If pressed to name an area in which British Columbia is a world leader, few would think of undersea expertise. Yet, as Vickie Jensen proves in this fascinating book, BC has both a colourful history and a bright future in the world of subsea technology.
This little-known saga began with the remarkable story of Pisces I. In the early 1960s, two commercial hard-hat divers from the Vancouver area, Don Sorte and Al Trice, and engineer Mack Thompson realized that they needed a small manned submersible with robot arms for deep-sea work. They couldn’t find one to buy, so they decided to build their own. Experts told them such things could only be built in specialized facilities and it would be suicidal to try a home-made version. Two years and $100,000 later their Pisces I was successfully making 2,000-foot dives. The three innovators formed a company called International Hydrodynamics (HYCO for short) to build more subs as orders started to arrive from around the world. That was only the beginning. In the process of building some fourteen submersibles, HYCO would serve as “kindergarten” for a generation of experts that would launch a hundred subsea companies with multi-million-dollar revenues, all based in BC.
In Deep, Dark & Dangerous, Vickie Jensen uncovers stories, both historical and current, detailing the submarines, submersibles, robots, torpedo recovery technology and inventions that are responsible for BC’s remarkable and continuing subsea reputation. Written with colour and flair, it is a fascinating and exciting story that anyone can enjoy.