London Scuba Blogs
Here's a final selection of images from British comics and annuals.
Lion Annual 1959 (published 1958), painted by C D Page.
From the Beezer in 1958 come the Kings of Castaway Island. I've presented the main panels separately from the rest of the page for ease of viewing.
Although the following strip appeared in D C Thomson's other large-format comic, The Topper, it originated in the USA. Henning Dahl Mikkelsen created the strip in his native Denmark in 1937 but moved to the States in 1946. This example would have appeared on a Sunday and if you study the top tier of panels you'll notice that they could easily be omitted without affecting the main story. Sunday pages were typically created this way to allow editors the choice of running the strips as either two or three rows.
This striking illustration was the front endpaper of the 1962 Lion Annual.
Finally, here's another exciting adventure of Lucky Dicky Dolphin from a 1954 Topper. Once again, Dicky and his dad hog all the action, leaving poor Sue on the sidelines.
Since I started the Art of Diving blog I've enjoyed sharing some wonderful artwork with you but you may have noticed that I haven't been posting as often as I used to. I still have many images I haven't used but a lot of the stuff is getting a bit samey so I've decided to do some entries that will use up the best of what's left. Once I've done that I'll still be on the lookout for new material and will hopefully be able to put together the occasional post.
So, here's a selection of ads from American magazines.
Luckily, diving equipment has advanced a bit since 1935.
1956, Bigelow carpets.
1963, General Motors.
1963, First National City Bank.
This 1966 piece is part of an ad for Mexico. All these years I've been trying to impress the ladies and I never realised the answer was to wave a freshly-speared fish in their face!
Finally, this was part of a promotion for Johnson & Johnson in 1968.
Willard DeMille Price (1887-1983) was a Canadian-born American journalist, author and occasional spy! He visited 148 countries and circled the globe three times, writing 25 non-fiction books from 1914 - 1982. He worked for many publications and also for the National Geographic Society and the American Museum of Natural History. For younger readers he wrote the Adventure series featuring teen zoologists Hal and Roger Hunt from 1949 - 1980. Here's a selection of covers from Underwater Adventure (1954) and Diving Adventure (1970).
Liveaboard holidays are a great way to go diving but, because you generally tend to just eat, sleep and dive, occasionally you might find yourself wishing for something else to do. Well fear not, I have the answer with this board game from the 1970 Victor Summer Special. Just don't get so wrapped-up in it you forget to actually go diving!
With a biting wind, cutting straight through very my best selection of base layers and icy grains peppering our squinted eyes, it was becoming increasingly difficult to remain excited about our imminent dive in the geothermal lake of Kleifarvatn.
Kleifarvatn is the largest lake on the Reykjanes peninsula. Situated on the fissure zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge it is one of the deepest of the country, at 97 meters. In the year 2000 the water level shrunk dramatically after an earthquake; up to 20% of its surface disappeared. The cracks that opened on the lake bed gradually filled and the lake returned to its previous size by 2008. On the south shore of the lake (in the area of Seltùn) you can still see steam rising up from the border of the lake from numerous hot springs which were revealed after the earthquake period (below).
'So we can expect a visibility of about 1m with today's wind and a water temperature of 1C', AJ reiterated as he wrapped up his briefing on the lake shore. Well, I say lake shore, but it could have been small ocean given the not-insignificant waves, all too obvious surface current and the black volcanic sands underfoot sloping away into this overbearing body of water.
'Is it just me? Or does this have "tough dive" written all over it?' I mused to myself as we wandered back to the van which was nestled out of the wind, at the foot of a large, rocky hill.
There was some considerable backward wading in the chest-high water, against the current as our trusty guide AJ, tried to find an orange line that had been left on the bottom in the shallows to mark the beginning position of the dive. With icy waves crashing over my head, I was certainly looking forward to starting the dive to seek some respite below the surface. The challenging surface conditions, combined with some equipment problems (including Robbie and Lea's regulators experiencing free flow), caused the group to become separated and I found myself commencing the dive with only Simon, Lindsey and AJ.
The initial, strong current as we followed the line at 2-3m quickly abated as we dropped off the shallow sandy shelf towards 7m. We were pleasantly surprised by the visibility, it was much better than we had anticipated - reminiscent of a great day at Wraysbury (approximately 5m). It was also noticeably brighter, perhaps due to the lack of algal bloom (or any other life forms for that matter), hence the usual green tinge clouding out the sunlight was conspicuous in its absence.
Moving along the bottom it became apparent that we were surrounded by many craters all merrily bubbling away. There were baby ones, fizzing away like champagne and much larger ones belching their gases from the depths. But what were we actually looking at? Along the fault line, on which Kleifarvatn sits, the Earth's magma is found relatively shallow, heating the bed rock around it to a toasty 1000C. At an average depth of 2000m below the surface, water that naturally percolates downwards, meets the hot rocks, literally boiling it and sending it back towards us Earthlings. Surrounded by grey, sandy, lifeless, craters I decided this was definitely what the Moon would look like... if it were underwater... and fizzy.
Meanwhile, back in the lake, AJ navigated his way around the local area, trying to show us the best and noisiest craters. Larger areas of 'champagne' type fizzing made the clearly audible and unmistakable noise of gas escaping underwater. We finished the tour with the aptly named 'Dragon's Den' which consists of 2 large deep craters (but no entrepreneurs) into which we descended amongst the bubbles to a depth of 10m. In the craters the light and visibility reduced noticeably so we did not press on to the bottom (around 18m).
The end of the dive came at the 30 minute mark and again featured some fairly energetic finning against the current back on the shallow sandy shelf and more backward walking. Once back on shore I certainly felt like I had a good all over workout; a decent amount of physical exertion due the entry/exit, currents and low temperatures, with a nice side-serving of mental anxiety (caused in the main by the perceived threats of the difficult weather and dive conditions).
So this was the coldest dive of the trip, registering 1.9C on Simon's bling computer. But did it feel cold? Once out of the wind and below the surface - no it didn't. A combination of some excellent garments, physical exertion and distractions (the enjoyment of studying the lake bed) meant it never really crossed my mind. I have felt A LOT colder on platforms in Wraysbury during winter, assisting on dry suit courses. It was great to experience the cold water technology functioning well, first hand, in the coldest (and most geo-thermally active) body of water I have ever dived in.