity. She is a pioneer in the truest sense. And a grand lady.
The early years
Tell us about your early years and how you got interested in the water and acting.»I was born on March 19, 1933 in Milwaukee at my grandparents’ house. The snow was falling fast and high when I came into the world and the heirloom cradle that I was supposed to go in was still in storage. My dad quickly emptied a dresser drawer to hold me when the doctor handed me over. The world of water was a natural for me. We moved to Pewaukee Lake, 30 miles outside the city when I was only three weeks old and my formative years were spent in and around the water. My parents were athletic and strong swimmers who encouraged me since I was a child. My dad made the U.S. Olympic Team in Track and Field. The fruit is always close to the tree as the old adage proclaims. I became an ardent dedicated swimmer. By time I was eight, I was skin diving without a face mask or fins. I followed the turtles when they appeared and watched the nasty muskrats swim away after they left their calling card on the top step of the pier ladder. With bare feet, I walked along the shoreline to turn over the rocks and nooks to catch crawdads, frogs and fat toads. My strength was built with my feet pressed against the tackle box while rowing the boat along the shore beneath huge willow trees while Daddy cast for Northern Pike and Black Bass. Fishing was a marvelous way to procure a fine meal.
During high school from 1947 to 1951, I joined the swim team in breaststroke and Australian crawl events. I was the water ballet president during my senior year. Speech and drama were intermingled with the usual study courses. I was popular due to my unabashed outgoing personality and became Homecoming Queen as a junior. During those four years of high school, I attended fourteen formal dances and fell in love with every escort even though they were advised to bring me home immediately afterward. And only with a short kiss at the door. Nothing more since my Mother was waiting in the doorway!
In October 1951, I got a job at Douglas Aircraft Santa Monica as a stenographer. That same month I met Parry Bivens on a blind date and learned of our mutual interest in the waters around us. During this same period of time, I began teaching swimming classes in the evenings twice a week for the Santa Monica Red Cross Chapter utilizing and alternating the indoor swimming pools in The Chase Hotel, The Deauville Hotel and the Kabat-Kaiser Hotel along the beaches. The Kabat-Kaiser Hotel was similar to a rehabilitation center for the victims of poliomyelitis, the dominant crippling disease of the 1940s and 1950s. Some of the stronger victims, who could remain out of the helpful lung-chamber a while, would be lowered by a special lift into the swimming pool for aquatic exercise. I’d be in the water to release and balance the victims as they tried to move with their arms only. There were teenagers to middleaged people who were as eager and determined to beat their wrap of paralysis, as I was to help them.
I stayed with the Red Cross Swim Program for several years. Of course, after class one evening, I tried one of Parry’s tanks and regulator in a pool when he came to watch me volunteer teaching. His only instructions were, “Don’t hold your breath and surface slowly.” To be underwater and breathe there was remarkable… a wish to behold.
Who else was around in the diving scene then and how did they regard a woman’s interest in the sport?»You know, it’s incredible but true, no one but the media was inquisitive about a woman’s interest in that so-called “man’s sport” of diving. Furthermore, in that era women stayed at home as housewives with children. I considered that a backbreaking, 24-hour position. The men were the breadwinners. One way they could include a seafood meal and enjoy a free sport of skin diving was with a spear. It was a keen scheme to add pleasure during tough times after WWII.
Who Else was Around in the Dive Scene
Al and Norma Hansen lived out at Avalon on Catalina Island. They were workhorses of the sea doing moorings, search and rescue, that sort of thing. E.R. Cross had his Sparling School of Diving; Mel Fisher and his wife Deo had a compressed air station on his mother’s chicken farm or we could get fills at René Bussoz’s sporting goods store. Courtney Brown was there and later became Lloyd Bridges’ double on Sea Hunt. There were a bunch of real characters from the early days including Rory Page (of Hope-Page non-return mouthpiece fame), Phil Jackson, Paul Streate, “Cap” Perkins, Dick Anderson, Jim Auxier and Chuck Blakeslee who founded Skin Diver magazine, Commander Doug Fane, Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan), Buster Crabbe (Olympic champion swimmer and actor), all the members of The Bottom Scratchers Club of San Diego, Connie Limbaugh from Scripps, Al Tillman, Bob and Bill Meistrell (Body Glove), Bev Morgan (commercial diving manufacturer), Paul Stater, Fred Zindar. Norma Hansen was the first woman I knew who did hardhat-helmet and scuba diving.
You also were a professional swimmer and toured the country in that role. What was that like?»Childhood choices affect our adult lives. An advertisement in the Milwaukee Journal in May of 1947 was a call for an audition to perform in the Sam Howard Aqua Follies. I became what I am today on a whim to earn my own allowance that I am today on a whim to earn my own allowance doing what I loved… swimming while entertaining.
I auditioned and was accepted to join the troupe of performers. In competition for the water production circuits were the three “biggies”: Buster Crabbe, Johnny Weissmuller and Sam Howard who had the Mid-West Sportsmen Shows, State Fairs and County Fairs. So I began show business at fourteen. All performances were during the summer time and during Easter vacation so as not to interfere with school studies. All six female swimmers traveled in Helen Howard’s (always) new Lincoln Continental. Sam drove the 18-wheeler with the stage, the huge deep swimming pool, diving platform and guide wires. It was the big grandstand show.
Life was exciting. World War II was over. Fashion and fabrics changed. The pizzazz of color appeared copied from the electric raspberry and chartreuse shades used for bailout military emergency gear, as in “find me quickly”. Our swimsuits for the show were costumed in black with front panels of the hot pink or green slippery fabrics. Our bathing caps, gloves and ribbons laced around our big toes and criss-crossed up our ankles matched the colored panels of the swimsuit. We practiced the water ballet routines until we were perfect since we performed with black light and full, live orchestra music. Swim movements in error would be a neon sign. And we’d be “payroll sanctioned” if dignitaries were in the audience and we screwed up. Modeling the swim wear, precision swimming, and surface diving to Big Band Era music provided a colossal show. We were Hollywood in miniature. We knew it!
