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T alk with just about any scuba diver of Baby Boomer age, and three names eventually come up: Jacques Cousteau, Mike Nelson and Phil Sammet. Cousteau, of course, produced "The Silent World," a 1950s book and film that introduced the undersea world to land-locked souls everywhere. He dedicated his life to research into and education about the fragile ocean environments. Mike Nelson was the hero of "Sea Hunt," a popular half-hour action television series that ran from 1958 to 1961, featuring the escapades of a freelance scuba diver. Monterey's Phil Sammet combines Cou- steau's passion for the marine environment and desire to alert the world to its fragility with the adventurousness of Nelson, and stirs in an entrepreneurial spirit that has enabled him to earn his living doing what he loves doing the best: diving and helping others to dive. Sammet owns and operates Underwater Company, a charter business that uses two boats to transport whale watchers and divers both professional and recreational to various locations of the Monterey Bay region. Growing up in Menlo Park, Sammet was influenced by both Cousteau and Nelson, perhaps more so by the former. "I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau," he says. Arriving in Monterey area in 1987, he set about doing just that, learning the waters by crewing on recreational dive boats such as the Silver Prince and eventually becoming captain of the Cypress Sea. He's also worked on local research vessels, such as those operated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing. Along the way, he gained an intimate— one might say "in depth"—knowledge of the waters that surround the Monterey Peninsula. "Phil is the best dive boat captain they've ever had there," says his friend, research scientist and 116 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 6 (top) Sammet holds an eight-foot Caribbean shark. (bottom) Sea Nettles in Carmel Bay. (right) In the Icy Straits of Alaska, Stellar Sea Lions can grow to huge pro- portions. Weighing nearly a ton, this example is 9½ feet long. Photo: Phil Sammet Photo: Pia Venegaf

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