Winter 2006 (14.4)
Perhaps Frenchman Jacques Cousteau
(1910-1997), the co-developer of the aqua-lung and producer of
a television series featuring underwater oceanic marvels, never
realized the impact his work would have inside the Soviet Union.
But Viktor Kvachidze, who organized the first underwater archaeology
expeditions in Azerbaijan in the Caspian in 1969, credits Cousteau.
Some serious diving was carried out from the 1970s to mid-1980s.
Unfortunately, since independence (late 1991), funds have dried
up. The passion is still there. Viktor shares his dream for the
program to get restarted. Page
||In Autumn 2004,
we met Norwegian Torgeir Higraff in Azerbaijan, leading some
university students from Norway on a hiking expedition in the
Caucasus. Never did we expect that his head was full of plans
to repeat the trip that Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) had made with
a balsa raft - the Kon-Tiki - across the Pacific in 1947. This
past summer, Higraff and five crewmembers, including Thor Heyerdahl's
own grandson Oleg, successfully completed their 4,000-mile journey.
Driven by curiosity and resolve, here's how they did it. Their
raft - the Tangaroa - will be the major exhibit in a new museum
being built in Heyerdahl's hometown Larvik. Page
||Maud Beck from
Houston, Texas, worked with UNOCAL in Baku from 1995 to 1999.
Her work there made her very conscious of the value of building
relationships regardless of cultural differences. These days
Maud stays connected to Azerbaijan by serving as a Board Member
of the Houston Baku Sister City Association (HBSCA). This organization
represents the oldest Sister City link between the U.S. and Azerbaijan.
Maud shares fascinating stories and photos of the first trip
in 1977 that was made to Baku by Douwe de Vries and his wife
Robbie of Houston 30 years ago. Page
grew up in Russia where she majored in medieval history. On her
honeymoon, she went scuba diving in Belize. "It was so beautiful
- those coral reefs at 200 feet visibility," she recalls.
But how to combine her old love for the Middle Ages with her
new passion for diving? Maritime archaeology studies seemed to
be the way. This past summer Zhenya flew to Baku from Alaska
in search of Viktor Kvachidze, organizer of the first underwater
archaeology expeditions in the Caspian. Here she writes her observations
about the current state of Underwater Archaeology in Azerbaijan.
is no stranger to our magazine. Since 2001 when she and her husband
Jim adopted two children from Baku, they have tried to foster
an awareness and appreciation in their children for the land
of their birth. Here Rachel and Lucas, now both 7, share what
is becoming a family tradition as they demonstrate how to grow
sprouted wheat or lentils known as "samani" - a symbol
of promise and hope - traditionally grown in Azerbaijan and countries
which celebrate Novruz - the First Day of Spring, March 21st.
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