Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of diving related books, DVDs and blu-ray discs

Off the Wall-Dive Tales: A Wall Is What Scuba Divers Dive On, and the Humor Is a Little Off the Wall [Hardcover]

Hilariously entertaining, interspersed with generous helpings of geography, history, anthropology and culture, this book takes us through an adventurous couple’s series of exciting journeys. Sue Webb shares how, strictly from loving sportsmanship, she first launches into vigorous training as one of a handful of cold water female divers. Her next twenty years bring her and spouse, Russ, to exotic lands resplendent with unforgettable beauty, endearing inhabitants, and customs. Her indomitable good nature regularly turns what others may consider major setbacks, into routine triumphs. Even mishaps such as apologetic air carriers’ misdirecting them to planes headed for unintended destinations become events laden with unexpected rewards. Her love of living things-mankind, nature and animals-shines throughout these pages, etching her diving experiences deeper into her readers’ hearts. By the time they’ve completed reading, laughing and learning, they’ll feel as though Sue Webb has been their travel companion, and buddy for years.

The Complete Diver: The History, Science and Practice of Scuba Diving [Paperback]

The Complete Diver: The History, Science and Practice of Scuba Diving is a comprehensive guide to the sport of recreational scuba diving. It is an important book not just for beginning divers and instructors but also for all who are interested in diving, marine science and ocean exploration. The Complete Diver chronicles a fascinating timeline of undersea exploration and examines the latest developments in technology that will allow man to probe deeper into the vast expanse of innerspace in the future. The Complete Diver includes chapters devoted to diving history, physics and physiology, diving medicine, health and safety practices for scuba divers, decompression theory and how to avoid the bends, diving techniques, and the future of diving. Author Alex Brylske, Ph.D., is the most published author in the field of recreational scuba diving, and one of the diving industry’s most influential voices. Throughout the 1980s, as Educational Program Development Manager for PADI, Alex designed and wrote many of the programs and materials used today around the world to train divers of all levels. He has been the senior editor of Dive Training magazine since 1991. In addition to his career as a writer and diving educator, Dr. Brylske is a Professor of Marine Science at Florida Keys Community College in Key West, Florida.

Amazing Diving Stories: Incredible Tales from Deep Beneath the Sea [Hardcover]

Product Description

A collection of thrilling diving stories.

There’s everything from classic tales of wreck discoveries to encounters with beautiful and bizarre creatures beneath the waves. There are stories of death and disaster as well as bravery and triumph. Each tale has been chosen to stoke the fire of divers everywhere and some are illustrated with colour photographs.

Take the plunge and read about the diver who discovered how to put sharks in a trance and the marine biologist who lost a limb trying to proving that sharks were safe to swim with. There’s the tale behind the Red Sea’s most famous wreck, as well the Titanic’s sister ship that keeps claiming divers’ lives. Read about the politician attacked by a turtle, the saltwater crocodile that lost a sub–aqua scuffle and the eel feeding frenzy that almost claimed a life.

The exciting and the extreme rub shoulders with more poetic pieces about the people and places that make up the folklore of this fascinating sport, and some are even brought to life by the author’s photography. This global tour takes you everywhere: from Indonesia to the Caribbean and from the chill waters of Northern Europe to the reefs of the Pacific. Stories of technical pioneers are accompanied by quirky tales of adventure beneath the waves.

Every ocean of the world is explored making this essential reading–or a wonderful gift–for divers everywhere.

The Scuba Snobs’ Guide to Diving Etiquette

Product Description

The Scuba Snobs’ Guide to Diving Etiquette is filled with humorous to hilarious stories illustrating the need for “rules” of etiquette for scuba divers, above and below the water. The tips for divers are spot on, the stories entertaining, and the net result is a delightful little read that anyone, not only divers, can enjoy. From packing to puking, swim wear to story telling, boats to buoyancy, the authors stories and rules illuminate every facet of diving and dive travel. This book is fresh, insightful, entertaining and not too long. And it is, in fact “Seriously Funny! and Mostly True!” just like the cover says.

