The self-contained underwater breathing apparatus became available to the public in the mid-1950s. But not until it was pitched and sold to over 100 syndicated markets was the popular show Sea Hunt picked up by any major network (in 1958).
At about the same time that Lloyd Bridges’s character Mike Nelson first plopped off the Argonaut, my parents were fashioning wetsuits cut by pattern out of stock neoprene and sealed at the seams with glue. They had spearguns for yellowtail, white seabass, and halibut.
By the time I came along in 1962, their diving days were mostly behind them. Dad dove occasionally through his life into his late 50s, though instead of the speargun, he carried an underwater camera.
The underwater realm caught on film opened up further to the public in The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, whose first episodes aired from 1968 to 1975.
This Friday and Saturday night beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Qualcomm Hall in Sorrento Valley, the San Diego Undersea Film Exposition will be screening some 30 films. Friday’s lineup includes the Swim Shorts Film Festival’s first place, Habitat Service by Joe Kistel, a segment from the TISIRI (Think It, Sink It, Reef It) television show production Sunken Conservation.
Another film presented the first night is Sea Change La Jolla by Roger Uzun. Uzun recently shot a short titled Turtle Town: La Jolla, which focuses on the green sea turtle population in La Jolla.
Saturday’s selection includes another local Uzun film, Coronado Islands: Gateway to the South. The screenings wrap up with Stay with Us by Dustin Adamson. The master of ceremonies is Andrea Stockert, a SCUBA instructor and television producer who began her diving career in 1988 at Dive N’ Surf in Redondo Beach.