The Dive Sites of South Africa

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The Dive Sites of South Africa

The Dive Sites of South Africa – buy on Amazon

If you are going diving in South Africa this is one of the books to take. Clear descriptions of the dive sites, with what level of experience is necessary. Plenty of good maps, and some very good colour photo’s. Recommended.

Neutral Buoyancy by Tim Ecott

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Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid…

This book is one of the best books I have read for a long time. The Author relates a brief history of diving interspersed with some of his own underwater experiences.He manages to capture the almost mystical appeal of diving that many of us experience but can’t quite put into words. The book manages to be both uplifting and entertaining. Marvellous.

If you want to read an online interview with the author, go to

www.spikemagazine.com/0104timecott.php

 

HM Submarines in Camera, 1901-1996

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HM Submarines in Camera, 1901-1996

This book has masses of photos which you really can’t find elsewhere, plus a very authorative text by people who really know what they are talking about. Most of the photos are from the Royal Navy’s Submarine Museam, and with the text give good insights into how it all started and where its going.(nowhere if the politicians have their way)

 

Stoker’s Submarine

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Stoker’s Submarine

This is an amazing book about a forgotten British Submarine commander and an Australian sub which out did all the other subs in the Sea of Mamara during the First World War. You really could not make this up.Even if your not that interested in Submarine warfare give it a go as it is a ‘rattling good tale’

 

This Great Harbour, Scapa Flow.

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This Great Harbour Scapa Flow

This is a very authoritive book and tells the history of this once great Anchorage of the Royal Navy. It details all the defences, land sea and air, and of course tells the story of the sinking of the German High Seas Fleet.

It has masses of black and white photos and is nearly 400 pages long. A really interesting read.

Scapa Flow in War and Peace

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Scapa Flow in War and Peace

This book covers much the same ground as ‘This Great Harbour’ but not in as much detail, so its an easier read for some one who just wants to get a ‘feel’ for this area’s history. It has some good photo’s that are not in the other book, and its much easier to lug around. Recommended if you are going to visit.

Recommended Reading

There are numerous fascinating books about maritime history and scuba diving which are often overlooked or sadly out of print. Here is a growing selection of books I’ve personally enjoyed which you might find interesting to investigate yourself.

Neutral Buoyancy – Tim Ecott

Admiral Shovell’s Treasure and Shipwreck
in the Isles of Scilly-R.Larn & R.McBride

The Silent Service – John Parker

Scapa Flow In War And Peace-W.S.Hewison

This Great Harbour-W.S.Hewison

The Duchess-Pamela Eriksson

Stokers Submarine-Fred &Liz Brencley

The Wreck at Sharpnose Point – J.Seale

Business in Great Waters – John Terraine

Submarine in Camera – Hall & Kemp

Autumn of the Uboats – Geoff Jones

Under the Red Sea – Hans Hass

To Unplumbed Depths – Hans Hass

Goldfinger – Keith Jessop

Custom of the Sea – Niel Hanson

Stalin’s Gold – Barry Penrose

Pieces of Eight – Kip Wagner

The Man Who Bought a Navy – Gerald Bowman

The Treasure Divers – Kendall McDonald

The Deepest Days – Robert Stenhuit

The Wreck Hunters – Kendal McDonald

Sea Diver – Marion Clayton Link

The Other Titanic – Simon Martin

Falco,chief diver of the Calypso – Falco & Diole

World without Sun – J.Y.Cousteau

Ship of Gold – Gary Kinder

Seven Miles Down – Piccard & Dietz

The Lliving Sea – J.Y.Cousteau

The Undersea Adventure – Philip Diole

Life and Death in a Coral Sea – J.Y.Cousteau

Dolphins – J.Y.Cousteau

Whale – J.Y.Cousteau

Shark – J.Y.Cousteau

Sea Lion- Elephant Seal and Walrus – J.Y.Cousteau

Octopus and Squid – J.Y.Cousteau

Shadow Divers – Robert Kurson

A Time to Die, the story of the Kursk – R. Moore

The Sea Around Us – Rachel carson

 

The Wreck Hunters

This is not the cover, it wore out years ago, but the facing inside photo. Isn't it Great?

This is not the cover, it wore out years ago, but the facing inside photo. Isn’t it Great?

I bought this book in about 1968, long before I moved down to Devon.It documents loads of wrecks all along the south coast and Ireland. I was facinated by it, and later found and dived all the wrecks on my section of the coast. Its a cracking read and full of research material. Once again long out of print, but it is a must have book.

World Without Sun

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Lost the cover. This photo from the many in the book shows the Habitat with a sub docking.

This book is the one I love best after the Silent World because it shows Cousteau at his most imaginative. He was always convinced that one day man would colonise the ocean floor and this book charts his efforts. Its a stunning book with lots of great photos. But its the sheer enthusiasm and vision that really delights.I bought this in 1966 when I was 19 years old and its passion has never left me. Highly recommended, but uness they re release all his books, you will have to seach for it in second hand bookshops, or get it through Amazon.

