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118 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 avant-garde musician Henry Kaiser. "He knows the Carmel and Monterey Bays better than any- one and is expert at giving divers a great expe- rience and getting them back safely." The two have had several Indiana-Jones-style adventures, including the time they shared a river pool with several Grizzly bears at Sweetheart Falls near Juneau, Alaska. "When they got agitated, we swam to the bottom and held our breath until they calmed down," Kaiser recalls. "He's a true water man, and that's a dying breed." Freelance photographer and cinematograph- er Chuck Davis has been working with Sammet for many years and shares Kaiser's view. "Phil is a really unique guy," he says. "You can't find a description for what he does. He invented himself." Part of what Sammet does is lead divers on tours up and down the West Coast of North America, from Alaska to Baja. But when he's home, he concentrates on the place on the Monterey Peninsula he perhaps loves the best: Point Lobos. "He has dived Point Lobos more than any- one," Davis says. In the three decades he's been plying these waters, Sammet has been a keen observer of the ravages that time has taken. "There have been big changes in the Bay in the past 30 years," he says. "I'm teaching people what's going on in their own backyard." "Phil is truly an ambassador for the undersea world," Davis adds. "Like many of us, he's seen these reefs become lesser forms of themselves, for various reasons. He helps people see below that liquid mirror that's usually hidden." Aside from the work he does, Sammet is uni- versally recognized as a man who lives his life to the fullest and gives as much—or more—to the world than he takes. He takes great pride in being a family man and in mentoring young people that want to learn about the oceans. And with his wry observations and quick wit, he's a lot of fun to be around. "My ribs hurt after a day on the water with him," Davis adds. No matter how many hours Sammet has spent above and below the water, every day is a new adventure, a new opportunity to learn about the environment he loves so much. "The ocean teaches you so much stuff," Kaiser says. "Because he's so open, he's learned a lot—and he loves showing what he's gained to others." Perhaps it was Cousteau himself who summed up the life's work of Phil Sammet when he said, "The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." Or maybe it was Lloyd Bridges, the actor who portrayed Mike Nelson: "Ya know, skin diving is fun and adventurous for young and old." To learn more about Phil Sammet or to book an exciting underwater adventure, please visit Scuba diving in close proximity to sharks is just another day at the office for Phil Sammet. He photographed this Carribean Reef shark during a 2015 Bahamas excursion. Photos: Phil Sammet A kelp scimitar is the algae's end point. It can grow two feet a day.

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