Peter Benchley 2013-04-16 01:53:51
Since his discovery of the first significant sunken treasure in the New World about a half century ago, Teddy Tucker has been an imposing figure in ocean exploration. Gifted with an innate communion with the sea, prodigious physical abilities, acute intelligence and an insatiable curiosity, Teddy brought Bermuda to the world and the world to Bermuda. Though gold, silver and emeralds were what originally catapulted him to world renown, he always had the understanding that the true treasure was the sea itself. The Smithsonian was the first of many prestigious institutions to recognise the genius of this unassuming man, who has been described as (and how I wish I had penned this description) “born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” Along with Mendel L. Peterson of the Smithsonian, Teddy has virtually invented many of the techniques of underwater archaeology that are of standard use today, like the grid system for surveying wreck sites. He is often sought by governments, navies, museums and institutions for his profound knowledge of everything sea-related, from numismatics to shipbuilding and weaponry to cartography. But he is especially recognised and respected for his encyclopaedic practical understanding of the sea and all that is in it. To observe Teddy work in the water is to witness someone who is perfectly in tune with his environment. Every time he goes overboard, be it with a scuba tank or a net aimed for the abyss, he discovers something new, something fascinating. It may be just a Styrofoam buoy, but upon closer inspection he’ll reveal the unassuming object bears the beak marks of an enormous squid; or he may come across a transparent deep-water critter, a cross between a shrimp and a cockroach that nature wove from the threads of finest living glass. He has, of course, worked with most of the well-known nature and exploration magazines, including National Geographic. In fact, I will be forever grateful to two of the grand gentlemen of the Geographic Society, Franc Shor and Kenneth MacLeish, for introducing me to Teddy, Edna and Wendy more than three decades ago. In so doing, they forever changed my life and the lives of my wife and children. Teddy would have been a boon companion for Darwin or Cook or Joseph Banks or Lowell Thomas. He has been — he is — the very best of companions for many of us.
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