Breatheology: The Art of Conscious Breathing [Perfect Paperback]


In Breatheology, Stig Avall Severinsen brings together medical science and ancient wisdom in a comprehensive study of the intricate art of breath control. Stig is uniquely qualified to write on this subject, as he holds a PhD in medicine, is a life-long student of yoga breathing techniques, and a world record holder in the esoteric sport of static apnea and breath hold diving, having held his breath underwater for more than 20 minutes. But though Breatheology offers the most concise and comprehensive descriptions of breath control and breath-holding exercises ever published, it is not just a text for aspiring free divers. As Stig convincingly demonstrates in his writings, breath awareness and control can have dramatic benefits in everyday life, influencing everything from stress management to weight loss and athletic performance. It is a must-read for anyone with a curiosity for the little-known techniques of human performance enhancement, or anyone who simply wishes to improve their own health and personal well-being. –Pierce Hoover founder of Sport Magazine

Those who breathe half, live half, it says on the cover of Stig Avall Severinsen’s newly published book “Breatheology The Art of Conscious Breathing”. And one is tempted to add: “What’s worth doing is worth doing right”. Stig’s book is an integrated book on a subject that Stig really is an expert on, namely to breathe and hold your breath. We know Stig as a fast-talking free-diver, and a man who engages passionately in his interests. He has certainly also been passionate with his new book. One might well have started such a review with the words: “First came the Bible, then the Koran and now “Breatheology”. To Stig, breathing is almost like a religion. A good, healthy breathing is good for anything, and the healing powers of breathing are almost unlimited. And this near-religious enthusiasm for breathing is brilliantly reflected in his book. Most of the points and statements are nicely backed by both scientific and practical experience. But it is not the book’s greatest force. Its biggest strength is that you can feel Stig’s uncompromising enthusiasm for belief in the ability of breathing to generate more energy and other healing properties. You want to join the club and become one of the disciples. You want to become better at using your own breathing. This book is not about free-diving, or about accomplishing top performances, nor about holding your breath beyond human limits. This book is about how we all can benefit by focusing on our breath in our daily life. The book is built up on a number of themes. Initially Stig describes how the life of modern man is stressful, and how breathing has become restless and in many cases is not being fully exploited. How good breathing is at reducing stress and creating energy, and how our fast and shallow breathing can have the opposite effect. The book thus begins with the “normality”, describing our bad breathing habits in everyday life. Thereafter, the book centres on 5 types of breathing, or perhaps 5 purposes of breathing: trained breathing, sustained breath, powerful breathing, therapeutic breathing and soothing breathing. As a reader, you can easily select the chapters and read them in the sequence you wish. But I recommend that you read the introductory chapters first. The book concludes with a chapter on first aid. It seems a little superficial but OK. After each chapter, Stig describes specific breathing exercises, finely illustrated with excellent drawings and pictures. This exercise catalogue is a real force of the book. There are exercises for different purposes ranging from very easy to really difficult. Exercises for everyone. The book is set-up nicely with lovely pictures and is printed in a good quality. Of course there are also things that are less good. For example, there is a series of laudatory quotes from happy students who have participated in Stig s courses. Here and there the book’s strength, the almost religious belief and enthusiasm, becomes the book’s weakness when it gets out of control and becomes too sacred. This happens, for example, when Stig presents recipes for a healthy life. These recipes are as simple as they are right, “eat healthy and exercise” but are sometimes a bit “condescending”, not the least when Stig for instance points out that it is important to chew your food slowly, many times and on both sides. We know this the tough part is to get it done. Looking at the book from a sports psychological angle, it is important to emphasize that the book is not a book about performance psychology and mental training. Finally, a simple theme like breathing is material enough for an entire book. the answer is “Yes”, for it is not so simple after all. It is both science and religion.
–Kristoffer Henriksen (1974) – MD , Sports psychologist and PHD Fellow

Product Description

It teaches how to become aware of your breathing and how to train it. You will be able to learn to breathe properly. Your body will immediately absorb more oxygen and after a short time you will have more energy and gain greater mental calmness. Advantages of efficient breathing are: Gain more energy in your daily life, Become better at managing stress, Optimize your work and sport performances, Avoid illnesses and get well faster, Minimize chronic or transient pain, Become happier and more positive, and Live a healthier and longer life.

