RIP Bob Halstead

Image ©Julia Sumerling

RIP Bob Halstead by Douglas Seifert

It is with a heavy heart that we say farewell to our dear friend Bob Halstead, now at peace after a gruesome illness. Bob was one of the giants, one of the leading lights of the scuba diving and underwater photography world, pioneering scuba diving in Papua New Guinea with Dinah Halstead onboard the Telita in the 1980s and onwards.

He was the popularizer of, and the man who put a name to, muck diving, introducing visiting divers from around the world to rhinopias, pygmy seahorses, flamboyant cuttlefish, all manner of nudibranchs, octopus, cuttlefish, squid, crabs, and shrimp as well as finding some of the most stunning reefs in the world. I was fortunate enough to become one of his friends in 2002 when Mike Neumann chartered the Pelagian to dive around Papua New Guinea as a part of its circle Pacific tour.

We had many other dive trips afterward, but sadly I now realize not enough. Our last dive trip was with Dr. Eugenie Clark at Komodo where we photographed garden eels, sand divers and other fish for Genie’s research. Now the two of them are diving together in eternity. Our prayers go out to Bob’s wife Kirtley Leigh, his family Tii Halstead and Dinah Halstead, and the entire Papua New Guinea dive fraternity.

The diving world has suffered a tremendous loss of a great photographer, saxophonist and raconteur who was also a fine writer of very controversial articles addressing the issues of intelligence and responsibility in diving as well as highlighting environmental issues. He was a mentor, an inspiration and a force of nature. Bob had so many great friends in our small community and was so highly regarded that this loss seems especially painful. Wishing everyone courage in this sad time. This one hurts!

Image ©Tony Wu

Wetpixel has started a thread in the forum for those that would like to share memories, thoughts or images about Bob.

Image ©Julia Sumerling

Bob’s widow, Kirtley Leigh has added:

Dear loved family, friends, and colleagues,

My heart is heavy with grief over the loss of my beloved husband, my gorgeous Bob Halstead. I would like to share our Announcement with you today. Please share here and with loved ones not on FB. Please email rsvpBobHalstead@gmail.com if you would like to attend to be advised of the date in January and more details.

Bob Halstead on Wetpixel

All images ©Douglas Seifert except where noted.