No list ever made will receive unanimous applause and agreement; Even toothpaste usually gets only 4 out of 5 dentists to agree, but while you are practicing social distancing and staying safe, these five diving-related books are excellent ways to pass the time.
They cover everything from freediving to technical diving but are ALL written so that the average person, diver or non-diver, can enjoy them. They were not chosen based on their technical depth as much as their story and readability. They are all books I have read and are a great way to fill a rainy day or surface interval.
When putting this list together, I wanted it to include books readily available in either electronic or trade paperback format. All of these books can be located on Amazon. I have indicated where they are available on Amazon Kindle. There are other online retailers that may source these books, and your local library may have them as well. I have NOT included pricing, because that varies greatly from one place to the next, but all are reasonably priced on Amazon, or in many cases free if you have Kindle Unlimited.
In no particular order, here is my list of great reads for divers and non-divers alike!
“Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver” by Jill Heinerth. There are few divers that have not heard of Jill Heinerth or seen her outstanding images from some of the most remote places on our planet. Jill is the first person in history to dive deep into an Antarctic iceberg and she led a team that discovered the ancient watery remains of Mayan civilizations. Jill has descended farther into the inner depths of our planet than any other woman. “Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver” is a fabulously detailed account of this intrepid explorer’s life and adventures. It features a prominent place on my personal bookshelf, and should on yours as well!
“One Breath: Freediving, Death, and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits” by Adam Skolnick, is a serious study of one of the great lights of the competitive freediving world. American freediver Nick Mevoli arrived at Vertical Blue in 2013, the world’s premier freediving competition, where he was widely expected to challenge records and continue his meteoric rise in the world of freediving. Tragically, Nick died in the competition, sending shock waves through the freediving community and devastating his friends, colleagues and family.
The author takes a close look at the star, the events leading up to the tragedy and the aftermath of this tragic incident. “One Breath: Freediving, Death, and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits” makes for riveting reading and the story gives a great deal of insight into the world of competitive freediving.
“Shadow Divers”, by Robert Kurson, tells the tale of one of the greatest wreck diving teams and their 6-year quest to locate and penetrate a sunken WWII German U-Boat off the US coast. The story of Richie Kohler and John Chatterton is a modern-day epic, reminiscent of John Krakauer’s riveting “Into Thin Air” (a great read for the mountaineering fans out there).
In “Shadow Divers” we find a book that is thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of “Shadow Divers” often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down.
“The Helldivers’ Rodeo: A Deadly, Extreme, Scuba-Diving, Spear Fishing Adventure Amid the Offshore Oil-Platforms in the Murky Waters of the Gulf of Mexico” by Humberto Fontova, wins the prize for the longest book title ever. This rollicking read is not going to win a Pulitzer Prize in Literature, but it is an incredibly fascinating glimpse into the “rock and roll” bad boys of the briny Gulf. Chronicling the adventures and exploits of the intrepid souls who specialize in freediving, scuba diving and spearfishing the deep-water oil platforms that dot the Gulf of Mexico, this is the tale of some seriously big fish and the brave divers who pursue them on the ragged edge.
“Deep Shadow” (The Deep Series Book 1), by author Nick Sullivan, is a great read for fans of mysteries and misadventures. Set in the Caribbean dive paradise of Bonaire, the fictional hero is dive-master Boone Fischer, who stumbles upon a mystery in the beautiful, blue depths. Action, adventure, diving, and a little romance combine to make a quite passable story. The first of three books, this is escapist fiction at it’s best, with a diving twist and just enough description to make one dream of their next dive trip to the Caribbean!
Well, I hope that you all enjoy one, some, or all of these books in the coming days. Stay safe and Happy Diving (into the books)!