A captivating book with stunning underwater photography.
Husband and wife team Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are world class marine photographers with first class academic credentials in the fields of biology, animal behaviour and teaching which they use to inspire others to share their passion for marine conservation. The dives in the book are from all over the world – Africa, Australia and Asia to Europe and the Americas – a total of 25 wild dives on wrecks, with sharks, on stunning coral reefs, cave diving in Greece and much more.
The authors define a wild dive as something ‘really unusual, cool or thought-provoking’ (page 6) and all the dives described live up to this description. Each chapter contains a general description of the location and then details of what general diving in the area is like before relating the wild dive. There is also a brief but useful index which covers the places and species referred to in the book.
The very first dive described took place off St Helena, probably best known as the place of Napoleon’s second exile and for being the second most remote island in the world at 1,200 miles from the closest land – Namibia. Large groups of whale sharks congregate off St Helena from January to March and provide opportunities for research into these puzzling giants. The wild dive was on the wreck of the RFA Darkdale, a fleet oiler, which was the first British ship attacked and sunk by a German U boat south of the equator in WWII. The couple were making a poignant return to a site where they had previously assisted the Ministry of Defence in photographing and making the wreck safe for divers.
The Fijian islands are among the authors’ favourite places for diving and it was a serendipitous decision to let their hosts pick the location for a dive which led to the wild dive site called Fantasea 1. It was a favourite site of the locals because of the incredible corals which grow on the pinnacle of rock at the site – a ‘scene so vivid – with bright pinks, oranges, reds, purples – it was hard to believe the reef was real’ (page 126). Readers too will be amazed by the incredible colours and profusion of coral and fish in the wonderful images.
The final chapter of the book reminds us that we all have a responsibility to care for the marine environment by eliminating the incredible amount of waste created by our use of plastics. There are heartbreaking shots of birds eating plastic and turtles killed by discarded fishing nets, something we should think about before buying yet another plastic bottle of water!
Whether you are, or aspire to be a scuba diver or just enjoy great underwater photography from exotic locations, you’ll enjoy this high quality and beautifully produced book.
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Distributed by: New Holland Publishing
Released: October 2019