Carl Roessler never knew he would become a pioneer in international dive travel until fifteen years after he began his business career.
Carl worked for General Electric and IBM after graduating from Yale University. His work at IBM included being IBM’s representative serving Yale University, a major client. That assignment led to his appointment in 1964 as Director of Computation at Yale.
As Director, Carl managed the university’s computer utility, a large network offering access to a supercomputer for researchers across the campus. He also led a design team to develop a pioneering management information system for budgeting, accounting and personnel records for the institution. IBM purchased that original system from Yale, and much of what corporations use today to run their management operations originated in that era, building off Yale’s and similar systems.
After five years building strong management teams to run the university’s computer centers, Carl realized a long-held dream and moved with his wife and children to the Caribbean islands of Curacao and Bonaire. During 1969-72, Carl hosted dive groups organized by See & Sea Travel, Inc. of San Francisco.
In 1972, Carl was approached by Dewey Bergman of See & Sea to forsake the Caribbean and travel the world. For the next twenty-five years, Carl organized permanent dive programs in over thirty of what are now the world’s best-loved dive destinations. After Dewey Bergman’s retirement in 1977, Carl became president of See & Sea, the world’s first and largest travel agency exclusively devoted to dive travel.
In his long career in dive travel, Carl was the leading marketer and popularizer of expeditionary live-aboard dive cruisers that offered good food and comfort while maximizing diving opportunities on remote reefs far from hotels, airports and population centers. Carl’s favorite dive sites were often hundreds of miles from any shore base. Dive travel was a small industry in those early days, so the vessels Carl used were former fishing boats, motor-sailors, or whatever kind of ship could transport the divers and their equipment to the remote areas they explored. While some of the vessels were a bit primitive, it was truly a Golden Age of diving exploration!
Today’s world-wide fleet of large, luxurious dive cruisers developed from those modest origins, and live-aboard diving is now a significant portion of the overall dive travel market.
Beginning in 1967, Carl began taking underwater pictures during his overseas dive trips. Gradually he amassed an enormous collection of images from all around the tropical world. Hundreds of his photos and articles have appeared in major magazines and textbooks in the U.S. and Europe. His specialties are fish portraits, model photos and especially sharks during their feeding. His photo of an attacking Great White shark was used by Apple’s Steve Jobs in a speech in 1997, and the final scenes in the 2015 movie Steve Jobs
re-created that moment.
Carl’s 1977 book The Underwater Wilderness was a best-seller, and an alternate selection of the Book-of the-Month Club in 1977. In 1984, three of Carl’s books (The Undersea Predators, Mastering Underwater Photography and Divers Guide to the Cayman Islands) were published to rave reviews. In 1986 Carl’s book, Coral Kingdoms, published by Harry N. Abrams Co. of New York, was his second Book-of-the Month Club selection. 1991 saw the publication of Carl’s Diver’s Guide to Australia, and 1992’s book was Great Reefs of the World. Throughout the years, Carl has also run an active business selling his images to magazines, book publishers and stock photo companies.
Carl’s adventures over the past three decades have brought the very first American divers or live-aboard programs to such well-known places as the Cayman Islands, Belize, The Galapagos, Socorro, Australia’s Coral Sea, Fiji, Jordan, the Sudan, Ethiopia, the Maldives, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Palau, Truk Lagoon and Malpelo, as well as the great white shark and whale shark diving adventures that are now so popular. Many divers have experienced their very first shark encounters on live-aboard programs Carl offered through See & Sea.
After twenty-five years running See & Sea Travel, Inc., Carl retired from diving travel to pursue other photographic subjects, including videography using drones.
During the past several years, Carl has served on the Board of Directors of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame
and the Historical Diving Society
. Having completed those terms in office, he now has been named to the Historical Diving Society’s Board of Advisors
Carl was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame on January 25, 2007.
On October 23, 2008, Carl was honored by a NOGI Award
from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences.
In August of 2011, The Government of Bonaire in the Caribbean awarded Carl its Lifetime Achievement Award.
On March 23, 2013, Carl was named Diver of the Year of the annual Beneath the Sea Show in the Meadowlands just outside New York City.