The passing of Richard Adcock

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Posted by Fred Metcalf on September 20, 2012 at 07:38:37:

It is with sadness I have to report the passing of Richard Adcock. Richard was an occasional contributor to this message board and, together with his wife Mary Lou, operated a series of well-known dive boats out of La Paz, as well as the Aquamarina RV Park.

Richard died on September 14 following some months of illness. While he had traveled to Tucson for medical help in April, it was to his beloved La Paz that he quickly returned to spend his remaining months where he could see the grounds where he and Mary Lou had built their retirement home, and enjoy the company of many who had worked with him over many years.

Richard had a long and eventful life. He joined the US Navy in 1942 and was sent off to the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. In those war years the program was accelerated and, in early 1944, Richard graduated at the top of his class. He was immediately shipped off to England to help direct the loading of the ships being prepared for the Normandy invasion. The last months of the war for Richard were spent in the Pacific theater.

While working for the Bank of America in the mid-1950s, Richard was sent to La Paz on more than one occasion. It was then that he discovered the place that would soon become his home for the rest of his life. Richard recognized a problem in La Paz for which he could envision a solution: transporting bales of cotton from La Paz to ocean-going ships. The cotton was transported to La Paz from surrounding areas, and then had to be ferried out to large ships by panga. The ships could not enter the harbor in La Paz due to depth issues, and the pangas could not carry more than a one or two bales of cotton at a time.

Richard's solution was to use landing craft to ferry the bales out to the ships. It would be easy to load the landing craft off the beach, and many bales could be carried in one load. Together with his friend Walt Seymour, Richard hired a small tug to pull a string of seven World War II surplus landing craft to La Paz in 1956. While the landing craft never were used in the transportation of cotton due to a dramatic change in the cotton market, there were two momentous events which followed. The first was meeting the woman who would become his wife and loving companion for the rest of his life, Maria Louisa (Mary Lou), a stewardess for Mar de Cortez Airlines. Secondly, after selling most of the landing craft, Richard began running dive trips out of La Paz using one of his remaining craft.

Richard and Mary Lou formed La Paz Diving Service and, over a period of more than 45 years, operated very popular trips for divers. Following a sequence of landing craft of increasing size, Richard and Mary Lou acquired the US Coast Guard buoy tender "Columbine" in a surplus sale. The ship was modified to serve as a live-aboard dive boat, and renamed "Marisla II". (The well-known seamount to the NE of the La Paz peninsula is often referred to as the Marisla Seamount since Richard, together with one other diver, was the first to dive that seamount (known for the large number of hammerhead sharks frequenting the seamount).)

In 1988, anticipating a time when they would retire from the business of running dive trips, Richard and Mary Lou opened the Aquamarina RV Park, located on property they had acquired over many years. The RV park became very popular and, as commented on by many RV'ers, was the best RV park in Baja California. Following the sale of some of their property, Richard and Mary Lou closed the RV park in 2005 and truly retired. In 2009, Richard and Mary Lou traveled to the Merchant Marine Academy for his 65th reunion.

On the Tales of Baja pages, the story "Wreck of the Salvatierra" contains a few photos of the Marisla II being used to raise trucks from the sunken ferry.

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