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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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Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Christian Horras

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Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The March winner was Christian Horras and you can see their winning image at the top of this page.


What do you love about diving & underwater photography?

For me it is all about showing the beauty of our world underwater to people that don’t dive and thus can’t see it for themselves. I want to share my own passion for the amazing ecosystem that is so much older than everything we know living on land. As I am from Germany, there are only a few people in my surroundings that have ever seen a coral reef or a shark with their own eyes. It is a big privilege to be able to go diving all over the world and in return it should be our task to arise awareness of this fragile and endangered ecosystem.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Nikon D810 in a Isotta Housing and various lenses, depending on the subject: a Sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye, a Nikon 16-35 mm F4 and two Nikon Macro lenses (60mm and 105mm), as well as a WeeFine +13 Diopter. The Fisheye is my main lens, as it allows me to get really close and still cover a big field of view. For lighting I use two Retra Pro Strobes and a Retra Snoot.

Where can our readers see more of your work?

Website: www.christianhorras.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/christian.horras/


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award

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Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to heroes@emperordivers.com.

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact heroes@emperordivers.com for details.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

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This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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