My popularity and ability in the water were soon noticed by several manufacturing companies, and by 1948 I was appearing in advertisements for Mercury and Evinrude outboard motors, as well as for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
How about the old days for equipment?
You’ll be surprised, but no modifications were needed with the early diving equipment for me. Any size person could easily fit the Jack Browne DESCO Diving Gear of full-face mask with adjustable straps, hose and compressor-combo. The compressor was placed on the stern thwart of the skiff, so the operator had room to work it. Many times the compressor quit. Free ascents were commonplace, two or more a day. We knew to continue to exhale until we reached the surface. Simple, no fuss. Diving was all easy.
Early air tanks were thin and small. All had the medical K-valve that needed a slot-wrench to open and close the airflow. The purged fire extinguisher cylinders were chubby and slightly heavier on deck but underwater made no cumbersome effect. Tanks were longer in size and circumference when the new swing of all same-size air tanks came on the market in 1953-1954 by U.S. Divers. Pressed Steel tanks had the ICC stamp manufactured out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. PST tanks had a short wing-nut-on/off valve, easy to operate without the valve wrench. My hair became tangled in the wing nut unless I used a bathing cap or clipped my hair with a barrette. Since the tanks were longer in size, they rode high on an angle on a small person.
Safety regulations came slowly for the diver and for the equipment. The tank was one of the legislative items. No longer did one see divers using fire extinguishers. In 1951-1952 some divers yoked two tanks together. Some of the Scripps Oceanographic Institution divers used these smaller tanks. Later the Pressed Steel tank company produced this size bottle with the ICC stamp for a while. One would recognize these tanks if viewing a Sea Hunt episode where they were frequently used. Many times I used my own smaller tanks for diving when I was working on a movie set. The choice of masks was limited. We called them “face plates”. By the way, much of the nomenclature for skin and scuba diving came from the books used for hardhat-helmet diving better known as the U.S.
Navy Manual. Face plates were modeled by U.S. Navy Frogmen or the popular French Squale mask priced at $4.95. It was smart looking and fit well. Or for a short while the Italian Cressi “death-trap” kind were on the market. These were a full-faced mask with a single or double built-in snorkels each topped with automatic closure of a light ping-pong ball sized cup.
Gustav Dalla Valle arrived in America in 1954 representing Italian lines with the new look of the face plate. In his cache of diving equipment were the Pinocchio goggles with a molded nose to pinch by the diver who needed to clear ears. Today various versions of this formed shaped goggle are popular throughout the underwater community.
The Alternative for Thermal Suites
Did you have thermal suits? No, rubber suits did not arrive until about 1953. The all-rubber dry suits came from Italy and France. If it fit properly, one would wear full long underwear beneath. A heavier rubber, supposedly dry suit, called the Pescasport from Italy was worn by only those who could afford it. By 1954 U.S. Divers Corporation, formerly René’s Sports, sold the Pirelli rubber dry suit used by the frogmen for a while. It came with a hood for $70.00. Expensive, as all equipment for diving was. I never owned or wore one. Parry and I went to the Army-Navy Surplus Stores to shop for military stuff… as in khaki itchy garments and used double woolen sweaters to keep from shivering. We looked like urchins of the streets in our “thermal” wear. It didn’t matter until Dr. Hugh Bradner, a friend of Parry’s from Berkeley, came up with the invention of the true neoprene unicellular wet suit and created EDCO Engineering Development Corporation. We were having fun until play turned to pay very soon.
Weren’t you one of the first female diving instructors?» Yes, I was the third woman out of the Los Angeles County Underwater Instructors Course. Dottie Frazier was the first. Barbara Allen was the second. Other people in my class, who had already been teaching or life guarding, but needed a certification card (like a license), were Dick Anderson, Mel Fisher, Bob and Bill Meistrell. Al Tillman was our leader and creator of the course at the Los Angeles County Underwater Unit. You also did test diving for some manufacturers.
What did this entail and what kinds of gear did they want you to try out?» I was associated with the Scientific Underwater Research Enterprises (SURE). This company had a very competent and experienced diving team of which I was a member. The team was composed of engineers, geologists, scientists, ichthyologists, water sports experts and plain old deep sea divers. It was the best group of this type to have been formed thus far. It was the aim of the group to found and develop into practicality, a sort of “underwriters approval” for underwater equipment. We would test, prove, and submit redesigns for products that are placed on the market for sale to the consumer. We were able to furnish manufacturers with information from practical tests and analysis by people who are not only qualified to dive, but who had the technical range to suggest practical redesign. This way the product would be made safe before a user loses his life finding out, or maybe never discovering, the weakness or error. SURE’s team was compiled of (my future husband) Parry Bivens, research engineer; Phil Jackson, geologist, oceanographer from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, “Cap” Perkins and Paul Streate, underwater specialists for search and rescue from Avalon, Santa Catalina Island. I was the stenographer, business executive, and a lead diver.
In 1954 you set a record for deep diving. Tell us about that.»It was on Sunday, the 22nd of August 1954, at Avalon Bay, Catalina. I set a new world’s record for women with a dive to 209 feet, exceeding the old record set by Esther Lorenz at Avalon Bay the same year by 24 feet. Esther’s brother, Bob Lorenz, was attempting deep dives approaching 300 feet during that year. Depth diving seemed to be popular what with the new diving gear and the guts of the new divers to explorer the sea deeper and deeper. But a record was not really the purpose of my dive.
Rory Page was the engineer of the Hope-Page non-return valve. He wanted a test on his mouthpiece with a non-return valve design to allow air to enter on an inhale from the right side of a double hose regulator and exit on the exhale that followed without permitting water to enter where we could accidentally breathe or swallow it. This new arrival on the dive market was the true reason for the deep dive to 200 feet. The valve worked. From that date forward all dive regulator manufacturers changed the mouthpiece design. It was a “Safety First” non-return valve that stopped water from entering the breathing hoses. There was no more panic from losing your mouthpiece because the valve allowed replacement and continued breathing with no additional effort. One need not lift the right intake hose, tilt the head, and blow hard to remove any water that entered it. There was no more gurgling from water that had seeped in around the mouthpiece into the breathing hoses while underwater.
