Posted by SDM on March 16, 2012 at 05:33:22:|
In Reply to: Traditional posted by Elaine on March 15, 2012 at 22:21:04:
This reminds me of a story I published many many years ago about two famous divers in the genesis of diving and a bell...
Con su permiso...
It no secret to most "vintage" divers that Hussong's way down in Ensenada Mexico was once a divers hang out. In the 1950 & the early 1960s it was a place that was "Muy Tranquillo." The music was Strauss Viennese walzes played by a group of locals in the corner. The Maggies were huge, served with a glass and the container they were mixed in (at least to the divers) -a few sips and the Cantina was transformed into another time and another place.
Walter Hussong who was the founder's Percy Husson's son was a very knowldgeable experienced pioneer diver and a darn good one. It was only natural that divers of the 1950s and early 1960s would check in on the way south to check on conditions or on the way back to the states to report on the diving.
Walter and Bill Hogan (a LB Neptune) who owned the Underwater Sports shop in Naples a waterfront community in Long Beach, California, teamed up in 1956 to salvage what silver remained in the Columbia which was in 200 plus feet of water in the La Paz harbor. (To place this in perspective self contained (aka SCUBA) diving was only five (5) years old in the US, equipment was rudimentary crude and dangerous use and unheard of in most of Mexico)
They dove it every day for a month returning with nothing but the ship's bell which Bill located 50 feet from the wreck in 200 feet of water. They "did not find the silver" and "were poverty stricken frm the expense of the diving operation."
The bell was placed on display in the middle of the floor of the UW sports shop where it sat for several years- one day Bill came out of the rear of the shop and it was gone...and to this day has never recovered
HOWEVER, There is an epilog to this tale..
With in a year of returning Bill managed to lease (from Chuck Blakeslee (Compton Dolphins) the founder of Skin Diver Magazine) the two large lots at the base of the Belmont pier in Long Beach and establish a huge dive operation including one of the first SCUBA training pools in the US, which still had the name "Underwater Sports Shop." He then divorced his wife, Jeanie concurrently losing the dive operation in the process to her.
Hogan established a "Divers Bar" called "Hogans" which he gave away more than he sold, In the early 1960s he sold the bar, packed up and moved to Costa Rica where he remarried, raised a daughter and lived the life of a gentleman famer. He returned to SoCal where he became a real estate agent for the remainder of his years, departinng to to the big reef in the sky about 15 years ago--But--- He "never found the treasure of the Columbia."
Walter on the other hand was living the good life in Ensenada. He was aways at the bar always avaliable to drop every thing if he recognized you to "talk diving." --but Walter also maintained -- "never found the treasure of the Columbia."
However, the good life caused his demise--He opened a bar on the mainland also called "Hussongs." And Walter being Walter was shot and killed about 1962 by a very upset husband.
< Ed Note The Hussong family still has a presence in Baja. The bar is a must see, must visit tourist trap. Walter's Uncle owns "Quintas Popagyo" (Sp) on the north side of town, and much of the farmland south of town is owned and operated by the family>"
And the Bell of the Columbia is still missing fifty years later...
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