Bronson Hartley was first worldwide to conduct shallow water helmet diving boat tours.
On his first boat tour, he took five school teachers, one at a time, (as he only had two helmets), and charged them five dollars each. There is no Sea Trek in Bermuda. Every Sea Walker or Sea Trek is a franchised copy of what originated here in Bermuda. Only the method of diving was copied and not the mindset. This was not the mind set of ‘take only photos and leave only bubbles. His free thinking mindset was to make friends with marine creatures. By feeding them, you could eventually touch them and then even get photos while holding them. Most of the species of fish we have today in our program had already been tamed and trained by my father before I was born. Now instead of Helen the angelfish, we have Diana the angelfish. Instead of Theodore the hogfish, we have Charles the hogfish. Get it…..Charles and Diana. The junior league started independently in the early 80’s back when that royal wedding took place. Our blue stripped grunt is still named George in honor of the original one.
Bronson Hartley who made his own helmet and pumps., was a protoge of Dr. William Beebe and a contemporary of Jacques Cousteau.
He operated his helmet diving business in Flatts Village at the Coral Island Hotel every summer, and in Nassau, Bahamas every winter till 1996. By taking thousands of ordinary visitors and locals on his undersea walks, to meet and feed the fish, he participated significantly in the development of Bermuda’s tourism.His ability to tame and train fish and other creatures in their natural environment has been acclaimed in many publications over the years.Husband, father, environmentalist, captain, inventor, war hero, photographer, fish whisperer, and diver… Bronson Hartley was truly an asset to Bermuda.Many of his adventures from his arrival in Bermuda in 1930, at age ten, till his departure from the planet in 2006 are detailed below.
In 1964, while the parents were in Bermuda operating the summer diving, Hurricane Betsy tore thorough Hatchet Bay, Eluthera and destroyed her. Our father and stepmother then bought a 63' Huckins and life still went on. The kids each had a bunk on top of the gasoline...read more
In 1947 Bronson first laid eyes on model and Cuban firecracker Martica. In those days polite gentlemen did not just walk up to a sophisticated socialite and try and 'hit' on them. The only problem is that their only mutual friend wanted this exotic beauty for himself....read more
The details of life in Brooklyn are scant. His father, Dr. Frank Ende taught him much about nature. They had bees and ants in glass colonies to see the action. Frank Ende was first generation American, with both parents being born in Germany. He enlisted in the World...read more
Before I was born, my father and his first wife, Cuban born Martica, made the first full length undersea movie ever shot on Kodak film. Bronson made his own undersea housings and acted as director and producer, with Martica as the protagonist and star. It was a...read more
After serving in the US army as captain of the air sea rescue boat, with numerous heroics, he decided to turn his hobby into his vocation. Check out his honorary mention here On his first professional diving trip in 1947, he took five schoolteachers, one at a time,...read more