Beneath The Sea Celebrates Barry Clifford | Sport Diver

Beneath The Sea Celebrates Barry Clifford

Barry Clifford comes to Beneath the Sea through the good auspices of the American dive equipment manufacturer Dacor. Dacor and Barry Clifford go back over 20 years as Dacor supplied scuba equipment to the Clifford crew. Why? Because few other underwater projects better demonstrate product performance than the search for lost shipwrecks in extreme conditions. But Clifford represents more than only a typical product spokesperson. His deep love of the ocean, and his work to recover the past through undersea exploration, sparks the imagination of schoolchildren throughout the U.S., and reminds adults of the adventures to be found in underwater discovery.

Listen to Dacor president Carlo Bertozzi on the subject, "Barry Clifford excites children in a way video games or the latest Hollywood blockbuster cannot. He brings history to life, extending education well beyond the classroom. Barry Clifford is making diving and snorkeling exciting again."

Barry Clifford, A Life of Exploration

The oldest of four children raised by his father, Robert, and his mother, Shirley Clifford worked as a lifeguard, teacher and football coach before starting his own salvage-diving business in the mid-'70s.

Between 1974 and 1984, Clifford organized, directed and conducted dive-related work such as underwater construction, oil-spill control and other salvage operations, including the salvage of the M.V. Islander ferry in 1980. During this period, he also utilized historical research, remote-sensing techniques, and underwater surveys to locate numerous shipwrecks around Cape Cod and the Islands - including the Benedict Arnold, the first Revolutionary War-era privateer ever discovered.

In 1984, after several years of exhaustive research and exploration, Clifford made world headlines with his discovery of the first authenticated pirate shipwreck - The Whydah Galley. With the recovery and study of over 100,000 artifacts to date, this on-going project has been described as "a model for private archaeology" and has completely revised our understanding of pirates.

In 1987, he developed plans for a project that resulted in the discovery of seven 17th- and 18th- century shipwrecks at Bassas de Indies Atoll (Indian Ocean).

Between 1986 and 1989, over 20 wrecks were discovered in the course of survey work at "Hell-Gate" in New York's East River. In 1988, one of his survey teams - in association with Cornell University - discovered the sunken Classical Age city of Eliki in the Bay of Corinth, Greece.

In 1989, the Project Team located an undredged site in Boston's inner harbor with several shipwrecks - and other historically significant submerged cultural material - associated with the Boston Tea Party and the evacuation of Boston during the American Revolution. In the winter of 1990-1991, the Project Team conducted extensive underwater surveys for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for shipwreck sites of potential historical significance located in over 130-ft. depths in Boston's Outer Harbor.

Barry Clifford was also involved in the discovery of numerous airplanes in the Solomon Islands, Lake Washington and Lake Michigan from 1990 to 1992. Between 1991 and 1994, several expeditions were mounted to Panama and Belize that likewise resulted in the discovery of a number of shipwrecks.

Between 1993 and 1996, he directed an intensive underwater survey and ROV examination - in conjunction with Discovery Channel and the BBC, Bentech, British Gas, the Royal Navy, and HRM Prince Andrew - for The Blessing of Burnt Island that sank in 1633 with the royal silver of King Charles I. Later in 1996, Clifford conducted survey operations for historical shipwrecks off the coast of Virginia on behalf of Sea Hunt, Inc. - resulting in the discovery of a wreck believed to be the Spanish treasure galleon Juno.

In 1998, Clifford led two expeditions to the Isle of Aves off the northern coast of Venezuela where 11 late 17th-century wreck sites - including two pirate shipwrecks - were discovered and surveyed. Known as "The Lost Fleet," these vessels had been wrecked in a little-known 1678 catastrophe that permanently shattered French naval power in the Caribbean, thereby altering the course of world history.

The Project Team completed three major expeditions to Ile Ste. Marie off the coast of Madagascar during 1999 and 2000 where the pirate shipwrecks Adventure Galley (commandeered by the infamous Captain William Kidd) and The Dragon (commanded by William "Billy One-Hand" Condon) were discovered. Three other shipwreck sites were located which have been tentatively identified as the Rupparrel, the Mocha Frigate, and The New Soldado. After discovering and decoding Masonic symbols and other rock carvings, Barry Clifford then used ground-penetrating radar to explore an apparent tunnel complex at Ste. Marie, similar to the Oak Island "Money Pit," which may have been constructed by 17th-century pirates.

Clifford is currently directing a project on the Uruguayan coast of the Rio de la Plata to locate, identify and recover a number of important 18th-century Spanish shipwrecks - the most notable of which was carrying confiscated religious artifacts andtreasure of "The Jesus Priest Company"- the Jesuits - upon their expulsion from Latin America.

With his background as a teacher, Barry Clifford has always sought to emphasize the educational aspects of his work. Recovered artifacts are not sold, but are carefully conserved at his projects laboratory in Brewster, Mass. Thereafter, they take their place either at Expedition Whydah Sea Lab & Learning Center, Clifford's museum in Provincetown, Mass., or else become a part of a traveling exhibit that has visited such venues as The City Arts Center in Edinburgh, Scotland, The Uber-See Museum in Bremen Germany, and The Old State House Museum in Boston.

Expedition Whydah Sea Lab & Learning Center has, in particular, proved to be a unique showcase for what underwater exploration can accomplish through careful historical and scientific research. This popular facility was recently the only maritime museum featured by The New York Times in their 2002 "Special Museums Section," and Clifford's work has been featured twice on the front page of The New York Times' Science section-as well as other national media, especially National Geographic and The Discovery Channel.

Now 56, Clifford is the author of three books: The Pirate Prince (Prentice Hall/Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993); Expedition Whydah (Harper Collins, 1999); and The Lost Fleet (scheduled for release by Harper Collins/William Morrow in late July 2002). He is presently working on a fourth book (Harper Collins/William Morrow, 2003), tentatively titled Return to Treasure Island about his explorations in Madagascar.

Clifford has conducted extensive fund-raising work on behalf of numerous public libraries, historical societies, schools, conservation groups and The Cancer Society. He is founder of Expedition Medical Relief - which directs medical aid to citizens in selected areas lacking in medical care. For further project information: see www.whydah.com

Clifford's life is the inspiration for the new television series, Adventure Inc. This exciting adventure show, coming this fall, stars Michael Biehn (The Terminator, The Abyss, Aliens), and details the exploits of legendary explorer Judson Cross. Cross enjoys a worldwide reputation as a leader of a highly talented team willing to take extraordinary risks and go to any length for the sheer pursuit of adventure aboard the Vast Explorer. Adventure Inc. is being produced in association with Fireworks Entertainment and Tribune Entertainment and premieres October 2002. Jay Firestone and Adam Haight serve as Executive Producers (Mutant X, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, The Believer) and Gale Anne Hurd, (Armageddon, The Terminator, The Abyss) is Executive Producing for Tribune Entertainment.

Together, Barry Clifford and Dacor increase the world's knowledge of what lies Beneath the Sea.

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