Shipwreck and diving related books recommended by Capt. Dan Berg of the charter dive boat Wreck Valley.
By Bernie Chowdhury
What price would you pay for adventure and knowledge?
Chris and Chrissy Rouse, an experienced father-and-son scuba diving team, hoped to achieve widespread recognition for their outstanding but controversial diving skills. Obsessed and ambitious, they sought to solve the secrets of a mysterious, undocumented World War II German U-boat that lay under 230 feet of water, only a half-day's mission from New York Harbor. They paid the ultimate price in their quest for fame.
This gripping narrative recounts the Rouses' growing lust for what many consider the world's most dangerous sport -- as well as for the cowboy culture of the deepdiving community. Father and son were only eighteen years apart in age, and their constant battles of will earned them the nickname "the Bicker Brothers." Many friends wondered which would win out if it came down to a life-or-death diving situation: Chris's protective instincts or Chrissy's desire to surpass his father's successes.
In the surreal topographies of underwater caves and shipwrecks, divers can encounter the unfathomable. Some get lost until their air expires, some get hopelessly tangled in cables, some are drawn to deep chambers from which they never emerge, and some make simple human errors. The sport's best may eventually find themselves in silt-filled water, dark as night, and pinned by dislodged wreckage. If they panic and use up their air, they put themselves at risk of drowning or of what divers fear the most-decompression sickness, or "the bends."
Author Bernie Chowdhury, himself an expert diver and a dose friend of the Rouses', explores the thrill-seeking world of deep-sea diving, including its legendary figures, most celebrated triumphs, and gruesome tragedies. By examining the diver's psychology through the complex father-and-son dynamic, Chowdhury illuminates the extreme sport diver's push toward -- and sometimes beyond -- the limits of human endurance.
Readers first thrilled to the breathtaking adventures of deep-sea diver Ben
Gannon in Crash Dive...
Commercial deep-sea diver Ben Gannon has been assigned to retrieve the bodies from a helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead he discovers the bullet-ridden bodies of the "crash" victims, among them a senator who championed American oil independence. The helicopter was returning from a highly-advanced oil rig, where Gannon suddenly finds himself assigned to work. But when the rig is seized by Middle Eastern terrorists, he decides to take matters into his own hands....
of the Perdido Star: A Novel
This is a great adventure book. Its as good as any of Clive Cussler's novels!
I highly recommend it to anyone interested in maritime adventure, pirates, and
An intriguing coming-of-age adventure full of information about early
19th-century diving, salvage and piracy...The authors do a fine job of blending
historical and technical details into their narrative. Of particular interest
are sections--including a well-constructed, exciting ending--in which the crew
of the Star must learn to accomplish takes modern sailors take for
granted: how to stay under water for more than five minutes without drowning and
how to refloat a sunken ship.
Melding superb research and the extraordinary expedition photography of Frank Hurley, Endurance by Caroline Alexander is a stunning work of history, adventure, and art that chronicles "one of the greatest epics of survival in the annals of exploration." Setting sail as World War I broke out in Europe, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by renowned polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, hoped to become the first to cross the Antarctic continent. But their ship, Endurance, was trapped in the drifting pack ice, eventually splintering and leaving the expedition stranded on floes---a situation that seemed "not merely desperate but impossible."
Most skillfully Alexander constructs the expedition's character through its personalities--the cast of veteran explorers, scientists, and crew--with aid from many previously unavailable journals and documents. We learn, for instance, that carpenter and shipwright Henry McNish, or "Chippy," was "neither sweet-tempered nor tolerant," and that Mrs. Chippy, his cat, was "full of character." Such firsthand descriptions, paired with 170 of Frank Hurley's intimate photographs (comprehensively assembled here for the first time), penetrate the hulls of the Endurance and these tough men, revealing the seldom-seen domestic world of expedition life--the singsongs, feasts, lectures, and camaraderie--so that when the hardships set in, we know these people beyond the stereotypical guise of mere explorers and long for their safety.
Alexander reveals Shackleton to be an inspiring optimist,
"a leader who put his men first." Throughout the grueling ordeal,
Shackleton and his men show what endurance and greatness are all about. Endurance
is an intimate portrait of an expedition and of survival. Readers will possess a
newfound respect for these daring souls and know better their unthinkable toil
and half-forgotten realm of glory. --Byron Ricks
Perfect Storm : A True Story of Men Against the Sea
Swede Momsen was, according to master storyteller Peter Maas, the "greatest submariner the Navy ever had," and he was determined to beat those odds. Momsen spent his career trying to save the lives of trapped submariners, despite an indifferent Navy bureaucracy that thwarted and belittled his efforts at every turn. Every way of saving a sailor entombed in a sub--"smoke bombs, telephone marker buoys, new deep-sea diving techniques, escape hatches, artificial lungs, a great pear-shaped rescue chamber--was either a direct result of Momsen's inventive derring-do, or of value only because of it." Yet on the day the Squalus sank, none of Momsen's inventions had been used in an actual submarine disaster.
In The Terrible Hours, Maas reconstructs the harrowing 39 hours between the disappearance of the submarine Squalus during a test dive off the New England coast and the eventual rescue of 33 crew members trapped in the vessel 250 feet beneath the sea. It's also the story of Momsen's triumph. Under the worst possible circumstances, Momsen led a successful mission and helped change the future of undersea lifesaving. Not only has Maas written a carefully researched and suspenseful tribute to a true hero, in the process he has salvaged a long-forgotten, riveting piece of American history. --Svenja Soldovieri
Dirk Pitt, indestructible hero of 14 previous Clive Cussler novels and special-projects director of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (which is something like the CIA of the ocean depths), makes James Bond look like a tuxedoed, martini-swilling poseur. Pitt has raised the Titanic, escaped massive volcanic eruptions, ducked nuclear explosions, foiled criminal plans for world domination, saved everyone on earth from germ warfare, and mastered the ins and outs of various electronic gizmos and futuristic vehicles while evading every imaginable form of almost certain death. (Of course, he's also wildly successful with brilliant, beautiful women, but in an admirably circumspect, sensitive-guy way.) It stands to reason Pitt's the right man to handle a crisis of millennial proportions.
When mysterious black obsidian skulls and other artifacts of an exceedingly ancient culture begin to turn up in odd places, Pitt jumps in with both feet. It soon becomes dangerously apparent that a powerful, amoral group of fanatics calling itself the Fourth Empire wants the strange discoveries to remain underground. Pitt teams up with a beautiful red-haired expert in ancient languages to decipher the meaning of the artifacts. They were made 10 millennia ago in a then-temperate Antarctica by a seafaring civilization advanced enough to predict its own destruction by a comet impact. Now the Fourth Empire (whose literal and figurative progenitor comes as no surprise) is predicting a similar disaster in only a matter of months, and preparing to take control of the earth.
Cussler's known for hands-on research--his hobbies are the backbone of Pitt's adventures: flying, climbing, diving, racing. The scientific and historical riffs that fill in the background of Atlantis Found are the weakest parts of the book--they're Pitt-less, and they give every discovery in the book away early. But what the heck--Cussler's not the king of suspense, he's the emperor of nonstop action. Atlantis Found bounces along on a good-humored techno-joyride, and for Cussler's legion of fans, that will be more than enough. --Barrie Trinkle
at the Bottom of the World
Other Related Items by Capt. Berg