Diving the Thistlegorm – The ultimate guide to a World War Two shipwreck by Simon Brown, Jon Henderson, Alex Mustard and Mike Postons.
A Review by Jeff Goodman
It’s a real pleasure when I get great books like this to read and review. This book takes the reader on a historic and fully comprehensive journey of the Thistlegorm. A brilliant in depth guide to the wreck and all it’s facets, all illustrated by superb photos and graphics. The detail of research into this ship is impressive and portrayed to the reader in an easy to read style and layout. It is obvious how much hard work has been done to make this book enjoyable to read as well as be educational.
When I first dived the Thistlegorm I knew very little about the wreck except for the brief safety dive talk given on our boat prior to entering the water. I truly wish I had had this book to read before hand. It would have given me such an important insight to what I was diving on and looking at. My dive would have been even more enjoyable. I can only hope that every boat heading out to the wreck in the future has at least one copy on board. We need more books like this.
I remember the first dive I ever had on the Thistlegorm. It was fantastic. The water was clear, there was an abundance of wildlife and the wreck itself was awesome. Gliding over the decks and the cargo holds, filled with machines and items of war, was an experience never to be forgotten. I didn’t really know just how lucky I was. So you can imagine how happy I was to know a few years later that I was to dive it again. I awoke early on the Liveaboard and eagerly looked off the open stern to the wreck site. Instead of the clear blue open sea I had seen before just a few years previously, there were now twelve to fourteen other Liveaboard dive boats all moored up to the wreck and already discharging divers into the water.
My dive on the wreck this time was truly not an experience I wanted to have again. There were more divers than fish. The decks were busy with criss-crossing people and the holds were choc-a-block with divers who seemed to have little care either for the wreck itself or other people. I was often pushed from behind, had a few fins in the face and lights blazed directly into my eyes.
With this memory in mind it was with a little trepidation that I started to read ‘Diving the Thistlegorm’. Was this simply going to draw more divers to the wreck with no consideration for careful diving practices? To my great relief, the second section of the book was titled ‘Wreck under threat’ and addressed my very concerns about the Thistlegorm being systematically ruined by careless and unregulated mooring of dive boats on the ships superstructure, as well as disregard of the wrecks contents by many divers. The section didn’t dwell too long on this, but the points for wreck preservation were strong and well made.
About the authors of Diving the Thistlegorm
Simon Brown is a photogrammetry/3D reconstruction expert who has documented underwater subjects for a wide range of clients including Historic England and television companies such as National Geographic Channel and Discovery Canada. He is currently teaching police forensic collision investigators the use of photogrammetry for evidence preservation.
Jon Henderson is Reader in Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh where he is the Director of theUnderwater Archaeology Research Centre. With specific research interests in submerged prehistoric settlements and developing underwater survey techniques, he has directed underwater projects in the UK, Poland, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Jamaica and Malaysia.
Alex Mustard is a former marine biologist and award-winning underwater photographer. In 2018 he was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for “Services to underwater photography”.
Mike Postons pioneered the use of digital 3D modelling to visualise shipwrecks, as well as the processes of reconstructing original ships from historic plans. He has worked with a number of organisations including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Historic England and the Nautical Archaeological Society.
Diving the Thistlegorm – The ultimate guide to a World War Two shipwreck is available now from Divedup.com, online and from retailers. ISBN 978-1-909455-37-5 | 240 pages | 160 × 21 × 240 mm
Film Review: Thirteen Lives
Ron Howard’s recreation of the 2018 rescue of a Thai junior football team is impressive. Even though we know what happens in the end the tension and drama played out is palpable.
On 23 June 2018, 12 members of a Thai junior football team, the Wild Boars, and their coach became trapped deep in the Tham Luang cave system by rising flood water. The film details the incredible international rescue efforts that ensue. And Ron Howard has judged the tone perfectly. There is no Hollywood glitz and glamour and the two leading actors: Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen, who play John Volanthen and Rick Stanton respectively, capture the intensity of the situation perfectly.
The diving scenes are claustrophobic in the extreme. Although I suspect that the visibility was even worse than the film depicts as you have to be able to see something in the dramatization! All the way through the film I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at the extraordinary feat these divers pulled off. The skill and bravery required still impresses after watching films, hearing them speak in public and reading about the rescue.
I loved that, whilst the divers took centre stage in the film, the heroic rescue efforts of the water engineer and his team was also given the attention they deserve, as well as the incredible Thai Navy Seals and the thousands of people that flocked to the region to help.
Thirteen Lives is a must watch movie about an incredible cave rescue. It’s sober tone hits the mark. The cinematography is skilled and creates an impressively tense experience. It is available on Amazon Prime right now.
The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Underwater Photographer Elaine Whiteford
Gemma and Ian chat to Elaine Whiteford. Elaine learned to dive in 2002 and qualified as an Instructor (Master Scuba Diver Trainer) in 2005. She is based in Scotland and dives all year round in the North Sea and the sea lochs of the Scottish west coast. A photographer before she was a diver, taking pictures underwater was a natural development for Elaine, who was awarded a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society with a portfolio of underwater images.
She has had articles published in a range of magazines, both general interest and diving, including Scottish Wildlife, Diver, The Undersea Journal, The Sea, BBC Wildlife and the Scot’s Magazine. Her work has also featured in a number of exhibitions, such as the Royal Photographic Society’s Projected Image Exhibition, the Edinburgh International Exhibition of Photography and the Scottish Parliament’s Biodiversity Exhibition. She had a solo exhibition, Scotland’s Waters Brought To Life, in Stirling’s Smith Museum. Her images have appeared in a range of books and she is a contributor to Wild & Temperate Seas, 50 Favourite UK Dives, which was published in November, 2020.
Elaine was shortlisted in the 2020 Scottish Nature Photography Awards and her image appears in the Portfolio Yearbook which was published in the autumn of 2021.
Have a listen here:
Find out more here:
Find more podcast episodes and information at the new www.thebigscuba.com website and on most social platforms @thebigscuba
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