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A PORTRAIT GALLERY FROM THE DEPTHS
Peter R. Gimbel
November 17, 1958
The color photographs on the following pages—the hideous apparition at right is an angler fish—were taken last summer between the beginning of June and the end of August. They represent the weekend efforts of Peter Gimbel, who wrote the accompanying article, and his friend Michael Gaynor, a premedical student at Muhlenberg College. Diving together, except for one dive that Gimbel made alone, the two men made the first underwater explorations of two rocky areas 20 to 50 miles out to sea east of Montauk Point on Long Island. The dives were made from the Gem II, a charter boat out of Montauk Harbor, owned by her skipper, Everett DeFriest, and crewed on these occasions by Ellis (Robbie) Robinson, the mate, and Gimbel's wife Mary. To these three fell the very considerable responsibility of keeping the boat within the area of the dives and spotting the divers when they surfaced.
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November 17, 1958

A Portrait Gallery From The Depths

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The color photographs on the following pages—the hideous apparition at right is an angler fish—were taken last summer between the beginning of June and the end of August. They represent the weekend efforts of Peter Gimbel, who wrote the accompanying article, and his friend Michael Gaynor, a premedical student at Muhlenberg College. Diving together, except for one dive that Gimbel made alone, the two men made the first underwater explorations of two rocky areas 20 to 50 miles out to sea east of Montauk Point on Long Island. The dives were made from the Gem II, a charter boat out of Montauk Harbor, owned by her skipper, Everett DeFriest, and crewed on these occasions by Ellis (Robbie) Robinson, the mate, and Gimbel's wife Mary. To these three fell the very considerable responsibility of keeping the boat within the area of the dives and spotting the divers when they surfaced.

The photographs taken in the frigid and tide-swept depths were difficult and sometimes dangerous to come by. Once, in an adventure as bizarre as it was terrifying, the divers almost lost their lives. Gimbel recalls it as follows:

"We were exploring a place called Cox Ledge, about 35 miles east of Montauk Point. Cox Ledge is actively fished by the party boats out of the Connecticut shore and Montauk Point. On this occasion, we dived to a depth of 130 feet, orienting our descent by following the anchor line of the party boat Mijoy. We soon came upon a very strange sight indeed. A cluster of half a dozen or more fishhooks temptingly baited were jerking up and down near the bottom, their leaden sinkers plunking into the sand. Several fish were very much interested in the baits, and we saw one cod get hooked and go struggling up into the gray light of the middle ground between the other lines that looked like slender and mysterious filaments suspended through a fog. I became so intrigued with this scene that before I realized it I was in the very midst of the wildly jerking hooks and almost instantly was hooked in three or four places. Holding the camera, which I was not willing to release and risk losing in the poor light, I began slowly to rise with the upward-pulling hooks. I was more than a little worried by the suddenly chaotic turn of things. Michael, who was not encumbered by carrying anything and who had sized up the situation almost before it developed, was with me in an instant and had me free within a few seconds. However, he was soon hooked himself and, while he was busy removing the steel from his hide, my face mask was suddenly yanked from my face by still another hook, leaving me blind. This, of course, was serious. I reached desperately above my head and luckily grabbed the mask, which I pulled free of the hook and flushed dry with a great snort of relief. Michael meanwhile had got himself loose, and we hastily swam out of the angling range of the Mijoy in considerable awe, if not downright fear, of the effectiveness of her fishermen."

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