“As with many extreme sports, there is a gradual progression to push yourself to the limit. The problem is, you just don’t know where the limit might be until you reach it. Then, when it comes, it can take you completely by surprise and throw all sorts of problems at you. If you can’t evaluate the situation and sort it out, then you will find yourself very much screwed or even dead.” Dave Blackmore
Its difficult to find many good novels based on or around diving, and my stubborness to only read non-fictional stories on the subject makes it even more difficult (what’s the point in reading fictional diving stories, when more exciting events happen in real life?). When I came across Dave Blackmore’s “Dive As Deep As You Dare” I honestly wasn’t too sure what to think, the day before it had arrived had been spent reading George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and Blackmore’s book therefore had a lot to live up to.
Blackmore’s colloquial style fitted well with the “chilled out diving” style of book. Unlike “Shadow Divers” by Robert Kurson it wasn’t bogged down with long technical jargon and was consequently a joy to read.
“Dive As Deep As You Dare” threw me between emotions of laughter to a puzzlement of; “how did he get away with that?!”. In the space of 200 pages we’re taken on a journey from complete novice and non-diver to his completion of life threatening dives at huge depths with large amounts of deco time.
His book also gave a great insight as to why there is so little left on the wrecks around the UK as they have been stripped bare over the years, little by little, by various diving clubs and charter dives, taken for personal souvenirs.
On the other hand it is imperative that you are a diver (or interested in diving) in order to enjoy his book, I enjoyed it as I was able to relate to the different emotions explored; such as the fear of finding yourself in a difficult situation or the happiness of completing an increadible dive. It was interesting to read of his cases with skin bends and to learn a few party tricks to complete on safety/deco stops.
If I were to compare it with any book then it would be “Diver” by Tony Groom. They are similar in that you are taken through their lives and major events they went through although content wise completely different, Groom’s story was of his time in the Navy as a clearance diver and his progression into saturation diving. Blackmore’s story focuses on his journey from novice to technical diver. If you liked “Diver” by Tony Groom I would recommend Blackmore’s “Dive As Deep As You Dare”.
“Passing 50 metres, I felt absolutely fine. I was used to diving to those depths in the UK, where the water is dark and you would need a 50 watt torch just to see your dive gauges. In the time it took me to look left across to my dive buddy and then ahead and back to my dive computer, I was at 65 metres and I could feel the effects of nitrogen narcosis. My brain was in some sort of dull, lethargic, trance and I wondered how deep we might get before we stopped. Again, I glanced at my buddy next to me. I could hear the bubbles pouring from his Poseidon regulator. I focused back on my dive computer: 70 metres. I checked myself “Am I still comfortable at this depth?” I was undecided and I was now at 75 metres. There was no end to the sloping sea bed I was following. The sound of the exhaled air from the regulators was all I could focus on. That’s it…. I slowed to a stop at 79 metres and stared blankly ahead realising I was in trouble”
But it all began many years before…….” Dave Blackmore