The World of Silence
To immerse yourself, to let yourself float, to do nothing more than discover the beauty that surrounds us. Diving is relaxing, putting tensions aside and calming your mind. It’s like a reconnection with oneself, to our origins.
Big Blue Generation – “Enzo! Mio palmo! »
Between the 1950s and 1990s, entire generations of seafloor enthusiasts were motivated by heroes and precursors such as Captain Cousteau or freedivers Jacque Mayol and Enzo Maiorca.
Le Grand Bleu, a French cult film of the late 1980s, introduced the world of apnea to as many people as possible and triggered motivations among a large number of divers.
The adventure of the depths
The sea has always been a source of life for people. For thousands of years, snorkeling has allowed people to find something to live on. Whether it is to feed, to find rare and precious materials such as pearls or to bring back offerings such as red coral or mother-of-pearl found in tombs in Egypt. Hippocrates in the 5th century BC already explained how to use sponges in surgery.
Going deeper, staying longer are dreams that have always animated people in their efforts to achieve technological progress.
But not only technical, but also physiological! Did you know that it is here in Indonesia that a people of diving fishermen, the “Bajau”, also known as “sea nomads”, hold the longest record for time spent underwater? Almost 15 minutes! The researchers discovered that their failure, essential in the apnea process, was much larger than normal. They concluded that their bodies had adapted to the conditions of life spent largely underwater in search of food.
One minute: this is the average time that an untrained man can spend underwater. For marine mammals, it’s more than that. For example, 15 minutes for the dolphin and 50 minutes for the whale… The fish of course have no lungs, it is their gills that catch the oxygen that is in the water.
The conquest of the seabed
The equipment we use today has evolved and the adventure of underwater exploration began a few hundred years ago. Exciting, complicated because it is linked to technology, science and society itself, the history of diving cannot be written in a few paragraphs. However, here are some important dates and discoveries:
1500 Leonardo da Vinci draws a swimmer equipped with swimming fins
1650 Invention of diving machines, bells, submarine attempts… Great advances on pressure-related issues (Gas Volume Act by Robert Boyles and Edmé Mariotte), Invention of the barometer by Torricelli
1690 Pursuit of ideas around the diving bell (Denis Papin, Hedmund Halley)
1715 John Lethbridge’s barrel, the first version of a diving machine that allows you to stay underwater for thirty minutes
1750 Carbon dioxide identification by John Black
1774 Fréminet, a simple Parisian, drew plans for a diver. He places a boilermaker on the diver’s head with 2 inlets: an air intake pipe and a carbon dioxide exhaust pipe.
1774 Oxygen is “discovered” by Priestley1775 Birth of the word “scaphander” from the Greek word “ship-man
1780 Lavoisier discovers the role of oxygen and carbon dioxide in respiration
1797 Significant progress of the diver with the work of Klingert
1819 Augustus Siebe’s helmet and “heavy foot” suit, which was not dethroned until 150 years later with the arrival of the regulator.
1865 Rouquaryrol and Denayrouse install a compressed air tank on the diver’s back
1879 Theories of decompression and oxygen toxicity by Paul Bert, notion of “decompression stops”
1904 Compressed air premise
1906 Decompression tables based on Haldane’s method, the depths are then 30 and 40 meters – Discovery of wrecks, the adventure begins.
1913 First underwater films
1924 First dives with helium
1925 The Prior and Fernez created the first regulator, Louis de Corlieu launched the rubber fins
1930 Observation turrets that can descend to 210 metres
1933 Yves Le Prieur improves his system and creates the diving mask including glasses, nose clip and mouthpiece – First diving clubs
1938 Formation of the trio: Philippe Taillez, Frédéric Dumas and Jacque-Yves Cousteau
1942 Cousteau develops a special camera and shoots “Par 18 mètres de fond”, a documentary showing the richness of the seabed, the film is broadcast in 1943
1943 Cousteau dives with a pressure regulator, the ancestor of the famous “Royal Mistral”, our current regulator. He is also testing the first self-contained suit.
1948 Creation of the French Federation of Underwater Clubs
1949 First diving manual with tables
1950 Beginning of the adventures of “Calypso” and Commander Cousteau
1956 Golden Palm in Cannes for the Cousteau’s film “The World of Silence”
1960 Start of commercial recreational diving. Record descent to 107 meters in air diving
1968 -132 meters
1969 Enzo Maiorca dives free at -72 meters and Jacques Mayol a little later at -76 meters