“Frogmen” a book written by longtime Family YMCA member, Richard Hyman

dt.common.streams.StreamServerRichard Hyman is a Weston native and longtime Family YMCA member. He has written a book titled “FROGMEN”.  It’s his personal account of the amazing adventures he experienced during four expeditions with the legendary French explorer, Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Fortunately he wrote personal journals, which helped him recount events of the years gone by. He also has recordings of crew conversations and music played during his watch aboard the famous research vessel Calypso. (The tape recorder used was purchased at Klein’s of Westport, a former Main Street landmark.)

His expeditions began the summer of 1973, just after Richard graduated from Weston High School. His father Fred, President and CEO of The Cousteau Group, invited Richard to join him on a business trip to Los Angeles. Richard agreed. At dinner he met Captain Cousteau and his sons Philippe and Jean-Michel. Cousteau asked Richard if he would drive a supply truck from L.A. to Lac la Ronge in Saskatchewan, Canada. Richard jumped at the opportunity. From la Ronge they used seaplanes to move the camera equipment, lumber and food to Foster Lake in the wilderness, for a rare land-based expedition. Richard worked with Cree Indians to build a house for the Cousteau team to winter in and film Beavers of the North Country. 

A year later, during college break, Richard rejoined Cousteau in Florida. This was the first time he saw Calypso. The team filmed manatee and stone crabs.

Shortly thereafter Richard went to Mexico. He rendezvoused with Calypso’s helicopter pilot and they flew to the ship, which was anchored off Isla Contoy. Richard served as a deck hand and also conducted science research for Furman University. There they filmed The Migration of the Spiny Lobster.

Author Higher resThen they sailed south along the 180-mile Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef in the world. They dove many spectacular locations and filmed a unique spot where grouper were spawning, The Fish That Swallowed Jonah. A “far out” treat was a visit by singer songwriter John Denver. Richard dove with John and commented, “The evening concert that John performed was definitely a highlight”. Part of the concert was filmed and aired on John’s television special, for which he won an Emmy Award.

In 1979, on Richards’s final voyage, he was diver, photographer and navigator. The theme was shipwrecks. Calypso departed Norfolk, Virginia, destined for the Graveyard of the Atlantic, off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The mission was to locate the wreck of the Civil War Ironclad, the U.S.S. Monitor. Being our nation’s first marine sanctuary, special permission had been obtained. The Cousteau team used sonar to scan the ocean floor and find the wreck. They braved a strong Gulf Stream current and made several treacherous 239-foot dives. Unfortunately an engine failure coupled with a storm abbreviated the stay and forced Calypso to safe harbor. Calypso limped down the eastern seaboard, stopping two more times for repairs. Finally upon reaching Martinique in the eastern Caribbean the team dove a number of undiscovered deep wrecks. The percussion of Mt. Pele’s 1902 volcanic eruption sank them.

The final destination was Venezuela, where Richard assisted students with oceanography. There was no diving though, so soon the divers, Captain Cousteau and Richard were fish out of water and it was time to leave Calypso.

RH speakingFor more information please see Richard’s web site www.richardehyman.com.

He will be talking about his time with Cousteau and sharing photographs at the Westport Public Library on Monday, September 19th from 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Please come out and support your fellow Y member. There is no charge.