Lord Marsden of The Royal Geographical Society asked to try out his new diving apparatus off the coast of Jamaica to look at the local sea life. He was accompanied by Dr. Johnathon Hughes of the Royal Society of Science. Little did we know, we were being watched and Lord Marsden and the good Doctor were putting their lives at danger.
N ow look here Captain, after going through a tempest that we just dealt with, the good doctor and I would like to view the local sea life below the ship," said Lord Marsden.
I explained to them that since our crew was repairing the ship I couldn't commit many resources to assist them. "Look, we're off the coast of Jamaica and this is very near where the sea creature was last spotted."
"Captain, I appreciate your concern but we're going over. We only need two of your crew to maintain the pumps as we dive below the surface and collect samples. There is nothing to fear here, we're in the shallows. "
I reluctantly agreed. As my first mate Anitelu oversaw the repair of the forward yard arm sails, I assigned two midshipmen to assist Lord Marsden and Dr Hughes get into their cumbersome diving outfits.
We lowered them down the side of the ship with their cables connected. As the John my Boatswain reported to me that the depth was around 65' and that the cables allowed them to dive to about 75'.
Have you tested this equipment yet?
"Yes Captain of course I have, why would I dive in an unknown sea in unknown equipment? I've got enough working knowledge but this dive will continue my examination of the use and functionality at a deeper depth than previously tested. " Lord Marsden replied.
His cavalier attitude concerned me, given our location, but I've known a few British and they all seem to act the same. Lord Marsden seemed to think he always knew better than anyone else.
Dr. Hughes was different, he was reserved, yet focused and had the presence of mind to have a calming factor on the situation, as he smoothed over ruffled feathers that Lord Marsden seemed to ignore.
History Note: The underwater diving gear of this story consists of real world example that was availalbe at this time. It is a surface supplied hardhat suit, which was fed oxygen from the ship or shore through tubes. This gear and process was relativley new but newer still in 1865 a self-contained apparatus designed by Benoit Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouze featured tanks fastened to the back, which supplied air to a facial mask via the first-known demand regulator. The diver didn't swim but walked upright across the seafloor. This device was called an aérophore (Greek for "air-carrier"). Its air tanks could hold only thirty atmospheres