I should have paid more attention in science class
What serendipity to find "Diving into Darkness: A True Story of Death and Survival" by Phillip Finch calling to me from the library shelves.
Diving into Darkness recounts the efforts of cave divers Don Shirley and David Shaw to (willingly!) plunge about 900 feet into the water to bring up the body of a diver who had died a decade earlier. One of them does not survive the attempt.
I have a newfound appreciation for the science behind deep diving. The people who do this sort of thing for fun aren't just deciding to strap on a tank and hit the water. There are all sorts of calculations of gases and time under water and decompression stops to be determined. This is not for the casual hobbyist or the faint of heart.
Finch does a great job of chronicling the events leading up to that final dive and presents an almost textbook like accounting of why a deep water diver needs more than oxygen.
And while I was interested in the mechanics of diving, it was not enough for me.
I never felt a connection with these men. When so much can go so wrong so quickly, why would anyone dive to such depths? Is it just the ability to go where no one has gone before? Is it to test one's own limits? Why diving instead of another extreme sport?
"Beyond 150 metres, beyond 200, humans enter a nether zone where the usual rules no longer apply; a place where compromises with physics and chemistry and human physiology are no longer possible, where even the act of drawing a breath helps to create the conditions for tragedy."
I still don't have the answers to my questions. But I do have tremendous respect for divers.
See if you agree:
Read an excerpt here
- Tricia Ambrose