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Westonite Dives With Cousteau, Comes Up With Book

Richard Hyman of Weston remembers swimming with a school of grouper off the Belize Barrier Reef while fishermen hooked the fish and jerked them to the boat. "I could see [them] being pulled to the surface. It was an alien thing to see it from the fish's perspective," said Hyman, who was filming for French explorer Capt. Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Hyman set off on his first adventure for Cousteau after graduating from Weston High School in 1973. His father, Cousteau's partner, asked him to tag along on a trip to Los Angeles, and he jumped at the chance to join an expedition to the Canadian wilderness to film beavers.

Hyman details his adventures in the nonfiction novel "Frogmen," based on journal entries and tape recordings made aboard the 139-foot Calypso. Hyman will speak at the Friends of the Weston Public Library's Authors in the Evening Series on June 10.

Hyman admired Cousteau and hopes his book will help keep his name alive. "What he did in the '60s – 'The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau' – had never been done before," said Hyman. "He gave people an appreciation for the water planet so they would take care of the ocean because it is vital for our survival."

Hyman went on four expeditions, from 1973 and 1979, between semesters at college. On a dive in 1979, he descended 217 feet on regular compressed air, "pushing the limits for the human." He said it produced an intoxicating feeling from nitrogen narcosis.

On another occasion, while experiencing the same effects, the divers came across a tiger shark deep in the ocean. "Our brains were foggy and we didn't completely recognize it until after, when we were debriefing," Hyman said.

The expeditions were "trying to get to things people had never seen before," said Hyman. On one trip he retrieved skeletons from an 1800s shipwreck and performed a burial at sea.

Hyman hasn't gone diving since his adventures — he said he felt spoiled and burnt out by the expedition. He was also "spooked" when his replacement died while diving. However, his desire to dive has come back and he hopes someday to go to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

What is the best adventure you have had? Leave your comments below.

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