Ben Hellwarth - SEALAB: America’s Forgotten Quest to Live and Work on the Ocean Floor
Ben Hellwarth, Author
SEALAB is like the underwater Right Stuff, and
author Ben Hellwarth uses archival visuals and rare audio clips in a presentation based on his new book,
SEALAB: America’s Forgotten Quest to Live and Work on the Ocean Floor (Simon & Schuster, 2012).
It’s the first-ever account about the pioneering U.S. Navy divers and scientists –
along with famed adventurers like Jacques Cousteau –
who set out to achieve much longer, deeper dives than ever thought possible.
Their aim was to create the marine equivalent of space stations that enabled divers – “aquanauts” – to live and work on the seabed,
which sounded far-fetched, even foolish, to many at the time.
Two of the three SEALAB projects of the 1960s took place off the Southern California coast, as some may recall.
Each produced different adventures and outcomes, but together they ushered in a new era in deep diving and manned undersea activities.
Ben Hellwarth, a veteran journalist,
interviewed many surviving SEALAB participants and conducted extensive documentary research
to write the first comprehensive story about some lesser-known U.S. ventures and others that led to
major breakthroughs in deep diving.
As a staff writer in the 1990s for the Santa Barbara News-Press,
Ben won a number of notable awards and got the seed of the idea for SEALAB,
his first book, which has received wide-ranging praise.
Parade magazine, found in the Sunday Los Angeles Times and many other newspapers, called it
“as captivating as an adventure novel.” UnderWater,
the major magazine of the commercial diving industry,
called the story “profoundly interesting and thrillingly told.”
Ben’s writing has lately appeared in such publications as The New York Times and Discover magazine.
To find out more visit him at
David O. Carter is a "Double Bruin," having received both his bachelor's degree (B.A. cum laude 1967) and his
law degree (J.D. 1972) from the University of California, Los Angeles.
After graduating from college, Carter accepted a commission in the United States Marine Corps.
He was promptly dispatched into service in Vietnam during the Vietnam War where he fought in the Battle of Khe Sahn in 1968.
Carter was released as a First Lieutenant following his service in Vietnam.
His military awards and decorations include a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
Carter began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney with the Orange County District Attorney's Office
in 1972 where he became the senior deputy district attorney in charge of the office's homicide division.
Carter filed charges and was the initial prosecutor in the case of serial killer William Bonin,
also known as "The Freeway Killer," who became the first person executed by lethal injection in California in 1996.
In addition to his judicial functions, Carter has lectured fellow judges at the California Judges College,
the Judicial Criminal Law Institute,
and the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference.
He also speaks frequently with judges abroad,
including engagements in Brazil, Bosnia, China, the Philippines, and Malawi.
Carter also teaches an undergraduate course on international narcotics trade at the University of California, Irvine,
where he has received the school's Distinguished Professors Award three times,
and has taught at Whittier Law School's Summer Abroad Program.
Tonight he will speak to us about his world travels including Nepal.
Between 2000 and 2001, Carter presided over the longest criminal trial in the history of the Central District of California.
This case involved the prosecution of more than forty alleged members of the Mexican Mafia on charges of murder, attempted murder,
conspiracy to murder, extortion, robbery, and various drug trafficking and firearms crimes.
Much of the case involved a triple homicide that occurred in 1998.
The case was severed into three trials, with Carter presiding over each, and lasted for a combined 18 months.
Following the conviction of Mariano "Chuy" Martinez on murder charges, the prosecution sought the death penalty,
making it the first capital case to be tried in Los Angeles federal court since 1950.
A jury ultimately spared Martinez, sentencing him instead to life imprisonment.
Another case he presided over is the 2002 indictment on racketeering charges of forty alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood ("AB"),
a notorious prison gang.
This indictment alleges that the AB ordered thirty-two murders over a 23-year period and
charges forty-one AB gang members and associates with violations of the federal RICO Act.
Twenty-six defendants were eligible for the death penalty, making this the largest capital indictment in federal history.
Twenty of the defendants charged in the indictment were assigned to Carter,
including two of the three commissioners of the AB's federal faction,
Barry "The Baron" Mills and Tyler "The Hulk" Bingham.
Following a six-month trial, a jury convicted both Mills and Bingham of committing Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) and murder.
The jury deadlocked on the death penalty, and both have been sentenced and are now serving life terms at ADX Florence,
the federal system's sole supermax facility.
Adventure has been a way of life for Bob Bitchin since the early sixties,
when his name was coined by the comedy team of Cheech and Chong (his birth-name is Robert Lipkin).
He worked as a traveling companion and bodyguard for famous motorcycle daredevil Evil Knievel,
promoted motorcycle shows, and created Biker Magazine and Tattoo Magazine in the 70's and early 80's.
He also worked as editor of many of the motorcycle magazines of that era, and wrote for other publications as diverse as
Forbes, Penthouse and New Look.
During that time he rode his motorcycles across the country over 30 times and around Europe as well.
He was the founding president of the Motorcycle Press Association in 1978 and co-founder of A.B.A.T.E., a national organization of motorcyclists.
1972 Bob Lipken, Evil Knievel, Mike Draper at LA Colosieum
In December of 1973 He and riding partner LACO Bob Lawrence,
President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Hells Angels co-created the very first Toy run,
which now takes place in thousands of cities world-wide.
In the early 70's he met Alan Olson, Captain of Stone Witch, which was a 74' square rigged topasil schooner that sailed out of San Francisco.
He signed on for a 3 month sail to Guatemala to see if the sailing life was for him.
Stone Witch was the flag-ship for Greenpeace, and had no engine, ran kerosee running lights, and had four 21' oars for propulsion.
