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Neutral Buoyancy

What can I say? Will I ever be given a book to review about the underwater world that I don’t enjoy?

One of the many things I found most satisfying about reading this book was the fact that this author is so personal. Its not just about facts and figures, although there are many of them, it is about his personal goals, achievements, experiences and innermost thoughts.

This book is an amalgamation of autobiography and encyclopaedia; a beautiful mixture of one mans exploration of the underwater world that we know so well, or rather not.

For example, I didn’t know that if you take a sponge from the sea, use it over and over again, rip it up and throw it back, it will reform and start to grow again. I don’t know about you but I thought that was quite an amazing piece of information!

Mr Ecott entered the diving world whilst grieving over the death of his mother, searching for another world to submerse himself into; he definitely found the right one.

He shares, in real language with us, his first experiences, which are enlightening and refreshing and he is not afraid to whisper his most secret fears and sensitive moments in the water to us.

The way the book has been written seems to be in sequence: Information-experience-information-experience and so on. It’s lovely, because each of his new experiences is understood technically as well as emotionally and physically. I have read a few reviews about this book and the running theme seems to say that it is a revelation for non-divers, and also a reminder to divers of how beautiful the underwater world is, which will inevitably make you want to return. These views are not incorrect. As a diver, I found myself sucked in by the amount of information I had not yet learnt and inspired to book a diving holiday by his sheer eloquence in telling stories, of every kind of diving you could possible imagine. Free diving for example is a fascinating sport and one not many people know about, but something I personally would like to try. After reading of Ecott’s deep diving tales and his knowledge on the subject I am scared, but more eager to try it.

So many times I found myself with that "hair standing up on the back of the neck" feeling and wanted so much to share many of the stories immediately with people I had been diving with, to share the passages that we had felt and experienced but so rarely been able to put into words.

This is a love story with the sea. A book that brought me to tears a number of times, not just because I am a lightweight but because of the overwhelming affect the world of diving had on Tim Ecott and his openness to us as the reader. The history he covers, the parts of the world he has tasted and the numerous experts and every day people he has encountered. You can never know too much about the world we all want so much to fit into.

Buy it as a Christmas present for someone you have had an amazing buddy encounter with or just as a treat to give someone a different perspective – I will be.

Buy "Neutral Bouyancy" from Amazon

Hardcover – 352 pages (July 10, 2001)

Atlantic Monthly Pr; ISBN: 0871137941