The Diving Bell Diaries.

By Stephanie Kellerman

Stephanie Kellerman sojourns many a mile to visit the Seaview diving bell atop San Diego's Aqua Tech Dive Center, her tour courtesy  of store owner David Dean.

     I had mentioned to Mike I was going to San Diego and I wanted to see the diving bell while I was there.  Mike wrote back and suggested I ask if I could get my picture taken with it.  I hadn't really thought about that and shook my head,wondering why I hadn't.  I emailed the Dive Center and asked it.  I promptly got a reply back with Sure!  If you don't mind climbing up a ladder.  I emailed them back and said I definitely didn't mind that!  I am always on a ladder working around my house.  What is one more ladder?  I couldn't wait to get there.

   Aqua-Tech Logo

Diving Bell on Aqua-Tech roof with dave in background.         I got to San Diego and called Aqua-Tech to let them know I was in town.  We set up a time for Thursday afternoon on November 20.  My daughter and I drove over there. I found out what they meant by climbing.  We had to go up the stairs to the third floor and go out the door to the lower roof.  There we had to climb up about a 12-14 feet to get on the upper roof.  David also brought up a step ladder that I could stand on as the bell was about 6 feet up on a pedestal.  After David got up there he said it would be a lot better if I got in the bell. --That is, if it didn't bother me to climb into it.

    I actually was shocked.  He was going to let me get IN the bell?!  Of course I didn't mind doing some more climbing!  While he went to get a longer ladder, my daughter EJ took pictures of me standing on the step ladder in front of the hatch. David came back with the longer ladder and I got down off my perch.  He put the ladder in place and I started up the ladder when it hit me.  I was actually going to get to go inside the Apple One. Up until then I really hadn't thought about it.  Before I got in I took some more pictures of the inside of the bell. I then climbed in.  I looked around and closed my eyes thinking I was in the bell where Richard Basehart was.  I looked through the ports into the distance just imagining being in the bell thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean looking out into the depths. I imagined what it would be like as a member of the crew.  I just sort of shook inside. I felt so incredible.  And being a Basehart/Nelson fan I imagined what it would be like locked up in there with him.    Stephanie Kellerman and the NIMR diving bell.

Stephanine sitting in the NIMR diving bell, and looking pretty happy about it.     

    I sat down next to the yellow chair and looked out the hatch. It was dirty so I didn't sit in it. My daughter took some pictures of me sitting there. I looked at the instruments and thought of Harry looking at them. I then stood and held the pole while she took some more. I imagined having to hold onto that pole for dear life while the bell was being plummeted by a storm or being hit by a monstrous whale and torn loose from its tether. I wondered if I would feel trapped in that tiny space, but thought no, not with the intrepid crew of the Seaview with me. Especially if the member of the crew was one Admiral Harriman Nelson.

David Dean studies Steph to see if she's got the right stuff to advance up the ladder to the Seaview diving bell.
Steph and Aqua Tech owner David Dean.

  I then knew it was time to get out of the bell and leave. I had a brief moment in time that I was part of the crew. I felt a longing to stay but knew I couldn't. I climbed out of the bell and looked up at her one last time, grateful that Apple One had found a home with someone who intends to take care of her.  Click here  for full index of Steph's Apple One photos.  

Interior of bell.
For more interior shots of the bell, click at left.

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