René Bussoz, President of U.S. Divers Corporation, who were the makers of the famed Aqua-Lung furnished us with all the equipment we desired. Of course, all of the regulators had the mouthpiece removed and replaced with the Hope-Page value mouthpiece. No one on the team suffered equipment trouble at any time during the entire dive.
The day before the record dive, the entire team made a practice dive to 165 feet. We prepared and coordinated signals and methods to be used. They were also smiling and making crazy signs about the slight narcosis they all had experienced. I wasn’t having any trouble with narcosis.We gathered together Carl Bailey, who was Mr. Big of KBIG radio fame, Ensign John Stein of the U.S. Coast Guard and Bill Gressman, Restaurateur of Avalon as witnesses as we proceeded. Parry, Phil and Rory prepared the diving course, time and decompression.
Phil moved the vessel that we were diving from out into deeper water while the remaining team members prepared the diving equipment. I rested in one of the top bunks nurturing menstrual cramps. Parry lowered the diving line and things were beginning to take shape fast. When the witnesses arrived the diving line was pulled up and examined by them, and after fastening a plastic slate to the bottom of the diving line, it was again put over the side hand-over-hand. The team then began to suit up to dive. It was decided that Parry and Phil would accompany me to the bottom. Parry would keep a constant vigilance on me and Phil would guide the other two to the bottom. We would drop one diver at the 100-foot level and another at the 150-ft. level with an extra Aqua-Lung in the event anyone ran into any trouble. Rory acted as safety man, not descending below a level where he would be required to decompress, in case he had to ascend in a hurry to secure other equipment or help. This was the dive plan. Just before the dive at zero hour, I came out on deck and joined the rest of the team in preparing for the dive. All divers were treated equally. No special treatment, not even for the test of a new piece of equipment. I wore a swimming suit, a suit of long khaki underwear, three sweaters, and a two-piece dry rubber suit made especially for me by Bel Aqua. The dry rubber suit was a free-flowing water outfit. Water entered at the neck, wrists and ankles and was pushed out by my movements. Yes, of course, I was toasty warm.
The entire team then donned their gear and at 3:00 P.M. we entered the water. We assembled at the surface and started the dive immediately. The water temperature on top was 68 degrees and before we reached the 100-ft. level, the water temperature had dropped nearly 16 degrees. As we left the 100-ft. level, the water was beginning to get a little dark. On arriving at the bottom, Parry watched me while I signed my name on the slate with the red crayon I had brought with me. Phil picked up a couple of starfish directly below the guideline, and then we started our ascent. They reported the bottom temperature at 50 degrees, an 18-degree drop. Visibility was about like a dimly lit room. It had taken approximately two and half minutes to make the descent, and three and half minutes to ascend to the first decompression stage. I wrote on a slate that I was okay but cold. We were all trying to talk with our hands and eyes. When decompression was over, we exited the water. Everyone was cold, elated and excited. The dive was complete; the non-return value mouthpieces worked like a charm, and a new record was set. The total time underwater was 23 minutes. I had a big satisfied grin on my face and then a laugh and a wave for everyone. The dive had gone off like clockwork. Everyone had done a perfect job.
Interestingly, the group, excepting me, had experienced slight nitrogen narcosis from 160 feet down. They were all very curious about this problem and were preparing to do extensive research to try and analyze it more thoroughly. The intention was to prepare a technical paper on the subject of nitrogen narcosis since we could not find enough subject matter. We wanted to give a good true picture of what happens. The event changed my life. All it took was three miles off the shores of Avalon, Santa Catalina Island with a slight afternoon chop and a dive to 209 feet to a sandy rippled bottom with a strand of Bull Kelp and one discarded Schlitz beer can… From there on the radio, television, newspapers and magazines had agents calling for interviews and fun game shows. It was fantastic to successfully complete an equipment test. But little did I know that my new identity, “Girl Skin Diver”, as Sports Illustrated called me, would be in prominent demand. The dive shot me into the limelight. At first, this interruption of life was disturbing. Every interviewer didn’t know “oxygen” in the dive tanks would kill after a certain depth. They misused the nomenclature and it wasn’t always possible to catch the writer before the story went into print. I was teaching diving procedures with each inquirer. After a while the routine of being questioned in person or over the telephone became a plateau in life I accepted.
Ahead of his Time
Can you tell us about your husband who was quite a notable intellect?»Parry and I had a blind date in October 1951. We stuck together like peanut butter and jelly for all the experiments and diving. Even finished a boat together. I lived at home with my family, worked at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica and he went back to school to complete a medical degree. Jumping into the ocean in those early days was shear bliss especially since we were in love and had projects we could work together. Many times we dived with Mel and Deo Fisher who were made of the same ingredients. We were married in July 1955 and immediately honeymooned on location in Baja, California for the television production, Kingdom Of The Sea. Parry was a graduate in Structural Engineering from Berkeley in 1947.
He was a reader, a visionary, a genius in all ways. He experimented with his wild dreams, challenging himself and the marketed diving equipment in the sea. He worked a slide rule quicker than a wink and studied all the available books mostly from the U.S. Navy’s Experimental Diving Unit. He communicated with Dr. Ed End at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee, with Dr. Ed Lamphier, Dr. Christian Lambertson, long before they became common names in the diving community. He queried E. R. Cross for comparison of thoughts on hard-hat helmet diving equipment and chamber dives. He worked out new solutions of numbers with his every-ready slide rule. His mental and physical library of technical information on everything from cybernetics to cryogenetics to Einstein to quantum physics, to psychopharmacology was extensive. He was all of that and much more. Parry was ahead of his own future, a genius that wanted to change the world’s thinking. Never satisfied with the status quo, he became friends with Dr. Linus Pauling and Aldus Huxley when he was 29 years old.
