Sea Salt By Stan Waterman
Stan Waterman has spent more than half a century in, on and under the sea, and in these pages he takes you with him on the amazing ride he calls his life. There is excitement enough in his encounters with wild animals and weird people to fill a hundred lives and all their fantasies. To cite just one example, have you ever wondered what it would be like to dive in the open ocean with a huge school of certifiably anthropophagous sharks as they gorge on the carcass of a whale … at night? Probably not. But hang on, because when Stan recounts scenes from the filming of the classic 1971 documentary feature film, Blue Water, White Death, you’ll be there beside him, and astonished that anyone lived to tell the tale.
Sea Salt is far more, however, than just a catalogue of critters and close calls. Stan has a profound rapport with the sea, and his command of language and literature eloquently conveys the depth of his feeling. The thoughtful, graceful writing sets the book a full step above most memoirs about the sea; not only does Stan appreciate good writing — you be pleased to encounter an occasional quote from Joseph Conrad or Henry Beston — but he’ll often turn a phrase or craft a paragraph that could well have come from the pen of a master.
As you enjoy each grain of Sea Salt, I hope that your richest reward will be a sense of comradeship with the very special man who’s sharing with you the story of his utterly beguiling journey.
From the dust jacket
Ever since donning a Japanese Ama pearl divers’ face mask as a schoolboy in 1936, Stan Waterman dreamed of undersea adventure. After service in World War II and graduation from Dartmouth he was the first in his home state of Maine to purchase and pioneer the new Aqualung underwater breathing system. Casting his sights down Robert Frost’s road less traveled, he abandoned life as a gentleman blueberry farmer, converted a fishing trawler into a charter dive boat and angled the bow toward the Bahamas. It was there, in the 1950’s, during those heady seminal years of underwater discovery that Stan first carried a movie camera underwater. Thus began a globetrotting life of underwater movie making that has entertained and enlightened audiences with a fertile feast of novel images for a half-century.
For a decade he eked out a living traveling the back roads of America showing his hand-spliced films. In 1965 Stan took his family to live and play in Tahiti. Success was launched when National Geographic purchased rights to their tropical odyssey. A stellar string of ventures followed beginning with his 1968 collaboration with Peter Gimbel on the shark classic Blue Water, White Death. Later he directed underwater photography for the film version of The Deep, followed by ten years of production work with friend Peter Benchley for ABS’s American Sportsman — in the process he garnered five Emmys.
Sea Salt is the handiwork of a born story teller with a flair for language as stoked with imagery and insight as his films. Liberally sprinkled with humor, verve and singular turns of phrase, his memories and selected writings deftly portray the joys and travails of living a full-bodied life.