The 'real' inventor of scuba...

January 02, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

This image, taken off the south coast of France, has inspired me to read up about the man whose bust lies on the seabed a short distance offshore. Looking out from the port of Golfe Juan on the French Riviera, towards Île Saint-Marguerite, you will see a small striped lighthouse, La Pierre Fourmigue. The rock on which the lighthouse is built has several popular dive sites but one has a rather special link to diving history. Le Sec de Miro (Le Grotte de Miro) holds the bust of Commandant Yves Le Prieur, who was an officer in the French Navy.

It seems Monsieur Le Prieur had many talents as he was the first Frenchman to earn a black belt in judo, and invented many things including a rocket launcher to take down observation balloons and the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus – or scuba, as the world knows it today.

Commandant Yves Le Prier's 1934 French patent for scuba apparatus

The concrete bust of Le Prieur was created by an artist called Amaryllis, is 80cm high and weighs 100kg. It was submerged at this location in 1985. 


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