He cared a lot for the indigent and the homeless. One Saturday morning when I returned from grocery shopping, I found Parry kneeling on one knee next to a stranger who was sitting in the living room on the sofa. The stranger was a peddler who was selling fresh strawberries, had all the signs of an alcoholic. I noticed the entire crate of twelve boxes of berries on the kitchen sink. Parry very kindly talked with the man for a short while, paid for the berries and handed him a bottle of multi-vitamins. Then he led the man to the door with the verbal prescription to “take one of these pills once a day and get some needed sleep. You will feel better.” I’ll never forget the day or the scene. Furthermore, I visualized a stream of outsiders coming to the door. The thought was not too far from the truth. Our home was home to medical students and visitors from faraway lands that Parry met through his associates. Some stayed longer than most. One visitor from India stayed a week. He made a comment about all the conveniences I had compared to his family without a toaster, washing machine and vacuum cleaner. “A woman’s work is appalling in America”, he softly whispered.
Mind Bending Research
He encouraged your interest in acting as well, right?»Parry was my guiding light, my incubator for all I know today. He encouraged my enthusiasm for learning. Through him I met actor Dick Powell, June Allison’s husband. Dick in turn introduced me as a student to Agnes Moorehead’s 20th Century Fox classes. I attended evenings twice a week for one year. Miss Moorehead taught theater, period dances, fencing and quick improvisations. She was a delight! Next I entered UCLA’s Theater Arts class. My teacher, Mr. McGowen, was Jimmy Cagney’s brother-in-law. Sometimes Jeanne Cagney, teacher’s wife, was our substitute. Parry designed some early underwater camera systems, didn’t he?»One Sunday drive late in the afternoon on our way home after diving, Parry stopped at a large junkyard in Torrance, California, to purchase a cylinder of steel big enough to arrange a 16mm gun camera in it. The configuration of the placement and outside trigger, port and welding to seal the ends were measured. He took his blueprint to an outside steel malleable company for completion. (Later this same company, Butane Tank, produced our three chambers.) Parry had his own underwater movie camera, used it and sold footage to the up and coming underwater television and motion picture producers. Some footage was sold to Disney Studios who paid $20.00 a foot of film at the time. He also designed portable recompression chambers. How were they marketed and used?»The underwater camera housing was the beginning of his work with decompression/recompression chambers. The first chamber was a small one for small sized dive equipment and large enough to place three guinea pigs in it for a 1000-ft. deep dive on air. They made the dive successfully while munching lettuce unabashed. Wristwatches and depth gauges were most popular dive equipment for testing.
Water-filled kettles from my kitchen were used to place the items tested to certain depths in this first chamber. In 1957 Gustav Dalla Valle purchased the small chamber for the laboratory used at Sportsways to save the company money for the outside service we provided. By 1955 the first civilian single-lock chamber was built. It was large enough for one victim and technician-operator sitting Indian style or victim lying down with technician-operator on the outside controls. It had a medical lock (used for food, medicine or lavatory transfer). The unique feature was that the chamber was portable. It could be trailered and had the steel eye o-rings on top for easy lifting aboard ships or dockside. In this chamber we easily tested the breathing ease or difficulty at different depths of almost all the regulators by all the manufacturers existing in the era of 1953 to 1959. The same for more wristwatches, depth gauges, all sorts. I did a 307-ft. dive on air in this chamber. With me was a portable typewriter, paper, pencils and complicated metal puzzles. It was a test of brain and brawn. Successfully completed, I might add!
As important as the chambers were to a diver, we had little success in attracting any clients. Every single communication we wrote to military facilities and main hospitals in the nation’s cities was ignored. One person in our search for buyers finally accepted our invitation to visit us. He was Commander Francis Douglas Fane who became a terrific colleague and friend. Fane was the Commander of the Underwater Demolition Team Unit One on Coronado Island in the San Diego area. He had the finest, toughest UDT Frogmen in all the U.S. Navy. He was as tough. They called him “Red Dog”. Commander Fane contacted his bosses in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Navy Experimental Diving Unit. He wanted a chamber for his Unit One Frogmen. But he couldn’t convince the U.S. Government Procuring Department for the need of a chamber. They never bought one despite Fane’s insistent efforts. Here we had a vital piece of safety equipment and no interest from the people who probably could have best utilized it. We were too early in the conception of the sport of diving.
In 1957, we received a telephone call from The United States Atomic Energy Commission Office. The gentleman calling represented the U.S. Navy, too. Interested in the chamber, he asked to visit. Our hearts leaped. Finally, a buyer. The chamber was shipped to Eniwetok Atoll. Sailors were skin and scuba diving on their R & R leaves. The chamber would be a safety factor for any bends-related situation. The first single-lock SURE chamber we supplied is still in operation today. The second and last chamber built was a double-lock, longer in length. It was sold to an oil drilling company in Maracaibo, Venezuela in 1959. It, too, is still used today.
Parry got involved with some “mind-bending” research experiments later.»After the chamber business, Parry concentrated on medicine. As a physician and surgeon, he was developing his research in pharmopsychology. He worked with Dr. Sydney Cohen, Dr. Keith Ditman, and Dr. Oscar Janiger with patients from UCLA and The Los Angeles County Hospital. The patients suffered from schizophrenia or incurable alcoholism. A new drug for America from Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Switzerland was delivered to our address and shared with the other doctors on the first run of experiments with the patients. The state of a human mind after administering the drug changed drastically, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. It was a promising experiment for healing. But as time went on artists, writers, musicians, screen actors including Cary Grant, Aldus Huxley, Time- Life founder Henry Luce and wife, Clare Boothe Luce, and others were eager to have the drug administered to them individually under a watchful eye for the many hours it took to wear off. “The Doors Of Perception” as Huxley wrote were opened. Slowly the medical world and the government played with the drug: d-Lysergic Acid. It was more often known by the acronym “LSD”. By now there were other hallucination ingredients available. Peyote, marijuana, psilocybin and a list of such derivatives became popular. Soon the college inmates and street people became acquainted with these medical instruments without control. This was classic example of how a meaningful cure turned into the horrors of abuse and misuse. This came to a tragic conclusion.»Life was out of control for the world, Parry saw it coming.
