En los años veinte el escritor norteamerican Guy Gilpatric (1896-1950) fue uno de los pioneros sobre la escritura de la pesca submarina. Mientras que su trabajo por la mañana consistía en escribir sus novelas y crónicas para el Saturday Evening, por la tarde se dedicaba a la pesca submarina. En 1.929, Gilpatric impermeabilizó unas gafas de aviador, que le permitieron ver bien por primera vez el fondo marino. No tardó en hacer prosélitos entre los amigos que le rodeaban.
La muerte de Gilpatric tiene un aire trágico, murió suicidándose después de matar a su mujer, enferma terminal.
Gilpatric publicó en 1938 el primer libro que trató sobre la pesca submarina en su modalidad deportiva: The Compleat Googler, que si mi intuición es correcta debe significar algo así como La búsqueda Completa (se admiten traducciones mejores… pero es que los términos “Compleat” y “Googler” no me resultan demasiado familiares…
THE COMPLEAT GOGGLER
First edition 1938. Dodd, Mead and Company.
Second edition 1957, in conjunction with Skin Diver Magazine.
Hardcover, dust jacket, 182 pages, mono prints.
The dust jacket, left, is from the 1957 edition. It is identical to the original edition except for the brief text above the author's name.
The 1938 cover text is: The new sport which combines fishing, hunting and submarine sightseeing. Note: A copy of this edition went for 1805 English pounds = approx $300 US dollars = approx $550 Australian dollars on eBay, March 2003.
Vía Classic Dive Books
"I must admit to certain sadness when I read of so many fish being killed in the name of sport, but The Compleat Goggler provides an impression that the author has compassion for the food that he kills. He certainly developed an understanding of the ways of the various fish species. The hunting of the huge merou unflatteringly named Bonehead is not a classic in the sense of Melville's Moby Dick, but it does have its moments of compassion.
And like so many early books on the animals of the sea, the octopus comes in for more than its share of derision - "... he is a rude swashbuckling lout with a nasty disposition, prodigious strength and defective, if any, mentality". Not so Mr Gilpatric, but if that is your observation at the time then so be it. "His eyes, which are extremely keen, are malevolent, gold-rimmed and lumpily-protruding, being mounted in what naval architects would describe as sponsons. His mouth, a small hole located on the underside of him exactly where a mouth has no business to be, is provided with a sharp hooked beak like a parrot's. ... it is the only really hard substance in all his squashy, slimy make-up". I'd take offence at that if I was an octopus. Why must they be regarded as grotesque simply because they are different to most other marine animals. I tend to like them even if Mr Gilpatric doesn't. But Gilpatric takes several pages to quote other ‘authorities' on these ‘horrible creatures'. "If a diver is attacked by one of these creatures it is only by superhuman efforts that he can free himself from its terrible grasp". Gilpatric hunts one down over several chapters, giving it the unimaginative name of Five Fathom Kid, but turns him loose. Compassion? Perhaps".