Us divers tend to live and breathe our hobby, soaking up digital magazine content and social media posts about all things SCUBA! The last few years have gifted us some great reads from experts in the fields of technical diving, marine biology, exploration, and diving journalism. During the pandemic, our novels, Kindles and audiobooks offered the escapism we all missed, sending us to places we physically weren’t able to visit. Here is our list of some of the best diving books that have fed our habit over the last year or so. Enjoy them in the garden or campsite, on the beach or boat, or simply when tucked up in bed to help influence a dream deep into the blue.
- Into The Planet – My Life As a Cave Diver by Jill Heinerth
Whether you are a cave diver yourself or not, this gripping story will immerse you where no woman has gone before! Suunto ambassador and rebreather diver Jill has explored some of the world’s most gnarly environments, including icebergs! She has pushed the limits of exploration and science passionately, for campaigns about freshwater resources and by using a robotic mapper to create 3-D cave maps. This isn’t just a story about courage: Jill has made this book accessible to all by showing her vulnerability fear, and her sadness at losing age-old friends to the abyss. An exhilarating journey from start to finish.
- The World Beneath: The Life and Times of Unknown Sea Creatures and Coral Reefs by Dr Richard Smith
Richard Smith is one of diving’s nicest fellas, probably most famous for his study of the world’s tiniest critter - the pygmy seahorse. He organises dive expeditions and is an accomplished speaker on topics of conservation, ecology and photography. In this book, he shows us some of the world’s weirdest marine life – both newly discovered and on the brink of extinction. If you love travel, photography or marine biology, you will be truly satisfied by this book with its 300 colour images and explanations of animal behaviour across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.
- Under Pressure – Diving Deeper with Human Factors by Gareth Lock
Accomplished diver Gareth Lock has a military and research background. This has played a huge part in formulating his training programmes about reducing human error in everyday diving scenarios. Under pressure is essential reading for divers who want to manage their risks more effectively. While he uses case studies from famous underwater explorers and the technical community, the book is accessible to divers of all levels who have experience any “oh sh*t” moment. We all make mistakes, but this book could help you avoid more in the future!
- The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
If you loved My Octopus Teacher on Netflix, this book about the emotional world of cephalopods will tick all your boxes. Montgomery develops warm, personal relationships with octopuses at an aquarium. While marvelling at their intelligence completing tasks like opening boxes and getting food, she also observes psychological traits such as recognition, choosing who they like and dislike and the ability to play. Touching and funny, we follow Montgomery’s journey learning to dive and how her emotional and naturalist selves battle each other in this “surprising exploration into the wonders of consciousness.”
- Wild and Temperate Seas: 50 Favourite UK Dives by Will Appeyard
A must-have guide to UK diving, Wild and Temperate Seas highlights the best locations along the British coast – the popular and the less-explored. This 176-page guide is illustrated with images from home-grown underwater photographers and is written by divers for divers, in a descriptive but chatty way. From colourful marine life to historic wrecks enjoyed either by shore or by boat, this book is perfect for new divers or UK stalwarts needing some fresh inspiration. If you’re enjoying diving staycations this year, do not go anywhere without this book!