Also, his father, a wealthy contractor, had constructed a beautiful medical building that we understood was to be given to Parry as a gift. After all, his parents did treat him as the Golden Child. But the medical building instead was sold to a corporation. Other doctors rented the offices. This was the coup de grace, the end of Parry’s hope to have his own practice. As it was, he was employed by the Ross Loos Hospital in Santa Monica as a physician and surgeon. He was healthy and strong, yet depression took over. He took his own life with a .357 Magnum. The coroner’s report listed cause of death as simply “gun shot.” No drugs were found in the body. You were featured in a dramatic cover shot for Sports Illustrated in 1955. How did that come to be?»The cover shot for Sports Illustrated came about because of the international record deep dive I did the year before. They were fascinated by a “girl skin diver”. The magazine, an offshoot of Life and Time was brand new. A female diver really wasn’t publicized except in the few diving newsletters. The story was ripe and the photography of girl in a scanty bathing suit was a good draw. A celebration dinner for four of the SI cover people was held at the famous Tail of the Cock Restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Our surprise guests were Mr. and Mrs. Charles Alden Black… none other than the gracious Shirley Temple and hubby. What a treat!
Becoming an Icon
So you were the inspiration for their annual swimsuit issue?»I think they would tell you so. I did some more appearances in the magazine later. The 35th anniversary issue with all the covers appeared in 1990. Catching Up With Zale Parry, Diver May 23, 1955 was a feature in the Swim Suit Issue, Winter 1999. Your role as “girl skin diver” attracted a lot of other attention from newspapers and magazine in the mid-1950s. Were you surprised at the fascination the press had for you in this lunatic fringe sport?»The press was in lunatic thinking in those days. No different than in today’s media.
Yes, I appeared in quite a few more magazines. Argosy made a wonderful fuss. Even my hometown Milwaukee Journal told the tale. I was surprised and overwhelmed. I still have those feelings when I am approached today by someone with a copy of the real issue from 50 years ago. I get asked to autograph a lot of those by the collectors. It’s great fun and an honor to be remembered so fondly. Many credit you as the face of a new sport and in advancing it beyond the exclusive status as something only for the hardiest macho types. What’s your memory of the era?»Women are hardy and in some respects have less back problems than men. We can tolerate pain in greater and longer sessions than men, too. If you remember in my story of the record dive, I needed no help to gear-up and I didn’t pout or ask for assistance. Enjoy the whole of the sport. Servants do not increase bliss. My memory of the era is simply that the sport of diving was for everyone. It is an enhancement of richness for the knowledge of the sea. Your publicity also led to a lot of public appearances and lectures.» Wow, I did hundreds of medical meetings, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, grade school classes, diving clubs. Hilo Hatti arrived in town and I appeared with her for a publicity gathering. The list is long including the National Sporting Goods Convention where I represented Healthways Products in Chicago 1955. Evel Knievel with his stunt bike and appeared with me in my dive gear at the Seattle Space Needle Convention Center for a sports event. Publicity shows continued for the opening of resorts and guest speaking gigs with a display of diving gear and my shell collection.
At this present time, I appeared in my little town of Tillamook’s Chamber of Commerce Meeting and have latched unto the Tillamook Estuaries and Watershed Partnership programs. The next appearance is April 10th, 2007 for the Children’s Clean Water Festival. Busloads of fourth graders from seven cities of Tillamook County will have their water festival about the importance of one drop of water. There will be my exhibit with explanation of plastic debris in the waterways that lead to the sea and what happens to it when it gets there. Appearances never stop. I love the people… they are so enchanted and interested in diving adventures.
On to the Big Screen
At some point, television beckoned. Share with usthose early experiences.»Jack Douglas Productions presented a television series of adventures. They were Seven League Boots, Golden Voyage, and I Search For Adventure. Jack Douglas had a legendary traveler and underwater pro, Colonel John D. Craig, as his guest presenter often. At a production meeting one day, Jack asked Col. Craig whether he would like to include a series of his own and he agreed. Before we knew it, Kingdom Of The Sea was conceived. The end of each episode would be a live three-minute demonstration of diving techniques. They wanted to get some diver to perform in a tank on the live stage set. This was a daunting thought. Who would be the diver with the knowledge and stage presence? The discussion of ideas for demonstrations became more crucial when a name of a skin and scuba diver was not instantly perceived. Now the publicity director for Jack Douglas Productions was Jerry Ross and my parents’ nextdoor neighbor. He attended this meeting listening to the dilemma. Then interjected, “The kid next door is swimming and diving all the time. But…she’s a girl!”. That evening Jerry told my folks to have me call Jack Douglas the next day. “ He needs a diver to perform in a new series,” he mentioned. So I called and made arrangements to meet after work thinking it was another one of a string of free appearances. It was my first introduction to Colonel Craig who became a friend forever with wife, Mildred, and two gorgeous daughters, Sharon and Kathy. Jack Douglas wanted to take me home with him even though he had a beautiful wife. Everyone was pleased and a television contract was drawn and I signed it without even getting wet.
Our first assignment coincided with the opening date of Marineland Of The Pacific Oceanarium in Pacific Palisades, California. It was May 1955. The television program went underwater. We wore ScottHydropak diving gear with a microphone inside of the full-face mask enabling us to talk to the television audience and the throng of observers outside the aquarium windows. We took turns pointing out fish life at the bottom of the main tank. There were a variety of common sea creatures for us to point out and explain where they live and what they eat. We had to fight a swift current as we settled to the sandy bottom. First day opening was a continued test for the structure’s plumbing that brought the seawater directly into the tank from the ocean close-by. The fish-feeding diver had double weights to help him walk. We were free swimming with diving gear. Kingdom Of The Sea premiered on Saturday, June 4, 1955. This was the first program of this type produced for television that was devoted entirely to the underwater adventure. Verne Pedersen and Colonel Craig did the underwater photography with cameras on tripods. By now, my husband Parry owned and used his Sampson-Hall 16mm camera to shoot other angles and stock footage of fish and kelp. Each filmed episode consisted of an adventure experienced by us or one by Colonel Craig. The studio had set up a special water tank for the purpose of showing and demonstrating safety in skin diving and underwater equipment of various types by me in a timed three-minute segment as a closure… and we did it all live.