This sail changed his life, and soon, while we rode all over the world on Harley's,
he lived aboard various sailboats that he would buy, fix up, and sell.
For over thirty years he lived aboard sailboats and cruised most of the Pacific and Central America.
1974 - Bob Bitchin
In 1986 he sold BIKER and TATTOO magazines to Easyriders and started sailing full time.
For many years he sailed the Pacific Coast of Mexico and Central America on his Formosa 51, the first Lost Soul,
and then on another 51' ketch, named Predator, with numerous trips to the Hawaiian Islands and back.
Then, in 1990 After fixing and selling seven boats he bought the 68' staysail ketch Lost Soul and this would be his home for the next 17 years.
He kidnapped Jody, the bartender at the Portofino Marina Yacht Club, and they took off to explore the South Pacific.
As it turns out, they cruised all over the South Pacific, and then sailed thru the Panama Canal to the atlantic,
and sailed the Med, The Caribbean and everywhere they ever dreamed of going.
They were married on board Lost soul at the Portofino Marina on their return from their world voyage.
In 1996 he created Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine which became one of the largest publications on sailing and world cruising.
In 2005 he created the television show Latitudes & Attitudes,
which was the first and only nationally televised show about the sailing lifestyle.
The show aired nationally for 5 seasons and has been in syndication world-wide.
Currently Bob & Jody are working with Cruising Outpost, which will launch this winter.
They are have also an interactive website at www.cruisingoutpost.com for cruisers.
Bob now divides his time between Publishing, writing, world cruising, doing seminars on sailing and writing novels.
He has written seven books.
Letters From The Lost Soul, The Sailing Life, Brotherhood of Outlaws, BIKER, Emerald Bay, King Harbor and Starboard Attitude
which was released in June of 2011.
Bob has two children, six grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren and still sails all over the world whenever he gets the chance.
He and his wife Jody live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, between the Middle and North Forks of the Feather River,
overlooking Lake Oroville, in Berry Creek, California.
The Mars Society is the world's largest space advocacy organization dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the planet Mars.
Established by Dr. Robert Zubrin and others in 1998,the organization works to educate the public,
the media and government on the benefits of exploring the red planet.
Society activities include public and political outreach, educational programs,
chapter meetings the annual University Rover Challenge, privately –funded research,
ongoing Mars habitat simulation in the Utah desert and the Canadian artic and the Annual International Mars Society Convention.
Frederick retired a seven level Life Support Supervisor from the California Air National Guard.
In this capacity Frederick wrote various briefing outlines and gave crash survival, wilderness survival, emergency egress,
life support flight equipment, and escape and evasion briefings to C-130 air transport crew members.
He attended U.S. Air Force Chemical Warfare Ensemble school, Officers Life Support Course,
and Aircraft Mishap Investigation Course as well as earning degrees in "Survival and Rescue Operations" and "Avionic System Technology."
Through the years Frederick has been a member of and avid supporter the following space advocacy organizations:
the National Space Society, Planetary Society, and the Mars Society.
He was a volunteer along with his then 84 year old Father for the Ansari XPrize Competition being held at Mojave California back in 2004.
They were both thrilled to be a part of and witness both historic launches of SpaceShipOne,
the first flown by Mike Melville who became the first private astronaut on June 21st and then Brian Binnie whose flight
won the XPrize on October 4.
They enjoyed the XPrize flights so much, that Frederick wrote articles about this experience for their local newspapers
along with an interview with the great late Mercury Astronaut Wally Schirra.
His opening comments for the book Planet Mojave mentions that other spaceship that used to ply the clear, blue skies of Kern County...
the North American X-15 that his father took his brother Barry and Frederick to see, at the annual Edwards Air Force Base Open House.
When Frederick was a young US Navy sea pup back in 1968 his ship, the destroyer escort USS McMorris DE-1036,
was on special operations in the Indian Ocean observing the Soviets and
their Zond 5 trans-lunar spacecraft when it splashed down on September 21.
He wrote about this amazing event in the February & November 2009 issues of Sea Classics magazine.
Soviet Space Historian, Peter Pesavento makes reference to his article in his excellent series about
“Excavating for America’s Secret Knowledge of the Soviet Space Program,” in the January 2012 Griffith Observer!
Alexander Falk, adventure cinematographer, travels the world in search of unique imagery.
His Discovery, Travel Channel, National Geographic and independent projects have taken him through 19 countries and
into some of the most remote and difficult locations on the planet.
He has filmed in native villages across Alaska, followed cartel violence in Tijuana,
trekked into the Amazon rainforest, camped on sea ice in the Arctic,
and worked inside both the Vatican and the Nana Plaza red-light district in Bangkok.
He has also climbed many many stairs with lots of heavy camera equipment.
Recently, the National Geographic project "Polar Bears 3D - Ice Bear" won a Canadian Academy Award for cinematography.
Alex shares this award with several other cameramen and guides,
all of whom went to extreme lengths to capture rare summer time Polar Bear behavior in 3D.
Currently, you can see Alex's work on "Armed and Ready," a Travel Channel series featuring author,
photographer and thrill seeker, Kevin Michael Connolly.
Together, Kevin, Alex and the crew trained with Army Rangers and NASA Astronauts, learned to joust,
and skateboarded down Mauna Kea, among other things.
Kevin Connolly was born without legs, a "sporadic birth defect" which doesn't seem to slow him down in the least.
In fact, keeping up with him was a constant challenge!
Last summer, Alexander Falk, director Adam Ravetch and guide
David Ried spent several weeks above the arctic circle working on a new project;
filming the mysterious and elusive Narwhal.
Share this journey and others through footage and behind the scenes photography!