The Whale

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Part of the series of six to match the TV series. This is my favorite.The 124 colour photo’s are great and give a great insight into this huge creature.

ISBN 0-304-29033-5

To Unplumbed Depths

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This book brings together lots of Hass’s earlier work, and is really a unique autobiography.Its starts in the waters of the Caribbean in 1939 and ends in the Maldives around 1970.

For all you people who think you have done it all, read this and weep.

ISBN 0-245-50946-1 Out of print

The Undersea Adventure

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Once again no cover. This book is another that I first bought when I was fifteen, and learning to dive under the West Pier at Brighton. First published in 1954 this book was translated from the French and is full of Diole’s trademark philosophy and romanticism.It’s about diving in its infancy with all the hope that it could bring.But its also about humanity, cooperation, learning to live in harmony. It is from a time when being at one with nature was seen as the highest of goals, and diving as almost spiritual. Don’t let all that stop you. Its a book well worth reading. Diole was revered in France but almost unknown over here. Recomended, but you will have to really search for it.

The Treasure Divers

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This is a great early book that interveaves historic times with specific wrecks. Its a good idea and works well. It covers all sorts of wrecks from the Mary Rose to the Association. I’m in in on page 103 when I helped to find more cannons from the Penlee cannon site, originally discoverd By Al Down and George Sanford.That was in 1968 so it wont come as any surprise that this book is out of print. Even so I have seen it in second hand bookshops. Well worth a read and great value as research material.

ISBN 0-7207-1048-0

Stalin’s Gold

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This book was written by the only journalist to go on the project. it gives another viewpoint from that of Kieth Jessop in his account ‘Goldfinger’, and the two should be read to get an overall picture of a fantastic bit of marine recovery.

ISBN 0-246-11778-8

Octopus and Squid

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Part of the series of six books. This one is very interesting. There is not a lot written about these animals, so its very informative. 124 colour photo’s. Great.

ISBN 0-304-29154-4

Ship of Gold

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In September 1857 the S.S. Central America carrying 500 passengers, many returning from the California goldrush, sank in a hurricanne 200 miles off the Carolina coast.No more was hear about the ship untill 198 when Tommy Thompson sailed into Norfolk Harbour with ten tons of gold. This book tells the story of how he found her. It could have been written a bit more entertainingly but even so its a gripping tale. Recommended.

ISBN 0-316-64714-4

The Shark

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This is another of the series of six books brought out to accompany the Famous TV series. Excellent, with many photo’s.

ISBN 0-304-93656-1

Shadow Divers

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This is a crackng book that charts the discovery of a hitherto unknown German Sub discovered off the New Jersey coast in 1991.The sub lay in 230 feet and resulted in six years of extremely dangerous diving on the edge of what is possible.

Nobody, either Government or Historians knew why the boat was there, but in the end the team piece together the intriguing story. The descriptions of the dives on this sub are spinetingling. I thought I had done some difficult diving, but these guys take it to a whole new level. Marvellous.

ISBN 0-340-82454-9

Seven Miles Down

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I have lost the cover of this book, so these are the first inside pages. The book charts the story of the Bathysphere Trieste which decended seven miles into the Chellenger Deep off Guam in 1960. As far as I know this has never been replicated

Later Picard used another sub in 1969 to chart the Gulf Stream. I actually met the man in the West Indies when I was on H.M.S. Rhyll. This is a facinating book of the beginning of ‘inner space’ exploration.

There is no ISBN.

Sea Diver

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This book is about Ed Link and his family’s extraordinary treasure hunt up and down the Florida coast and Bahamas. Link of course made his name as the inventor of the Link Trainer, in which thousands of wartime pilots were trained, and which was the fore runner of the modern flight simulators. I met Link in about 1969 when he was discovering the Pirate stronghold of Port Royal. I was a Royal Marine diver on a Frigate, and we got to spend some time helping. Nice man and really passionate about underwater archeology. Recomended, but out of print.Worth looking for.

The Sea Around Us

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When this book came out in the fifties it was an instant bestseller. Probably the first popular writer on what is now known as conservation, Rachel Carson lit a beacon that many have followed. Its as relevant today as when it was first printed.

Under The Red Sea

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I was in Florida in 1968, and everybody was talking about this fantastic find. Kip and his pals had found a Spanish treasure fleet between Cape Malabar and Hutchinson Island. They even found a $50000 necklace on the beach.Great photos, and a good lesson of how persitance pays off.

This book was published in 1966 so there is no ISBN.

