Thursday, August 12, 2010
MY HALF CENTURY UNDERSEA
FILM BIOGRAPHY WADE DOAK
Preparing a filmic biography I first assembled lists of all my books in chronological order, paralleled by another list of all supporting film material that would illustrate my diving life. Then I came to see that the tree of diving exploration has many branches that I had followed sometimes wittingly, and at times, by happenstance! Each path constitutes a theme in the woven cord of my story, that leads to my present interest in seeing the Big Picture.
In 1989 I wrote my diving autobiography: “Ocean Planet”. I wanted to call it: my ‘Waterbiography’. It traces wet events in my life from a near drowning in my first months of life [my mother dropped me in the surf!] up to publication date of the book. But nowhere did I then consider a major force that has motivated my diving life. The vision on which many of the first skindivers drew: it was the French connection.
A translation of a book titled “The Marvellous Kingdom” induced a fourteen year old boy in 1954 to build a diving helmet and walk over the seabed at Diamond Harbour breathing air from a car pump sent down his dad’s garden hose by the efforts of two girl friends working in relays. Then it was the Jacques Cousteau T.V. programmes in the late fifties that inspired a whole bunch of diving fanatics to take their first flights in a hydro planet. From J.C. we got the vision that we were all “Oceanauts”: explorers of the Blue Continent. Now I see that the connecting theme that runs through all phases of my diving life and leads to where I am today was driven by Cousteau. And that the French passion for diving has impinged on my life at energising intervals. Never more so than when I met J.C. over lunch with Prime Minister David Lange at the Beehive (see news clip - Dinner with David and Jacques).