Primary Wreck Diving
Wreck-diving is a discipline as different from open-water scuba as college is from kindergarten. The basic certification course introduces a non-diver to the subsurface world, and provides him with the essential knowledge and skills necessary to enable him to immerse his body in water and discover that, with artificial devices, he can still breathe. However, a check-out dive and a C-card do not prepare a person for the rigors of wreck-diving. Most certifying agencies offer specialty courses designed to present the entry level diver with new challenges, encouraging him to improve his proficiency under controlled supervision. This step-by-step approach is good because it ensures that a diver does not get in over his head, so to speak, by taking on more than he can handle. What the beginner sometimes fails to realize is that dives conducted in different environments and under a variety of conditions require an intimate understanding of himself and his limitations, and of the water into which he is about to plunge: the ocean is more than a pool with a larger circumference. By increasing his skills incrementally and by gaining a gradual appreciation for the deep, a diver can achieve his full potential safer and more rapidly.
This book is a primer for one particular and very captivating activity: diving on shipwrecks. It proposes to offer practical information, as opposed to theoretical or mathematical; that is, how to conduct a dive on sunken ships, not what happens to the body under pressure. Furthermore, it intends to address the grimmer realities that are often overlooked: entanglement, equipment flooding, seasickness, and getting lost at sea, to name a few. To a certain extent, these unfortunate events are overemphasized in order to make up for the fact that they are seldom addressed in class or in popular publications: they make uncomfortable enlightenment at best. My intention is not to scare anyone off, but to acquaint people with worst case scenarios that may never occur, and to impart information that is otherwise unobtainable.
The topics covered include equipment modification, thermal protection, access to sites, current and surge, wreck orientation and navigation, night diving, photography, pharmacology, and a riveting rivet by rivet account of how shipwrecks got the way they are and why they look the way they do. The text is extensively illustrated with color photographs from the author's collection; eight illustrations demonstrate the evolution of shipwreck collapse, from an intact hull to a field of debris.
Primary Wreck-Diving Guide is the first of the three Wreck-Diving Guides. It is followed by the Advanced Wreck-Diving Guide (deep air diving, decompression methods, wreck penetration, and more), which itself is followed by the Ultimate Wreck-Diving Guide (which introduces nitrox, mixed gas, accelerated decompression using oxygen, and other high-tech concepts).
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