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Book Review: Deep Water By Watt Key

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A deep dive, to almost thirty metres, thirty miles off the coast of Alabama, USA goes horribly wrong. In strong current, their anchor line – their safe route to the surface and back to the boat – breaks free. Three divers are separated and eventually surface – only to find themselves alone and adrift in the water. Their boat and the skipper are nowhere in sight and their fight for survival, against the odds, starts.

However, Deep Water by Watt Key is not merely about the trials and tribulations facing the divers. The author brings several strands together that make up the story. The main character and narrator is Julie Sims, the twelve year-old heroine, growing up and coping with the divorce of her parents and being torn between them. During the story she grows into a compassionate young woman who displays a level of resolve and resourcefulness that would flatter the most experienced adult diver. The other two main characters, also adrift in the ocean, are Mr Jordan and his son Shane; a domineering father and antagonistic son who “are reckless enough to get themselves into trouble down there” (pp 6-7). Neither of these two characters are likeable.

It is the interplay between Julie and Shane, and their reconciliation that sets this book apart from a mere survival story. I suspect that initially a reader wouldn’t be bothered about the fate of the Jordans.

However, as the story progresses you want Julie and Shane to survive. Skilfully, the author keeps his audience waiting almost to the bitter end before the book reaches a conclusion. You will have to read it to see what happens!

On the back cover of Deep Water, a quotation from the Wall Street Journal describes the book as a “gripping tale of endurance for young readers”. It certainly is – even though I am sure much older readers, even those of my age, will enjoy and appreciate it. Whilst Deep Water may have been directed towards a younger audience it is definitely not restricted to them.

Also, on the back cover, is a quotation from Booklist, the American Library Association’s review publication. It notes that “Readers hungry for an epic tale of gruelling odds will also find lessons in bravery, resourcefulness, and practical survival skills”. As the tale unfolds I suspect readers, like me, will start to consider what they would do, how they would act if put in a similar perilous diving situation. I would like to think I would behave in a similar way – but I’m not sure I would have survived before hypothermia claimed me.

The attention to detail, and simple, logical explanation of vital survival skills, makes this book worthy of reading. Certainly, the story confirms my practise of always carrying a couple of scuba straps and carabiners … line cutter and SMB. What emergency kit do you carry?


  • Deep Water (2018)
  • By Watt Key
  • ISBN 9781250294395
  • 264 pages

About Watt Key:

Watt received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Birmingham-Southern College, Alabama, USA. He subsequently earned his MBA from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. While working as a computer programmer, he began submitting novels to major publishers.

His debut novel, Alabama Moon, was published in 2006. Watt currently lives with his wife and three children in Mobile, Alabama. Other books written by Watt Key include: Dirt Road Home (2010), Terror at Bottle Creek (2016),  Hide Out (2017)

Further information about Watt Key, and other books he has written, can be obtained from his website www.wattkey.com


Find out more about Professor Fred Lockwood, who is also a published author, at www.fredlockwood.co.uk.

Dr Fred Lockwood is Emeritus Professor of Learning and Teaching, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He is also a PADI Master Scuba Diver and dived in the waters of Central America and Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia, Australasia and the Pacific Islands. Follow Fred at www.fredlockwood.co.uk.

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Get moving with the new RAID DPV training programs

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The thrill of speeding through the water behind a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is an experience that really gets the blood racing. Using a DPV provides divers both immense fun and the means to achieve goals that would be impossible without their use.

RAID is proud to announce the new two-tier DPV training program with certifications for DPV and Advanced DPV.

Why DPV and why now?
Recreational and technical divers are using DPVs to access sites that would be difficult to reach and explore using traditional propulsion methods; to help propel large amounts of heavy equipment; to increase the safety of dives in areas of strong current; or just for the pure exhilaration of shooting through the water at speed and performing underwater acrobatics.

By extending your capabilities and extending your range, using a DPV opens new vistas for exploration and fun.

DPV
This certification option is aimed at the recreational diver who wishes to learn how to use a DPV to enhance their diving by using mainly natural navigation.

Advanced DPV
This certification option is available to anyone who is familiar with longhose configuration, has logged a minimum of 20 dives and is certified as Navigation specialty divers.

This certification option is aimed at the slightly more experienced diver with preexisting navigational training and diving on a single, twin or sidemount setup with a longhose. Although this level is slightly more challenging, the more advanced navigation exercises provide an important base for more complex types of DPV diving within a team.

PREREQUISITES
You must:

  • Be a minimum of 12 years old.
  • Be certified as RAID Open Water 20, Junior Open Water or equivalent.

Just visit www.diveRAID.com to put some extra dash into your dives.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Beers raise cash for ocean clean-up

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The Driftwood Spars Brewery, a pioneering microbrewery based on the North Cornwall coast, is donating a percentage of all profits from its Cove range of beers to Fathoms Free, a certified charity which actively cleans the ocean around the Cornish peninsula.

Each purchase of the small-batch, craft beers – there are four different canned beers in the Cove range – will help generate funds to purchase a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and fund retrieval dives; every brew will raise the equivalent cost of a fully-funded dive. 

Fathoms Free is a Cornwall-based charity whose day-to-day mission involves dives from their fast-response specialist vessel to recover ghost fishing gear; abandoned nets, pots, angling equipment and other plastic causes severe damage to the marine environment and the death of countless seabirds, seals, dolphins and other sea life.

The campaign to raise funds for an ROV is a new initiative which will take the clean-up work to a new level; the highly manoeuvrable underwater vehicle will be used to scour the seabed, harbours and remote parts of the coastline for abandoned fishing gear and other marine litter.

Project Manager Natallia Paliakova from Fathoms Free said: “Apart from helping us locate ghost gear underwater, the ROV will also be capable of recording underwater video which is always great for raising awareness about marine pollution issues.”

She added: “We are really excited to be partnering with The Driftwood Spars Brewery and appreciate the proactive support of Mike and his team in bringing the purchase of an ROV a step closer to reality.”

Head Brewer Mike Mason personally approached the charity after their work was featured on the BBC 2 documentary, ‘Cornwall with Simon Reeve’.    

He said: “As a keen surfer I am only too aware of the problem of marine litter and had heard about Fathoms Free, but seeing them in action prompted me to find a way of contributing. The scale of the challenge is scary, but the determination of organisations like Fathoms Free is inspiring.”

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

The Driftwood Spars Brewery was founded in 2000 in Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes; the microbrewery is just a few steps away from it’s co-joined brewpub, The Driftwood Spars; both pub and brewery are well-regarded far beyond the Cornish cove they call home. 

You can hear the waves and taste the salt on the air from the door of both brewery and pub, and the rough seas along the rugged North coast often throw up discarded nets and other detritus; Louise Treseder, Landlady of The Driftwood Spars and a keen sea swimmer, often collects washed up ghost gear on her daily beach excursions.     

Louise commented: “This is a great partnership to support a cause close to our hearts – I know the money we raise will have a positive and lasting impact. The Cove range was inspired by our unique surroundings and the artwork – by local artist Jago Silver – reflects that. Now donations from each purchase will contribute towards the vital ocean clean-up taking place right on our doorstep.”

The Cove range can currently be purchased online here, and is available in good independent bottle shops in Cornwall.

To find out more about Fathoms Free visit their website here.

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