As a scuba diver myself I am eternally grateful to the father of the Aqualung, the pioneer of sport diving Jacques Cousteau. Born on this day in Aquitaine, France in 1910.
His contribution to diving, and to marine conservation, cannot be overstated. He was also hugely influential in the film industry and bringing nature documentaries to a mainstream audience.
If you look up the town of Kilkee in Ireland on Wikipedia you will see a note that Cousteau considered Kilkee the finest dive site in Europe. He probably said it too. He regularly dived there with the local Scuba fanatic, the owner of the fish and chip shop: Manuel Dilucia. As you can tell from his surname Manuel was not a Kilkee native; he was born in Belfast. Indeed so were his parents. It was his grandparents who emigrated from Italy.
Manuel’s was the “good” chipper in Kilkee. A bit more expensive but worth it if you had a spare penny. Manuel Dilucia was involved in all things marine in Kilkee. He brought his love of seafood to the Irish people, who rated the fruits of the sea low on the scale of things to eat. Manuel brought his Italian delight of seafood together with his love of marine sport. He eventually opened a gourmet seafood restaurant in Kilkee when the locals were ready for more than battered cod after the pub.
He helped the Gardai with underwater searches, he pioneered scuba diving, he worked tirelessly on conservation of the natural environment and he founded the marine rescue service. It is no surprise that Jacques Cousteau would seek him out if he was interested in diving the West of Ireland. So it may be unaccredited but I believe that Jacques Cousteau said that Kilkee was the best place to dive in Europe.
Dover Beach; by Matthew Arnold
The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
upon the straits; on the French coast the light
gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
listen! you hear the grating roar
of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
at their return, up the high strand,
begin, and cease, and then again begin,
with tremulous cadence slow, and bring
the eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
of human misery; we
find also in the sound a thought,
hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
retreating, to the breath
of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
and naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
to one another! for the world, which seems
to lie before us like a land of dreams,
so various, so beautiful, so new,
hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
and we are here as on a darkling plain
swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
where ignorant armies clash by night.