Boat inflated to the air, to go on the water before diving below.
Zozo | Zod | Boudin | Inflatable boat | Dinghy | Annex
Popularized by Bombard (Alain) in 1952 during its solo crossing of the Atlantic in 65 days, the Zodiac was then called a "Bombard", produced by the company Zodiaque. But there was a Bombard brand, too… We don't understand a thing! In short. Not a diver today who is not familiar with these inflatable and “unsinkable” boats: they are literally part of the scenery. Without forgetting the large soup mixer at the back, ideal for cutting into slices of your choice: manatees, turtles or divers wishing to regain the surface, insofar as they are in apnea for too long…
Now is the time for personal anecdotes. Damn! What to say about an inflatable boat, sitting on the wind? But if, precisely, let's talk about redundancy… The tires are made up of 3 or 4 independent tubes, which makes the boat almost unsinkable, so be it. But what about the engine? Those shiny crap that costs an arm (if you put it in the water) and that's essentially broken down? 2 stroke, 4 stroke, thousand strokes, all brands combined: the same crap! And playing the spark plug wrench in the middle of the gear dancing by force 5, in the puddles of oil and gasoline is always a painful test for the nerves… So today, the “zods” of the pros are equipped with two engines!
And what about the start, to pull like a madman on the cord while waiting for an improbable hiccup?
In just one summer, we had the left arm of a fiddler crab! The oldest remember that we then had collar buoys “Fenzy”Weighed down from an inflation bottle that tossed around the navel. Inevitably, at the end of the launcher's stroke, a finger was torn off the notched taps of the said bottle. Moment ofapnea ... Variation: the undercut of the unattached buoy, to keep a little freedom of movement, a nasty look at the launcher held well in hand, a deep breath and in a single long cry, we tiiiire ... Carried by the movement, the buoy then swivels around the neck and the bottle arrives at full speed in the face of the diver to your left. This is how I practically knocked out one of my trainees, leaning with concern over my unsuccessful attempts ...
At the time, during the summer months, we took care of a small diving club in the northern Finistère. With a converted 14m trawler, we were going to dive “offshore” with all kinds of clients, most of them lost in this distant province (GPS did not yet exist). This is how we took on board a diver of Asian origin who was already visibly suffering from the cold. Even in July, the Britain is not given to everyone. He must have been a lagoon diver because, from the first laps, he was pulling on the green. Fully equipped but shivering patiently, between two spasms, he was a little pitiful. Once on site, the tender is launched, on the port side. A few more maneuvers and suddenly a loud noise is heard. In a daze, thinking that these changes in engine speed were the signal to launch, the guy had tilted back to escape seasickness! It had been found on the cross, on the floor of the zodiac, 3 m below… Unsinkable!
Semi-rigid, semi-soft hull, there are many variations for this type of boat. But Cousteau wanted the biggest! The 10 december 1960, in the port of Monaco was baptized “theAmphitrite“, The largest inflatable boat in the world co-produced by the company Zodiac, Cousteau and the National Geographic Society. The beast measured 19,5 m and was propelled by 8 engines. But no one knows what happened to this machine ...
See you soon for a new definition of Scuba Bécédaire. The irreverent lexicon of diving, but not only. Because sometimes ...
Francis Le Guen
A look back at Alain Bombard's adventure… It had to be done!