I can vividly remember seeing you in episodes of Sea Hunt. How did that involvement come about?»As Kingdom Of The Sea was coming to an end, actor and associate director George Wilhelm called me in 1956 and told me about a new underwater series being discussed by filmmaker Ivan Tors. The series was to be modeled after Tors’s feature film, Underwater Warrior, a movie loosely based on the exploits of Commander Francis Douglas Fane, the decorated commander of the Underwater Demolition Team Unit One during World War II. Fane had once confided to
Tors that he would like to get a boat for search and salvage and go into the diving business after the war was over. This new program was to follow that concept. George told me they were looking for someone to co-star with Lloyd Bridges in this new show to be called Sea Hunt. I met with Ivan, and he said in his very thick Hungarian accent, “Vell, you look okay. I vant you to do the show.” Then he said that he also wanted me to help his secretary with the technical aspects of the program.
Films, Magazines and More!
While the days could be long and the water cold at times, I had the opportunity to work with some of the best divers and watermen of the era. Courtney Brown played Mike Nelson, Bridges’s character in all underwater scenes except close-ups. Ricou Browning, who won acclaim by playing the Creature From The Black Lagoon, usually played the villain. Another villain was played by Jon Lindbergh (son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh), a former frogman. Chief underwater cameraman, Lamar Boren, led the underwater crew with Paul Stater as underwater director. A number of the actors we used in the series achieved a grand degree of stardom later. They were Victor Buono, Robert Conrad, Ken Curtis, Bruce Dern, Anthony George, Larry Hagman, Ted Knight, Ross Martin, Jack Nicholson, Leonard Nimoy, and Robert Quarry.
What was Lloyd Bridges like?»He was a well-seasoned Shakespearean actor and the true “actors’ actor” as the industry labels people. He played stage summer stock whenever he could. Lloyd, “Bud” to his close friends, was a genuine gentleman… handsome, kind, considerate, physically fit and eager to learn to do the proper action with this new equipment. After all, he was used to the props of a holster and pistol and was an excellent swimmer. Diving gear was a lot different. He was a caring family man with sons Beau, Jeff and daughter, Lucinda. Later Beau and Jeff were placed in the cast for some episodes. Dorothy was the teacher for the children’s theatrical prowess and a Rock of Gibraltar beautiful wife. He had to be trained in scuba for the role, right?»We didn’t really have time for that in the beginning so his training was everyday on the set although Courtney Brown and I had him in a swimming pool for quick lessons at first. Lloyd was an expert at copying a character and mimicked Courtney’s flutter kick to perfection. It wasn’t until the end of the series, that Lloyd came to Bob Meistrell and told him that he would like to take the full scuba course so that he would be considered a Certified Diver. So you were more experienced as a diver than the man who single-handedly came to be the figurehead for diving for many?»That’s true. I had a lot of experience diving but he really made the character of Mike Nelson come alive for audiences. He was a great actor and a great friend.
There is a great story that comes to mind, though. After the Sea Hunt series was over, Lloyd wanted to some diving on his own, purely for his own enjoyment. He arranged for Dick Anderson to accompany him. Dick, of course, had done just about everything in diving from commercial work, stuntman, filming, equipment design, etc. They get out to Catalina and Lloyd says, “Dick, I want to make it clear that I’m really a beginner. I’m not Mike Nelson.” Dick replied, “Don’t worry, I am!” For those of our readers who became collectors of the series, what were some of your favorite appearances?»That’s one of those impossible things to answer. Each one is a favorite. It seemed that the guys always got to wear wet suits but you always were in a swimsuit. Didn’t you get cold?»Guys did wear wet suits much of the time. However if possible, I wore a wet suit. But because of my early swimming days with the Aqua Follies and with Kingdom demonstrations in coldwater pumped into the performance tanks by the fire departments, I didn’t shiver as much as the men. Lamar Boren wore a wet suit… once. As our main cameraman on the set much of the time (and Jordon Klein, another pro camera man on the East Coast) balancing to steady a large 35mm camera housing was easier in his blue satin swim shorts. heard that one time you had to do some reshooting of scenes, originally done in Florida or the Bahamas, in California. And the director let the guys wear wet suits but you had to stay in your skin.
How about that?»What can I say? There was no complaining. I knew I had to wear whatever the script called for. And for re-shoots to maintain continuity, I had to wear the same outfit we originally shot the scenes in. So, yes, there were times when it got pretty chilly for me and the guys had a better deal in wet suits. Your television work led to mainstream Hollywood films as well. Was that much of a transition?»No, it was fairly easy from television to motion picture work. It’s all sort of the same rules and procedures.
Working with the Best
What films were you in and what actors did you work with?»Underwater Warrior, an Ivan Tors-MGM production, was a wonderful experience. Dan Dailey played the lead character of real-life navy veteran Commander Doug Fane. I played his wife underwater. Another great film was Boy On A Dolphin. It was a good story by 20th Century Fox studio. I was the double for Sophia Loren underwater. It was difficult. All breath hold diving from surface to the 22-ft. deep underwater set. She had that famous wet shirt scene in that film. It almost caused a scandal. She was years ahead of Jackie Bissett when she did her similar scene in The Deep! Tell us about the film Underwater Warrior?»That film was put together before the Sea Hunt series aired. The cast, crew and six of Commander Fane’s top frogmen flew to Hawaii on a United Air Lines DC-7 Hawaiian Mainliner, a 4-engine propeller airplane. It took eight hours to get to Honolulu on September 27, 1957. The entire airplane was treated as First Class. On our return, we were on a Pan American Stratacruiser with a piano bar on the main level and sleeping quarters with a ladder to get into them. Our first location was the Hawaiian Village Hotel, the tallest building at that time along Waikiki Beach Contractors were starting the 5th floor while we were there. Commander Fane appropriated a Pacific Fleet minesweeper.
