A Voice From the Silent WorldBy ART BUCHWALDPrince Rainier III may have to give up skin diving and deep-sea exploring when he marries Grace Kelly. So thinksCapt. Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the world's greatest underwater explorer and a friend of the Prince.The captain, who wrote the best-
selling book "The Silent World,” which he has just made into a film said: "Prince
Rainier is a very good diver and has a good knowledge of the sea, but no woman wants her husband to dive."
“As you know,
a woman wants to be the sole interest of her husband. She is jealous of his hobbies. Some pastimesare not dangerous to women because they only require a man to be away a few hours. But skin diving may keep aman away for weeks or months at a time and when he returns to land he is usually so exhausted he just wants to
sleep. It is understandable why women don't like it and I don‟t think Miss Kelly will be an exception."
"What part of diving does the Prince prefer?"
"He‟s an underwater photographer. He has built his own cameras and I've seen his work. It‟s very good.”
Capt. Cousteau, with Emile Gagnan, invented the aqualung in 1943, an undersea breathing device which openednew worlds for skin divers and pedestrians of the deep.Skin diving is growing by leaps and bounds, he said. An estimated, $40,000,000 worth of equipment was sold in theUnited States alone last year, and Capt. Cousteau said millions of flippers are in circulation.
“Is it dangerous?‟‟
“I would say it‟s safer than motorcycling, but not as safe as driving a car. It's much safer than skiing.”
The captain advocates all kinds of skin diving except spear fishing. "I stopped spear fishing in 1944. I can't stoppeople from spear fishing, but I'm trying to educate skin divers to give up spear fishing for underwater photography,exploration and archeology work. To me it is a pity that every time man enters a virgin territory, be it on land orunder the sea, he enters with a gun. We have had to give up upper-layer exploration for lower-layer work because
fish have been frightened away from shallow waters off every civilized country." Among Capt. Cousteau‟s latest
Inventions is an underwater scooter propelled by a battery engine. The scooter can be parked underwater (one of thefew places where parking space is still available) and allows the divers to cover great distances without using upstrength.The underwater explorer shies away from treasure hunting.
“There are so few treasures in existence, despite all the stories you hear, and it‟s not
worth losing time searching for
gold. Archeological treasures are far more interesting and have a great deal more value for us.‟‟
Despite this lack of Interest in treasure hunting, the captain says he receives many letters from people warning himto keep away from treasure-loaded ships. One man recently wrote and told him: "I am the king of all the treasures of
the sea, and I warn you on the pain of death against invading the deep to plunder my ships.”
Another correspondent wrote that Louis XIV had given his family sole permission to treasure hunt, and any bootyCapt. Cousteau found would have to be shared with him.Teen-agers and men over 35 are the most ardent skin divers, according to the captain. "Men who are not slaves of women make the best divers. Women have not shown interest in the sport except perhaps to show off. I don't think women are very comfortable underwater."