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    March 22, 2016

    What Television’s Sea Hunt Taught Me About SCUBA Diving

    Conditions Have Sucked
    Lobster season has come and gone, and El Nino has been pounding the coast for the last couple of months.

    Well, to get my diving fix, I have been catching up on the old Sea Hunt series with Lloyd Bridges

    Lloyd Bridges

    For my readers who do not have a television, Sea Hunt was an extremely popular action and adventure series about an ex-Navy Frog Man named Mike Nelson, played by Lloyd Bridges.

    The production was made between 1958 to 1961 and was shot in many locations, including the Marineland of the Pacific, Catalina Island, Florida and the Bahamas.

    Sea Hunt Box Set
    Sea Hunt was the first television series to bring SCUBA diving to the public’s attention, and even though new episodes haven’t been made in 55 years, through television re-runs and DVD collections, the show still remains very popular and influential.

    Many divers I have met became divers because of watching Sea Hunt.

    Many non-divers I have met never wanted to become divers, because of watching Sea Hunt.

    To help with the plot, the show explained the science of diving – the dangers of coming up too quickly, the dangers and causes of decompression sickness, etc.

    It is interesting to note, that “SCUBA diving” was referred to as “skin diving” on the show.

    Sea Hunt Title

    Sea Hunt was very influential in my desire to become a SCUBA diver.

    However, on a lighter side, here are some things I learned about SCUBA diving growing up watching Sea Hunt.

    …and no, I haven’t seen every single episode, so I may be wrong on some things.

    Solo Diving Is Fine And Perfectly Safe

    Mike Nelson about to solo dive

    Solo diving wasn’t even mentioned as a more hazardous option to buddy diving – at least that’s what they teach you now.

    When Mike Nelson was hired to do a job, unless he was teaching or part of a team, he just geared up and went over, leaving everyone else waiting on the boat.

    He dove in open water, wrecks, caves, mines and did search and recovery alone many times.

    SCUBA Divers Get The Women

    Women of Sea Hunt

    This part convinced me to become a diver.

    Mike Nelson never had any problems getting women; he could take his pick, and even steal women away from their boyfriends.

    SCUBA Diving Is A Means Of Transportation

    SCUBA as travel

    In “The Meet,” Season 4, Episode 26, Mike Nelson follows a couple with a suspicious package to a remote island.

    It turns out, they are teenagers who have SCUBA dove to the island from shore, and their package is their lunch.

    This feat was possible because it seemed that the air tanks on the show lasted a long, long time, unless running low or out was part of the plot.

    Also to note, that particular episode showed a rare look inside Mike Nelson’s bachelor apartment.

    Other Divers Are Spying On You, And May Jack You

    Lying In Wait Sea Hunt

    Visibility is never a concern, unless a silt out during a cave dive adds to the suspense.

    Therefore, other divers can be watching your every move.

    SCUBA Divers Carry Knives And Know How To Fight For Self Defense

    Sea Hunt Fight

    Before I learned to SCUBA dive, I never had any idea that the dive knife had any practical purpose except to fight off sharks and other divers.

    I mean, the guys who are watching you, just may want to “jack your shit,” as they say in the ghetto.

    Sea Hunt Fight

    Sea Hunt Underwater fight

    Sea Hunt Fight

    Sea Hunt Fight

    Knife skills were a must, but to be a good diver, you also had to know wresting and Jujitsu.

    The More Tanks You Have, The More Macho You Are

    Three tanks are macho

    Everyone has heard of single tanks and double tanks – but in Sea Hunt, for ultra-macho dives, Mike would break out his triples!

    I asked another Mike at a dive shop if the three tank set-up had any practical purpose.

    He said, “It was just for looks.”

    Sea Hunt will always be one of my favorite shows.

    It surprises me that some people under 30 don’t know who Lloyd Bridges was, and then I explain, “He’s the guy who played the boozing, glue sniffing and drug addicted control tower supervisor in the 1980 film, Airplane!

    Lloyd Bridges in Airplane.