Next he made an appointment with the Admiral at the U.S. Navy Base at Barber’s Point for approval before having me play Fane’s wife underwater in the film and living aboard the ship with the remaining cast and crew of men. “No woman was going to sink the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet” were the undertones. I was presented to the Admiral for inspection, thoroughly interviewed, and checked out in the Barber’s Point Dive Tower. A military diver accompanied me in the tall tank of fresh water. The two of us wore swimsuits and nose clips… no masks or fins. From the surface near the ladder we took a deep breath, feet-first, pointed toes and descended with a swoop of our arms overhead with precision. It was a quick drop. The sides of the tank clearly labeled the depth. We went to 70 feet when the military diver touched my shoulder and gave the signal to stop. We kicked to the surface. As we broke the water, I could see the catwalk balcony around the tank with uniformed men, the Admiral and Doug Fane resting their elbows on the rail watching intently. This was my test to be with the film crew or be flown back to the mainland. The Admiral gave the “thumbs up” sign. I passed. I was the first female to dive the tower. The minesweeper carried all the UDT equipment, rubber rafts, scuba gear, crew and cast. The first officer assigned to that ship was given leave to allow accommodations for “the girl” on board.
The month of September and weeks into October were practically used up with underwater and topside filming using almost every Hawaiian island. For one of the shots, a submarine joined us for a full day’s shooting. We were in 60 feet of water off the Island of Molokai for that one. The submarine submerged very slowly while cameraman Lamar Boren captured every angle. The star, Dan Dailey, performed well in the submarine escape hatch sequence. When we finished the day’s work, we were allowed to stand on the deck of the sub while it surfaced very, very slowly. An eerie experience. When we were ankle-deep in water, Dailey performed a Broadway stage soft-shoe-shuffle while still wearing UDT garb with fins and those of us next to him joined the dance. This was serious fun! When filming was complete, arrangements were made for Fane and his personal choice of UDT men with Lamar Boren boarded an airplane to the Marshal Islands to find and film sharks. These were to be the stock footage of the live shark scenes not only for Underwater Warrior but also for the upcoming Sea Hunt television series.
What kind of guy was Fane?»Doug Fane was a brilliant Scotchman. World traveler. A great entertainer as a dinner guest. He knew lyrics to a book of clever musical ditties. Sang them with a good voice. He relished eating unborn eels and raw fish of certain sorts… a real connoisseur of gourmet delights. He had wit. He enjoyed our company and the best Scotch Whiskey. It has been said by him that he had six wives… I’m not so sure about the truth of that. He was a Commander and a strong one. A top notched diver with and without diving gear. I know. I dived with him. He had command of the English language as an author and wrote well. Everyone called him “Red Dog”. In addition to the famed Ivan Tors, you also worked with Lamar Boren. Share some insight on these two pioneers.»There is only one Ivan Tors.Ivan was a treasure. Intelligent in all living ways and clever. A Hungarian by birth, brilliant mind, science fiction writer for the Science Fiction Theater.
When the Russians’ Sputnik shot to fame into space, no broadcasting company had any staff scientist to draw a diagram of what Sputnik was and how it worked. In one of Ivan Tors earlier writings for the SFT program, he had the workings of a spacecraft drawn and filmed in it. The broadcasting companies were issued a piece of the story to portray the news properly. It was Ivan’s imagination that created the true picture. He loved animals and created Africa USA with his friend, Ralph Helfer, in the Santa Clarita Valley, California, before it became a city. He had big animals and later arranged for Collette Martine to establish a home and hospital for them. He was so caring with tender warmth, everyone loved him. Frequently, he and his family went to Africa to enjoy the safari. His oldest son, Steve, eventually stayed in Africa to become the youngest ranger on the plains. Peter and David remained in America. Lamar Boren was a huge teddy bear that at one time had a growing photography studio in La Jolla, California, where he lived in a gorgeous house on the beach. He was part of the Bottom Scratcher Club, active with the group and of course, had housings for his cameras. He was honored as Underwater Photographer of the Year at one of the International Underwater Film Festivals that Albert Tillman and I put together for 17 years as producers and directors. Lamar was the photographer chosen to film the movie Underwater with Jane Russell. Lamar knew still and motion picture photography better than most because it was his business and career. I liked Lamar. He had a constant watchful eye on what was going on through the camera lens especially for the safety of the “damsel in distress”. That was frequently me. He saw everything before the safety diver could move in to help anyone if needed.
Playing the Role
How deep did you work on the television and movie shoots?»We worked where the ambient light was the best for underwater photography. For most of the underwater movie shoots, we did not need to go any further than the depth of Marineland’s tank (22 feet) or the depth of Silver Springs (60 feet). Off shore, in preferably clear water, we were no more than 30 feet deep. Sometimes we worked through a few scenes in a row. In the shallow waters for practical reasons we stayed under a long time to finish the direction. This was long enough to run out of air. A signal to a stand-by safety diver would deliver a fresh tank. Frequently, tanks were replaced while we were underwater. Naturally, those who had more swimming or fighting action used air quicker than stand-by safety divers. Lloyd Bridges used a small tank of water on stage for the close-ups. Did you use stunt doubles?»There was never a stunt double for me. For the other characters in a story, stunt doubles were used. I took pride in doing my own stunts.
What do you consider the hardest role you had to play?»None of the roles were too difficult. Although, I do remember one where the damsel in distress was actually rolling in the surf and being tossed by the strong waves. That’s where you can lose control. What was your favorite?» Favorite? They were all favorites! I was going to work each day having a fun time. And getting paid to do it! Any close calls?»Maybe one when I wanted to make a free accent during a scene, because the regular was feeding water instead of air. Lamar held me in position by the strap of my swimsuit and another regulator was given to me to breathe air… instead of water. Your work as an actress spanned a huge breadth of parts. Didn’t you even do westerns?»Wagon Train was fun. Sometimes the costume of a period made the acting interesting. And, Andy Devine was divine…marvelous. For some years you had always been on the other side of a camera, but you developed an interest in photography yourself.
