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Customer Review

on 17 January 2011
Ok ... here's my review:

Dive books full of photographs are designed to be flicked through. Which is
what I did when I first picked up"Wrecks and Reefs of Southeast Scotland."
Initial impressions: lovely photos, nicely bound book, lovely glossy paper,
great cover; and I like the format and the way the dives are laid out with
some stats followed by photos and narrative description. Then I saw a
picture of a big shark, and I'm thinking ... the east coast is more
interesting than I thought ... hmmm. I kept flicking and noticed "Tye's
Tunnel" ... yes, one of my favourite east coast sites. Looking forward to
reading that one in more detail. Then I stop at dive number 75, "Don's Bum",
and I read ... "I first learnt about Don's Bum from a local diver called Don
..." It's at this point that I realise that this is a more profound piece of
writing than your average dive guide; it has a confessional quality and ...
well, we can only admire Mike's courage for being willing to write so openly
about ... err ... Don's Bum. If there are any under-18's reading this,
please avert you eyes now. Mike continues: " ... you will see, directly
opposite you, a dark hole. This is Don's Bum. Entering the hole you will
find that it is a small, curved tunnel that takes you into the other
beautiful gully that you ignored earlier." For me, that's up there with "The
Story of O" or "Delta of Venus".

Sorry Mike

Kidding aside, this is the loveliest book about diving in Scotland that I've
ever read. I'm not just saying that because Mike's such a nice guy. Here's
what I like about it, not in any particular order:
- Mike's passion and enthusiasm come over in the writing and the way he
describes each dive as a little personal odyssey.
- The quality of Mike's writing is as good as his photography. Some of the
descriptions are very poetical without being purple or cliched.
- The book is very well produced, with photo quality paper. Any less would
not have done justice to the images.
- Some of the photos themselves are exceptional. My personal favourite is on
p.97: "Divers surface off the Skelly at Anemone Gullies". Not because it's
the greatest photo, but because it holds a story, or memories of late
afternoon dives as a winter sun sets (or maybe it's summer and very late,
but you can't tell). It's imperfect because there's water on the lens, but I
love it because it reminds me of dives and days out and buddies past. Very
Scottish and very evocative.
- Mike must have taken 10's of thousands of photos to get this collection.
The visibility in many of the shots is excellent, so each captures a rare
event by definition in Scotland. But they are perfect, like the Scart Rock
Octopus or the Diver Decompressing on a shot on p.47.
This book evokes happy memories. But above all, it makes me want to go
diving! And who could ask for more than that?
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