September 25, 2011

A legend amongst us

A man from Austria who was the pioneer of skin diving and underwater exploring although he was born far from the oceans in 1919 in Vienna. Professor Hans Hass, a scientist, a filmmaker, an adventurer, one of the people who changed the way as we think about the sea, the sharks, the conservation. Maybe nowadays he is not a popular icon like Jacques-Yves Cousteau but he had as important role as the french explorer in the very first years.

The young Hans Hass started skin diving in 1937 in France, close to the place where Cousteau made his first dives. Hass knew he found what he was looking for and a year later he spent some weeks with freediving in the Adriatic. Based on his experiences he organized a trip to the Netherlands Antilles in 1939. This legendary skin diving expedition was one of the first occasions where the divers made scientific explorations and shot a lot of underwater movies and photos. Hass designed his underwater photography kit: "I needed to make photos because nobody believed what did I see". Practically he had to found out the best practices of research on location. Later he published an exciting book of this expedition. In 1940 his first movie was released. His movie from the Caribbean introduced the nearly unknown world of coral reefs. He made the first experiments to learn more about sharks' behavior and started to use Drager rebreathers under water.

After the WW II he had the chance to continue his underwater explorations on the board of a new research ship, the Xarifa. Hans Hass and his crew (which consisted the brave and pretty Lotte, his second wife, the first famous scuba diving lady) had exciting trips to the Red Sea, he was the first who dived the Sudanese waters. The Adventure in Red Sea won the grand prize in Venice in 1951. He made movies for TV about many of his trips like Diving to Adventure. Hans Hass was one of the first men who declared how vulnerable is the ecosystem of the world oceans, so he became a conservationist. Later he was worked in the field of economics and became a professor in Vienna. Dr Hans Hass still lives in the city. A few years ago I wanted to organize an interview but because of his health problems we couldn't met. Anyway, I'm still proud when I think about our short phone calls- I talked to a real pioneer of scuba diving...

Abenteuer im Rotten Meer (1) by ArcheoFilms

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