What was the gear like then?»My mother had an ancient fold-out bellows type Kodak camera that used 616 film with eight exposures. I was given permission to use it when I wanted but mother would want it returned in the place I found it. For my high school graduation gift, my parents presented a Brownie Camera to me. My first and very own. I used it on everyone, every flower, and everything. When I met Parry, he gave his older 35mm Kodak camera to me. Jack Douglas knew my interest and gave me a Leica with a Zeiss lens he wasn’t using any longer. When I was on the Groucho Marx show, I won enough money to purchase the first, or at least the next to first, Rolleimarin underwater housing with a 3.5 lens Rollei to fit into it. Later I purchased another Rollei with a 2.5 lens. The Weston II Light Meter was used with a housing for underwater, too. But after a while, I got to know a reading of the light… ambient, sun, part sun, without a meter. The setting F11 worked well in most places in clear Caribbean waters or F8 to F5.3 for on with one snag. It only had twelve exposures. Everyone was taking pictures underwater. Everyone had photos stored in shoeboxes or dresser drawers. Al Tillman and I originated the Underwater Photographic Society in 1957. It developed into the idea for the International Underwater Film Festivals. The Society is now called the Los Angeles Chapter. Many underwater photographic clubs grew from then on. We were the whale… and the minnows slid off our back. You share my interest in preserving the history of diving. Please tell us about your own journalistic work in this regard.»Since 1978, Al Tillman and I researched the human history of the sport of diving and the defining events that occurred during its golden era. Scuba America Volume One premiered in the year 2000. It’s now out of print but I’m working on Volume Two.
You now live in Oregon. What attracted you to that spot?»Tillamook, Oregon… my home in Fernwood Forest is serene, peaceful and beautiful. No comparison to California where I spent a chunk of my years. Without shoveling much snow and suffering severe cold weather, Tillamook reminds me of my childhood days of Wisconsin. I had lived alone for almost 10 years. Three of those years I was on a hunt to find a new, delightful place to enjoy the rest of my journey. I checked out the land and homes in Al Giddings’s neighborhood in Pray, Livingston and Billings, Montana.I checked up and down the California Coastline from San Diego to Big Sur. Anacortes, Fedilgo Island and Orcas Island, where Al Tillman had his roots, were other places I studied. Then when Sue and Jack Drafahl realized I was seeking to move, they suggested Cape Meares, Oregon, where they live in a beautiful home on the beach. Another “seek and find” trip took me to their home. From Cape Meares to the foothills of Tillamook, I found Fernwood Forest.
I understand that you’ve been working on a movie project called Tillamook Treasure? Can you share with us what that’s about?»It’s a wonderful family film set in the beautiful coast village of Manzanita, Oregon. Manzanita is about 45 minutes north from my home. The movie is based on an Indian legend about a treasure buried on Neahkahnie Mountain by Spanish sailors in the 1600s. This is the story of a 14-year old girl’s discovery of what is important in life. Bright Light Studio, an independent, used the Sony HDW-F900 (High Definition) technology pioneered by Lucasfilm for its Star Wars series. Tillamook Treasure is digital cinema from front to back. The film will be distributed digitally directly to theaters, by-passing the need to go to film. The process opens the doors of feature film making to low budget independent films and reduces the cost so that high production values are within the budget of independent filmmakers. It is a new world of picture making with the highest quality digital filming, edited digitally, and released to theaters digitally.
News appeared in our once-a-week Wednesday Headlight Herald about a Hollywood company coming to town with the list of characters to be cast. I e-mailed the producers to audition for the grandmother’s part. A reply came from Jane Beaumont Hall by telephone that evening. Jane said, “We know who you are, Zale. You are too young to be the grandmother. But we’ll find a place for you.” They did. I was cast as the hardware store owner where the girl shops with her dad to buy the tools for excavating the buried treasure. The movie has won the Outstanding Family Award in a number of Film Festivals. Do you still dive?»Of course. Diving is like bicycling. My next outing is in July 2007 on the Nautilus Explorer on a dive trip through the Alaskan Straits where the cruise ships cannot squeeze through the narrow passages. Then in October, I’m off for a caged Great White Shark adventure at Guadalupe Island.
Who are your personal heroes in diving?»First, my dear Parry who was my love and hero from the start. He went beyond any other. Then E. R. Cross is another hero. I worked with him one day as buddy-inspector on the Standard Oil pipeline off Barbers Point, Oahu. Dick Anderson had been working with him for several weeks before I arrived and his other worker was ill for a day. I was staying with Cross and Diana while researching dive stores and diving in Hawaii. I needed to interview Cross, too, for my writing. He asked if I would like to help him for a day. Cross was an amazing person with an incredible diving history. Fun to be around. Others would be Valerie Taylor and Dr. Eugenie Clark. I never dived with these special women, but I would have liked a day or two with them with their adventures. They are honored as I am in the Women Divers Hall of Fame and of course, hold the “Oscar” of the underwater community, the NOGI, as a fellow of The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. Dr. Eugenie Clark’s book, Lady With A Spear was one of the first gifts I received from Parry.
Has the growth of diving met your expectations?» No one was expecting the sport of diving to take off into the splendor it has when I began diving. Water was cold, sometimes rough, and the equipment was not for ignorant sissies. The early divers were lifeguards or waterproofed with water safety certification. They were strong swimmers first and foremost. amenities, treats of exhibits, resorts and liveaboards with comforts of home and film festivals to entice the young and old to join the experience. At the same time, diving groups are encouraging the young people to make a career out of studying the creatures of the sea, protecting them and in turn protecting us for the future. Our Tillamook Estuaries Partnership and Oregon States educational institutions are spilling over with sea lab programs. The Northwest is earnest in protecting the sea and getting the sea programs injected into the school curriculum beginning in grade school. I’m delighted to be a part of this. If you had one choice of a place to go diving right now, where would that be?»I believe I will be happy with Alaska and Narwhals. But I’m always looking forward to the next dive no matter where.