Great British Marine Animals 3rd edition [Paperback]


“…Naylor’s photographs disclose a world that is intensely colourful not only in the visual sense, but also because of the behaviour of its varied inhabitants.” The Independent “…photos…are all excellent…essential reading for anyone who wants a bit more than a name for a sea creature.” BBC Wildlife “…highly recommended to all with an interest in our native marine life.” British Wildlife “A magical book crammed with colourful photography of marine life round the UK shore.” The Teacher “If I were to recommend a single species guide to UK divers, this would be the one.” DIVE magazine –This text refers to a previous Paperback edition.

I’m always referring to my copy of the second edition to identify the marine life that I’ve managed to photograph on my dive trips. This latest edition contains 30 more species and an expanded introductory section. It looks like it’s time update my library:) 2011

Dive Scapa Flow [Hardcover]

The all time classic Scapa Flow dive guide. Rod Macdonald has been diving Scapa Flow for years and the love of the Flow at its wrecks come over in his descriptions. The first edition was published in 1990 and since then this book in its numerous versions has been the bible of diving the wrecks in and out of the Flow and a copy can usually be found on most of the dive charter boats. As the wrecks have deteriorated over the years, guide books become out-dated through no fault of the author and this book was no exception. This latest edition has been updated and includes new content.

Product Description

Dive Scapa Flow is a comprehensive and practical guide to the spectacular and famous Orkney wrecks – the colossal, intact remains of the scuttled German fleet, U-boats, steamers, tugs and Churchill’s extraordinary ‘Blockships’.

Since this book was first published, there have been huge advances in diving technique and with the new wave of ‘technical diving’, wrecks previously beyond the realm of the air diver can now be reached. This updated and revised edition incorporates these, particularly HMS Hampshire, which took Lord Kitchener to his doom in 1916. Rod Macdonald’s intimate knowledge of the dives is supplemented by up-to-date information on characters, travel and accommodation in the area.

An essential companion for discovering the underwater secrets and intriguing naval history of Britain’s most popular dive site, Dive Scapa Flow comes complete with illustrations, photographs and charts.

A Diver in the Dark: Experiences of a Pioneer Royal Navy Clearance Diver

Product Description

Sydney Knowles was born in Preston, Lancashire, where he grew up during the 1920s and 30s, volunteering to join the Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18.

He served in the North Atlantic aboard RN destroyer HMS Zulu during the hunt for the Bismarck and on HMS Lookout (also a destroyer) on transatlantic convoy duty and later on ‘Operation Pedestal’, the famous Mediterranean convoy that broke the Siege of Malta in 1942 after withstanding intensive attacks by enemy aircraft and submarines, sustaining heavy losses.

On returning to the relative safety of Gibraltar after ‘Pedestal’, Sydney volunteered to join a small squad of Navy divers known as the Underwater Working Party, whose task was to protect Allied shipping at anchor in Gibraltar harbour against attack by Italian underwater saboteurs of the Gruppa Gamma.

Equipped with nothing but swimming trunks, lead-weighted plimsolls and primitive underwater breathing apparatus, the British divers worked in all weathers to search, often in total darkness, beneath the hulls of ships at anchor for mines attached by enemy frogmen. If they located such a device they would have to try to cut it loose or call for the assistance of their commanding officer – Lieutenant (later Commander) Lionel `Buster’ Crabb.

