Martha’s Vineyard’s Unsung Diving Hero


Langille with some of his valuable finds

Matthew Minich, Staff Writer

Chances are, if you are reading this, you have taken a trip to Martha’s Vineyard at some point in your life. If so, you have most likely visited the famous Jaws Bridge in Edgartown. The bridge, officially known as the American Legion Memorial Bridge, was featured in the 1975 Steven Spielberg classic, Jaws, which sparked a nationwide interest in sharks. This interest persists today, as hundreds of thousands of tourists jump the bridge every summer. 

However, a downside to this wonderful tradition is the multitude of people who lose valuable belongings by bridge-jumping. Many tourists drop items of high sentimental and financial value over the bridge railings, losing them forever. Thankfully, people like Conor Langille use their free time to dive and search for valuables that people have lost. 

Conor Langille is originally from Medford, MA, and resides on Martha’s Vineyard. During the summer of his sophomore year at the University of New Hampshire, Langille said he decided to visit friends in New England, one of whom “worked for a kayak tour company on Martha’s Vineyard.” While he had planned on staying for just a few days, he immediately fell in love with the island and decided he wanted to stay there for the rest of the summer. So, on a whim, he said he “packed up all his belongings into [his] trusty 1999 two-door Jeep Wrangler and put it on the ferry.” 

When Langille first moved to Martha’s Vineyard, his living conditions were not ideal. He lived on a blow-up mattress in the hallway of his friend’s four-person apartment. This, however, did not deter him from his love for the island. Shortly after, his friend left the island for family reasons, Langille ended up filling in for him as his replacement at Island Spirit Kayak. That summer was such a success for him that he “decided to return to ISK for summer 2015 and 2016 as well.”

During these two summers, Langille thrived. He began to take interest in diving and spearfishing. Langille described how “diving came about fairly organically starting with the inaugural jump off of Jaws Bridge,” and spearfishing quickly became a “delicious and money-friendly sport to get involved in.” What’s more, Langille was also thriving at work, and because of that, he felt a gear upgrade was in order. So, he traveled to the nearest shop, Vineyard Scuba, for a new pair of fins and goggles. 

When he walked into the store, Langille overheard the store owner on the phone with a person who had lost her GoPro earlier that day jumping off Jaws Bridge. Langille was intrigued, so he waited until the man got off the phone and walked over to ask him more about it. The store owner described “how frequent these calls were and how much of a hassle it was to pull out all of his scuba equipment to search for a lost GoPro.” Langille, fascinated by this, eagerly offered to help retrieve the GoPro if the store owner gave him a little kickback for his efforts. The store owner agreed, and off Langille went. 

Not only was Langille successful in finding the GoPro, but he also retrieved a myriad of other valuables. He wrapped up the day having found “three Apple watches, two GoPros, and a cell phone,” all still functional, believe it or not. 

For the rest of that summer, Langille “consistently went back to the shop to see if the store owner ever needed any more help.”  The store owner often did and generally gave him around $100 for his troubles.” 

Since then, Langille has returned to Martha’s Vineyard every summer to collect people’s lost goods for the past eight years. Throughout those years of diving, Langille has found “GoPros, iPhones, Androids, necklaces, rings, fishing lures, waterproof cameras, among an assortment of lesser valued items.” When he can’t find the item’s owner, he “either gives them away to friends or sells it for a quick buck on Craigslist,” being fully transparent about where he found the item in the first place. 

Conor Langille’s selfless and kind-hearted nature is an inspiration to us all. He explained, “I always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes and imagine what it would feel like to lose pictures of experiences with friends or loved ones.” It is that sense of compassion that motivates him. This remarkable act of kindness serves as an excellent reminder of the importance of caring for those around you, even those you don’t know personally. Langille said, “As long as people keep jumping off Jaws Bridge, I will be there to find their lost goods.”