The book manages to combine humour, adventure, tragedy, triumph, heroism, and even some forays into the risque...while chronicling the careers of 20 enduring personalities that helped make diving what it is today. Some of those interviewed are retired now, one (author Peter Benchley of Jaws fame) recently passed away, and many are still making history through their ongoing work. It s quite a group. Featured Interviews are with: Bob Ballard, Peter Benchley, Dick Bonin, Ernie Brooks, John Chatterton, Mike deGruy, Al Giddings, Bret Gilliam, Howard and Michele Hall, Bob Hollis, Paul Humann, Greg MacGillivray, Bev Morgan, Chuck Nicklin, Ron and Val Taylor, Zale Parry, Wes Skiles and Stan Waterman. Consider that the line-up includes actress and Sea Hunt star Zale Parry who also set the depth record for women divers back in 1954. Stan Waterman provides both the book s Foreword and a revealing insider look at his seven decades in diving. Living legend Bev Morgan pioneered the first dive training programs along with revolutionising commercial diving equipment. His image in full hardhat dress also graces the book s cover.
Morgan's candour and humour set the pace for the lively montage of dialogues to follow with Australian couple Ron and Valerie Taylor who rose to fame in the iconic shark documentary film Blue Water, White Death. They are joined by others from diving s first generation including filmmaker Al Giddings (The Deep, Abyss, Titanic, etc.), retail pioneer and cameraman Chuck Nicklin (The Diving Locker), manufacturers Dick Bonin (Scubapro) and Bob Hollis (Oceanic), photography masters Ernie Brooks and Paul Humann, as well as deep ocean explorer Dr. Bob Ballard who discovered the wrecks of the Titanic, Bismarck, and PT-109. Diving's second generation of innovators includes cave explorer Wes Skiles, filmmaker Mike deGruy, wreck explorer John Chatterton (of Shadow Divers fame), IMAX film producer Greg MacGillivray, and the dynamic husband/wife team of Howard and Michele Hall who seem to dominate the realm of documentary underwater films now (Island of the Sharks, Coral Reef Adventure, Deep Sea 3D).
Last but not least, Stan Waterman talked Gilliam into sitting for an interview about his own amazing career and, typically, he shares a wicked sense of humor along with some biting perspective about what it was like to champion new technologies and daring approaches to diving business when the sport s ultra-conservatives wanted to suppress nitrox, liveaboards, technical diving, diving computers, training methods, and honest journalism. Each chapter is a slice of human interest that lets the reader briefly pull back the curtain on the personal lives of diving s heroes and feel like they are part of the conversation. The book is lavishly illustrated with great photographs that capture each interviewee throughout their diving careers. It s a very personal journey and the reader will feel like they pulled up a chair and shared a cup of coffee around a table with each person. Gilliam enlisted help from other leading writers for some interviews he couldn't conduct himself and Fred Garth, Lina Hitchcock, Eric Hanauer, Douglas Seifert and Michel Gilbert & Danielle Alary all make significant contributions to round out the book.