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  • Diving the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

    "All that debris still remains under the bridge for the most part, and it has become a dive site. It is a very difficult dive site to get to because of the swiftly moving water and the very short period of slack time. ​Nature in this area has just a tremendous ability to take over. You have a man-made structure like the Tacoma Narrow Bridge that collapsed into the water. Very quickly, the ocean took it over and made it part of the habitat". Extract from the voiceover of trailer for 700 Feet Down (a documentary about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge told through witnesses of the bridge’s 1940 demise as well as intrepid divers exploring a reef of wreckage, ultimately reflecting on how history influences the present)
  • Eugen Ransonnet-Villez

    "Measuring three feet high by two and half wide and deep, this submersible, of sheet iron and inch-thick glass, had the user's legs sticking out of the bottom so that he could propel himself along the seabed at a depth of five meters or so. It was weighed down by cannonballs, and with air pumped in, the diving bell allowed him to descend for sessions of up to three hours" (The Public Domain Review 2021).
  • Lithograph of underwater scene

    Lithograph of underwater scene by Eugen Ransonnet-Villez, from colour pencil drawings made by the artist while submerged in his diving bell, from his 'Sketches of the Inhabitants, Animal Life and Vegetation in the Lowlands and High Mountains of Ceylon' (1867)
  • Melchior & Cousteau

    In 1963 Simone Melchior became the world's first female aquanaut by living in Starfish House, an underwater habitat, for the final four days of the Conshelf II project. Although never visible in the 'Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau' series, Cousteau's wife and business partner played a key role in the operation at sea. She was the acting mother, healer, nurse and psychiatrist to the all-male crew for 40 years. Cousteau describes her as being "happiest out of camera range, in the crow’s nest of the Calypso (...), scanning the sea for whales". ​Her father, Henri Melchior, was director of Air Liquide (France’s main producer of industrial gases at the time) and funded the invention of the aqua lung and the scuba diving apparatus we know today.
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