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Dan Scott Taylor, Jr. : Obituary
by Loren Coleman

Dan Taylor died last Saturday (July 23, 2005) due to complications from surgery. His webmaster posted something quietly respectful up on the expedition page--

Remembering Dan Taylor, Captain of the 1969 Loch Ness Minisub (1940-2005)
Some thoughts from Loren Coleman

In 1998, Dan invited me to take a ride in his minisub, to join him to dive down into Loch Ness. After he shared with me stories that he'd never told the media, of how in 1969, the hatch leaked and he had to take an umbrella abroad to keep dry, I thought, whoa, this could be quite an adventure.

In 1998, I was his first pick, he said, to come on board, and he named me the project's "Mission Cryptozoologist." But Dan had his troubles with money and local politics and such. He never made the 1999 trip, and moved on to other "mission cryptozoologists." However the brief overlapping of our lives allowed me to get to know Dan rather well. I went on with my two sons to Loch Ness in 1999, for a two-week surface search, a talk, and good meetings with Robert Rines, Gary Campbell, Dick Raynor, Adrian Shine, and others. Dan stayed home, and worked on his dreams. I'm sorry he never made it back to the Loch.

Here's my unedited entry, the one I wrote about Dan, for Cryptozoology A to Z, in 1999:
The waters calmed, the surface appeared as a finely polished mirror, and the wait was finally over for the man in the yellow submarine. The sponsor, World Book Encyclopedia, had wanted this moment to take place for months. The year was 1969, and Dan Scott Taylor, Jr., in a one-person minisub he personally built, amid terrific fanfare, was diving to the bottom of Loch Ness. Down and down Taylor sank. Finally on one of his last dives, Taylor was bumped by what he believes must have been Nessie. As he gave chase, Taylor clocked the beast at about 14 knots. But the minisub was too slow, and ever after he was haunted by a sense of failure.

Late in September 1998 Taylor announced his intention to return to Loch Ness. As J.R. Moehringer of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Dan Taylor wakes up two hours before dawn and stares at the dark, thinking about the monster. When the swirling sky above the ocean looks like the creamy frosting on a birthday cake, the clouds like pink roses, he brews a pot of coffee and wakes Margaret, his wife of 22 years, and together they sit by the window, watching the sun rise and talking about the monster."

As Moehringer, a continent away from the Carolinian Taylor, would observe about this man who is building a new vessel for his quest: "Something in him needs that monster."

Taylor learned about submarines as a crew member in the Navy and about building them at Georgia Tech. He built the original "yellow submarine" to seek the Monster in that 1969 expedition headed by University of Chicago biologist Roy Mackal, and is now building a four man sub to "finish the job he set out to do in '69." He calls his new expedition the Nessa Project.

The Nessa, as the submarine will be christened, takes its name from the Gaelic Goddess of Water, Nessa, after whom the River Ness, Loch Ness, and the monster, Nessie, were named. The Nessa Project plans to launch the minisub in June 1999. The Nessa Project, by then perhaps the Nessa Expedition will attempt to return with film, sonar, and tissue sample proof of the creatures' existence.

In 1969 Taylor operated his one-man sub, the Viperfish, in the murky waters of Loch Ness. Taylor soon discovered, despite hints of a couple intriguing encounters, that this earlier sub was too small and too slow and lacked the battery capacity to complete the mission. Taylor hopes to have more success with the Nessa, a larger, more mobile, swifter underwater craft.

Taylor has sold his house, already sunk a quarter of a million dollars into the new sub, and has been busy working on completing the construction. It will be 40 feet long, 30 tons, with a 500-horsepower motor pulled from a locomotive, which will help him reach speeds of 20 knots or about 23 miles an hour. "It'll sound like a freight train a-comin'," Taylor says. "But it'll move like a freight train, too! This thing is going to be a cross between a research submarine and a locomotive, because that's what it will take."

The Nessa is set to be a stable and sturdy minisub with an overall length will be about forty two feet. Her batteries must be charged in port and a charge will give her about ten hours down at two knots or twenty knots for a little over twenty minutes. Taylor has spent $250,000 to produce the painted steel cylinders that are its backbone. He will need several hundred thousand more to finish equipping the sub, get it to Scotland and spend several months there, but he is optimistic about finding a sponsor. He estimates he will sink $1 million into the project by the time he is done.

Copyright Loren Coleman 1999

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