Crabb’s expertise at rendering safe explosive marine devices would earn him a considerable reputation and, as his diving partner and assistant, Sydney later accompanied him on many mine disposal tasks. His hair-raising stories about their remarkable escapades together in Italy are justification enough for reading this book.

But Sydney has much more to tell…

In the postwar years he and Commander Crabb renewed their association and in 1950 they dived together in search of a Spanish galleon that had sunk in Tobermory Bay on the Isle of Mull in 1588, reputedly filled with treasure; an ultimately unsuccessful quest that nearly cost Sydney his life.

In 1955 he would be invited to dive with the Commander again, but under very different circumstances. Crabb asked Sydney to accompany him on a clandestine mission to spy on the Russian warship Sverdlov while it was moored in Portsmouth harbour on a goodwill visit. They dived, discovered the secret of its remarkable manoeuvrability and returned undetected.

Crabb was by now a regular visitor to a house in Chelsea where Sir Anthony Blunt hosted soirées for a coterie of acquaintances, some of whom were later revealed to have been involved in the murky world of Cold War espionage. Sydney attended some of these gatherings but became increasingly confused by his ex-boss’s behaviour and suspicious of the people he was associating with. Was Crabb a spy? Was he planning to defect? Sydney once again found himself in the dark, but this time it was regarding the Commander’s intentions…

Sydney’s memories of these meetings and of subsequent events that culminated in the disappearance of Commander Crabb in 1956, while on another clandestine dive at Portsmouth, this time to spy on the Russian cruiser Ordzhonikidze, provide a unique insight into a mystery that remains unsolved to this day.

The Rapture of the Deep: And Other Dive Stories You Probably Shouldn’t Know [Paperback]

Book Description

Journey with scuba instructor Michael Zinsley as he dives his way through 16 countries, rubbing shoulders with the locals and mixing underwater adventure with after-hours escapades. The Rapture of the Deep is fast paced and rich in content, consisting of humorous anecdotes, insightful histories, underwater descriptions, and terrifying close calls. The diving stories relate events seen once in a thousand dives. Native cultures are revealed with an awareness that only someone who has lived in those lands can describe. The book’s lighter side is the combination of underwater adventure mixed with after-hours escapades (imagine Cousteau extending his documentaries to include closing time in the local bars). The descriptions of coral reef life are written in a way that non-diving readers will be as intrigued as the experts.

Featuring stories from:
Antigua, Australia, Bermuda, Bonaire, California, Fiji, Guam, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Palau, Philippines, Ponape, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga, Truk, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, and Yap.
Includes over 20 colour photos and maps.

From the Author

When the economic recession hit California in 1991, I lost my “real” job and headed off to the South Pacific to become a scuba instructor. Seven years later, I was still doing it, after venturing through the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. I first put pen to paper on this project when I was managing a dive shop on the tiny island of Gili Air, located off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. Most of the book was written there and in Thailand over the next year. Since then, I’ve managed to wrestle the monster into what you see here – an adventure travelogue based on scuba diving. Readers have described it as a “fast-paced page-turner.” Hopefully you will enjoy it this much also.

Scuba Diving Safety [Paperback]


“This clear and concise reference is the most up-to-date source of information on the market. No diver should leave home without a copy of Scuba Diving Safety in their dive bag.” –Alex Brylske, Senior Editor, Dive Training Magazine

Product Description

The beautiful locales, exotic plant and sea life, and relaxing environs of dive locations are even more peaceful when you are armed with the expertise and skill to stay safe in any situation. With self-rescues, buddy rescues, open-water resuscitation, and towing techniques, Scuba Diving Safety will become your most valuable diving companion. Covering a full range of underwater environments, as well as dangerous marine life, entanglements and equipment failures, this vital resource is an essential reference for every underwater enthusiast. Do not rely on someone else or chance to keep you safe. Let Scuba Diving Safety help you prepare for the unexpected and provide the confidence to enjoy your underwater adventures to the fullest.


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