RYDGIG, Robert

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Robert Rydgig on Anacapa Island

RYDGIG, Robert C. (1930-2007) suffered a heart attack and died at Anacapa Island while ascending the dock ladder after a SCUBA dive on August 16, 2007.

In the News~

February 1, 2006 [Pacific Explorer’s Dive Club Meeting Minutes]: “Guest Speaker: Bob Rydgig. A special thank you goes out to Bob Rydgig on his explosive presentation on Truk Lagoon. Bob Rydgig spoke about his experiences diving Truk Lagoon. He showed slides of his dives including removing depth charges in 1973 from a Japanese ship that was sunk in World War II. He returned again in 1988 for a recreational dive with his daughter and describes the changes he observed since his first visit to the lagoon.”

August 17, 2007 [VCS]: “A Ventura man who spent years educating others on the wonders of the Channel Islands died Wednesday after a scuba dive off Anacapa Island. Robert Rydgig, 77, suffered a massive heart attack while starting to climb a boat ladder about 2:20 p.m., according to Craig Stevens, a senior deputy Ventura County medical examiner. A kayak guide and National Park Service ranger did CPR on Rydgig in the water, but he was pronounced dead about an hour later. Rydgig had previous heart problems, and the dive did not have anything to do with the heart attack, Stevens said. For the past six years, Rydgig helped visitors understand and appreciate the natural beauty of the islands as a volunteer for the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps, said Yvonne Menard, Channel Islands National Park spokeswoman. Logging more than 1,500 hours of volunteer time, he went on whale-watching expeditions, explaining the life and characteristics of the massive mammals that migrate through the Santa Barbara Channel. "He cared deeply about protecting the environment, especially the marine environment," Menard said. Menard said Rydgig had an infectious interest and keen hunger for knowledge about the islands. "He was definitely a lifelong learner and just the sweetest, kindest person you'd ever encounter," she said. "He was a true ocean steward." ”

September 21, 2007 [CINMS AC Minutes]: “...Chris [Mobley] also explained that there was a memorial gathering for Bob Rydgig, a Sanctuary and Park volunteer who recently passed away while diving at Anacapa Island. The Park has planted an ironwood tree sapling in the garden at the Park visitor’s center in Bob’s name.”

August 2007 [blackcormorant.com]: “Bob Rydgig passed away on Aug 16, 2007 at the age of 77. He suffered a massive heart attack while ascending the dock ladder at Landing Cove on Anacapa, after a dive in the cove. Park rangers and the Coast Guard gave CPR and brought him to Ventura as quickly as possible, but he passed away before reaching the mainland. Bob was a familiar face on the Spectre, the Condor Express, and at Landing Cove. He was a dedicated volunteer as a naturalist and diver for the the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park. Bob had been diving in the Channel Islands for 50 years. He was one of the first NAUI instructors, and was among the first generation to explore the Channel Islands underwater using scuba. Bob also had a productive career as an engineer at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Lab. For NASA, he helped to set up the Deep Space Network, used to communicate with and track spacecraft beyond the distance of the Moon. His work took him to South Africa, to set up a tracking station at Hartebeesthoek, where he trained divers and became friends with many in the cave diving community. After his retirement, Bob continued to dive in the Channel Islands and in other spots around the world. He was a dedicated naturalist, and a truly remarkable underwater and topside photographer. He will be missed.”