    Then, they know who I’m talking about!

    April 28, 2011

    Human Planet DVD Set Profiles Extreme Divers

    Own Human Planet on DVD or Blu-ray!

    On April 26, 2011, the Human Planet DVD set was released for sale; I have been fortunate enough to review the entire series over last week.

    Human Planet is an eight part documentary series that profiles how humans have adapted to live in various climates and regions throughout the Earth – Oceans, Deserts, Arctic, Jungles, Mountains, Grasslands, Rivers and Cities.

    After three years of filming in 80 countries, the end result is one of the most breath taking and beautifully filmed documentaries that I’ve ever seen – quite a nice change from the warmed over sitcoms and fake “reality” shows that seem to inundate television today.

    The DVD set also has over three hours of previously unseen footage, including a portion called “Human Planet Behind The Lens,” which shows how some of the scenes were shot and the crew’s interaction with the subjects.

    The first series is “Oceans – Into the Blue” – how humans live and have adapted to living in, on top of, and around the oceans.

    Compressor divers in the Philippines

    One of the sections in this episode profiles compressor divers in the Philippines – divers who dive to 130 feet, for sometimes hours at a time, herding fish into nets and breathing off of plastic hoses of compressed air, without a regulator, and all for $25 a week.

    For the readers who may not know what a regulator is, it is a piece of diving equipment that adjusts the pressure of compressed air to match the surrounding water pressure and give air only on demand.

    Without a regulator, these guys are breathing off a tube that constantly streams compressed air down their throats, sort of like breathing off a regulator that is free flowing.

    These are the most insane divers that I’ve ever heard of!

    The “Behind The Lens” portion of the first DVD documents the relationship that developed between the BBC photographers and the compressor divers, which I found to be equally as fascinating as the original story.

    To view this video on YouTube, click here.

    The end of the first episode profiles the nationless Bajau people in the Coral Sea, near Borneo.

    Bajau people in the coral sea

    They actually live in houses that are raised above the water.

    One of the inhabitants is a free diver who, on one breath, can dive 65 feet under water and hunt for up to five minutes.

    Taking water pressure into consideration, I bet this man can hold his breath for 15 minutes on the surface.

    To view this video on YouTube, click here.

    Have you ever seen someone walking along the ocean bottom, holding their breath at 65 feet below the surface?

    The whole series is as fascinating as the first episode.

    Many times I would look at a scene and think, “That guy is crazy” – but then I would think, “How the hell did they film that?”

    Again, the “Behind The Lens” section at the end of each episode tells how some of it was done.

    The below video will give you an idea of the astounding photography in this documentary series:

    To view this video on YouTube, click here.

    After viewing all eight of the episodes, there is one fact that I will retain for the rest of my life – “Tarantulas taste better when they’re cooked like marshmallows!”

    That tidbit of information I got from Episode 4: Jungles – People of the Trees, when they profiled tarantula hunting in Venezuela.

    It was said in such a matter of fact way that I found it very funny.

    This being a BBC documentary, pretty much everything is referenced in metric measurements, and being an American, I don’t think right off hand in metric measurements.

    When I heard of the Mali desert being sweltering hot at 45 degrees, I had to think – “Oh, yeah, metric! Double it and add 30.”

    I actually had to stop the DVD and figure out how deep 40 meters is – 130 feet.

    An American measurement subtitle option would have been a nice feature, but now I’m a lot better at the metric system.

    As my British friend told me, “If you have at least two functioning brain cells, the metric system is actually easier than the Imperial System.”

    The Human Planet DVD series is a welcomed addition to my DVD collection!

    More clips from Human Planet are available here:

    To view this video on YouTube, click here.

    Human Planet arrived on DVD and Blu-ray April 26, just two days following the broadcast conclusion. You can also catch Human Planet on the Discovery Channel April 17 and 24 at 8pm. To learn more about Human Planet you can visit the official website at www.HumanPlanetBlog.com or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HumanPlanetTVSeries.

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