Complete Diving Manual
By Jack Jackson. Published by New Holland PublishersThis new hardback is one of a series of manuals covering a range of adventure sports, from climbing to sailing, but to be honest, whilst the content is OK, I find the design and layout very childish and off-putting. They remind me of uninspiring textbooks.
Reviewed by Fiona McIntosh
That said the Complete Diving Manual is the sort of book that is worth having around for reference, and to refresh yourself on the more technical info that you have to learn to get your C-card, then promptly forget. You know, like physiology, gas laws etc. The book has brief introductions to extended range diving, safety and first aid; the broad scenarios and principles of specialties such as underwater photography are outlined and there are some interesting and fun chapters on dangerous underwater organisms and pollutants. The manual seems to have been written with the British diver as the primary market with short but interesting descriptions of different types of diving and necessary equipment including diving under ice, freshwater diving etc. There’s some interesting stuff that I didn’t know, such as the fact that many divers apparently carry two old CD’s stuck together to use as a heliograph to attract the attention of boat cover, but largely there’s nothing earth shatteringly new.
However, these are minor limitations; it’s the section on gear that really lets the product down. Not only are the pics very dated, but new technology is rarely featured or shown. For example, though integrated computers are mentioned, there is no reference to watch computers, and the computers illustrated are, shall we say, not exactly cutting edge. Similarly much of the other material on gear is already showing its age – ‘Some of the recent blade designs have split fins,’ we are informed! Mmm, really, what a revelation. And infuriatingly, when it might be revealing, the information is generalised rather than specific. ‘Some computers are designed to stop supplying information if you go into decompression. These are best avoided because they become unusable when you most need them – when you have made a mistake,’ Jackson advises. So which ones should we avoid?
Would I buy it? Well, I no longer have my manual, so possibly for reference. But with a little more attention to the visuals, it could have been so much better.
R189.95 from major book stores.
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