Pieces of Eight

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I was in Florida in 1968, and everybody was talking about this fantastic find. Kip and his pals had found a Spanish treasure fleet between Cape Malabar and Hutchinson Island. They even found a $50000 necklace on the beach.Great photos, and a good lesson of how persitance pays off.

This book was published in 1966 so there is no ISBN.

The Other Titanic

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This is the story of the Oceanic, wrecked in 1914 off Shetland. She was even more luxurious than the Titanic, but she lay undiscovered for nearly sixty years untill two lads salvaged most of her using more or less stardard sport diving gear and an inflatable. Well she was mostly in 30 ft.Its an astonishing tale of what can be achieved if one is daft enough.

ISBN 0-7153-7755-8

The Living Sea

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This book followed the success of The Silent World and recounts his further adventures, especially the start of his project Conshelf, a underwater habitat. Interestingly, for all you Red Sea divers, there is a good account of a dive on the Thislegorm way back in 1960. Highly recomended.

A Time To Die

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This is a blow by blow account of the dreadfull Kursk isaster and its aftermath.Extremely well researched, with some great photo’s. Recommended

ISBN 0385-602650

Goldfinger

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Definately not the Bond book, but probably more fantastic.This is the true story of how Kieth Jessop and his team recovered over $100 million of Russian gold from the wreck of H.M.S.Ediburgh, and got cheated out of most of it. You couldn’t make this up. A must for any wreck diver.

Falco, chief diver of the Calyso

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Falco is one of the unsung hero’s in the Cousteau team. Basically the man who made it all work. In his spare time he liked to paint pictures underwater. made quite a name for himself. The experience that this man has is phenomenal and his tales of what he has seen and done are well worth any diver reading. Entertaining with many photos.

ISBN 0-304-29898-0

The Duchess

Pamela Eriksson was an extrordinary women. Daughter of the former South African Secretary for Defence, she was presented at Court and took a degree at Oxford. In her thirties she got fed up, worked her passage in a sailing ship, and ended up marrying the Captain of one of the most famous Clipper Ships in the world, the Hertzogin Cecillie.

The Duchess

The Duchess

This book is her account of her voyages in the ‘Duchess’, especially that fatefull day when the great ship ran acround on the Hamstone near Salcombe. You couldn’t make this up.

ISBN 952-5064-23-9 This version is a facsimile edition from the Alands Maratime Museum.

 

Dolphins

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Part of the series of six books to accompany the TV series.

105 photos. Great book with lots of stuff about their behaviour. This was pioneering stuff at the time.

ISBN 0-304-29486-1

The Deepest Days

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Robert Stenuit is something of a hero of mine because of his efforts to live in the sea. Back in the sixties this seemed an impossible dream and saturation diving had to be invented to cope with it all. Stenuit worked in an undersea house at 432 ft for 49hours a stupendous feat for those days and helped pioneer the way for the Sealab projects.It seems so old hat now but at the time it was more than cutting edge. I can remember being in the Bahamas when they did the World record for a scuba dive on air. It seemed amazing then but now its commonplace. Still, man never did live in the sea, but Stenuit tried harder than most.

His reward was years later when he discovered the Girona treasure ship off the Devils Causeway in N. Ireland.More on that later.

The Custom of the Sea

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This is a great read based on a true story. In 1884 the ship Mignonette set sail from Southampton bound for Sydney. The ship got wrecked, and the crew were cast adrift in a 13ft boat for 24 days with no food.When they were finally picked up they were in a dreadfull condition, but one of them was missing. The subsequent trial on their return held the whole nation, including Queen Victoria, spellbound.

Well recomended. If you get to meet the author as I did, he is a fund of great tales, so look out for his next one.

ISBN 0-385-60083-6

Life and Death in a Coral Sea

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Last in the seriers of six books and probably the most interesting. Cousteau and his team were some of the first conservationists. It was revolutionary stuff back then, and the TV series opened it up to millions. 122 colour photo’s.

ISBN 0-304-93743-6

The Man Who Bought a Navy

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When the Germans sank their fleet at Scapa Flow after the First War all the experts said that salvaging the ships was impossible. One man, Ernest Cox, disagreed and in 1924 he bought the entire fleet gambling his entire fortune on the collosal task of raising the fleet. Although he had never so much as salvaged a rowing boat, he suceeded beyond his wildest dreams.

This is just amazing. The man was a genius and used very unorthodox methods that achieved great results. The photos are excellent and the text dry and informative. If you have dived the wrecks in Scapa you will have some idea of this monumental achievement.

This book is a must have for a wreckie. Its out of print now but a facsimilie version is available.

 

Business in Great Waters: U-boat Wars,…

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Business in Great Waters: U-boat Wars,…

This is probably ‘the’ book about the role of the uboats, by one of Britains greatest maratime historians.The wealth of detail about the strategy and tactics employed during the Wars and the insight into those who made the decisions is both impressive and very readable. This is a great brick of a book but essessial reading.