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Down Time: Great Writers on Diving
edited by Ed Kitrell, Casey Kittrell, Jim Kittrell
  One of the best ever literary collections on scuba diving. More than 35 passages from novelists, journalists, poets, playwrights, essayists, and scientists detail an intertwined passion for diving and the written word in this collection. From Robert Stone's portrayal of a diver who faces the terrorizing prospect of his air running out to Clare Booth Luce's search for the treasures of the underwater realm, every passage reveals a perspective of the world that only divers have known. Perfect reading for any aspiring scuba diver.
  More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
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Scuba Diving - sample interview

This extract from 'Jobs for the Boys: Men and their Work" features one of Peter Cross' interviews with a Scuba Diving Instructor. Scuba diving is a fascinating and unusual occupation - just one of the many you might not have thought of if you have not read Peter Cross' book. And what is scuba diving?:

"In commercial diving you are doing totality different jobs, you are using welding and cutting equipment and building underwater, usually using a surface supply, whereas scuba is putting self-contained breathing apparatus on your back and teaching other people how to dive and leading other dives. One is generally colder, the other is warmer and clearer."

Sample interview:

Scuba Diving Instructor

Name: Jasper Thorneycroft

Age: 25

Address: West London

How did you get this job?

"I became a commercial diver eight or nine years ago. I did commercial diving for about five years then I got a recreational ticket as well."

What's the difference between a commercial and recreational ticket?

"In commercial diving you are doing totality different jobs, you are using welding and cutting equipment and building underwater, usually using a surface supply, whereas scuba is putting self-contained breathing apparatus on your back and teaching other people how to dive and leading other dives. One is generally colder, the other is warmer and clearer."

Can you tell me about the diving school?

"We operate out of a youth club. We have a nice pool and great training facilities with regard to a classroom and multi-media equipment, which is required for the running of all the courses. We teach evenings and at the weekends here in London. We take the students down to the south coast and every three months we take a trip abroad to places like the Red Sea."

What do you teach novice scuba divers?

"You have an introductory session for those who have never dived before which is up to two hours in the pool after a briefing. You learn about the dangers involved, getting a feel for the water and whether you like it, this avoids people paying money for a course then finding out that they don't like it. The first course is over four-days. It works out to be a full day in the classroom, going through all the theory and logic of diving. There's a full day in the pool where you do a whole bunch of skills, just like driving really, things that you should and shouldn't do. Things like putting water into your mask and clearing it, given that it can happen at any time. Actually removing the mask from your face, removing your equipment, maybe it has got loose underwater, so you have to know how to take it off and put in on underwater. Learning what position your lungs have in your positioning in the water, it is not an exhaustive list but it is paramount that you do as many skills in the pool as possible before you jump into open water, which could be more serious if things go wrong. The you go through the same skills in the open water with an instructor."

What sorts of people take up scuba diving?

"I'm asked that question many times. I wish there were an average sort of person. Since Paddi [Professional Assn. of Diving Instructors] brought out the rule that children above the age of ten can start a full scuba diving course the age range is from ten to the oldest we've had is sixty-nine. It's more the fitness thing that deters anyone, there are a list of medical questions you're asked and if you answer yes that doesn't mean that you can't dive but you have to get checked out by a doctor. That tends to be the only thing that prevents anyone from diving. Heart problems, breathing difficulties, asthma, claustrophobia and things like back problems."

How did you get into diving?

"I did my A levels early and didn't have anything I wanted to do with university. The only thing I was interested in was marine biology, I've always been a bit of a water boy, playing waterpolo and swimming. I saw an advert for commercial divers and oil rigs. The training course was only about five months and the money was very obtainable so I went for it. I loved it. I decided after four of five years of that and had done all the courses I could do, I wasn't all that infatuated with the North Sea, although it is a lovely place to work and the money is great I wanted to travel a bit more with it and the easiest way to travel with diving is to have the recreational ticket so you can go to all the tourist spots around the world and teach."

If you're in it for the diving, isn't the instructing a pain?

"Diving is one thing but instructing people is another. People wonder why you'd want to instruct people and spend all your time in a classroom which is basically not true. If you want to do all the beginners courses, the first three or four courses in the Paddy, you will spend fifty to sixty percent of that course in a classroom. But the rest is water work which is what people get into diving for. You get two types of instructors, those who are only interested in bettering the level of divers who go out which is at the heart of every instructor, making sure that everyone is safe, and are a good diver before you can sign them off. And others just want to be able to lead dives and take experienced divers around dive sets so they don't have huge responsibility for taking novice divers in the water, more just using their experience to improve other peoples. If you spend a year in a classroom and the pool you get the experience up and you meet an amazing cross section of people and come across a huge amount of difficulties but then you do need to stretch your wings, get back into the water and dive for yourself. There is an amazing amount of responsibility and you have to be a hundred and ten percent alert all the time."

Jobs for the Boys: Men and their Work

What is it really like to be a television producer or a master brewer? Is life as a ship's pilot exciting and carefree or lonely and cold? Does a helicopter pilot have a better life than a glass blower? Can a flat packed furniture fetish earn you your keep?

Peter Cross, a broadsheet journalist, has turned his concern and curiosity to all aspects of men's work. The result is an interesting and varied careers book which breaks new ground. The quality and variety of seventy five personal accounts of what working in traditional and new media, performing arts, consultancy, business, music, catering, self-taught crafts and on the high street make this an informative resource.

This is not just an ideal gift for school leavers or recent graduates. Any man fed up with his daily grind will find ideas and inspiration here.

Jobs for the Boys: An Essential Career Choice Guide for Men
by Peter Cross
  Similar to Peter Cross's previous book, "Earning a Crust", on careers for women, this book presents discussions with a wide range of men who live and work for their jobs. The jobs in question are not necessarily those that a job-seeker would look for first, so they should provide an inspiration for readers to look further afield and consider some occupations they might not even have thought of. There are around 75 interviews in the book, presenting insights into employment possibilities and opportunities. The jobs range across most industries and include descriptions of the working lives of men who really know what those jobs are like. They reveal the downsides of their work, as well as the highs, so that readers can see their own suitability or otherwise for these unusual occupations. The book contains contact details, trade organizations and useable references. As with "Earning a Crust", the book is suitable for both men and women.
 More information and prices from:
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - euros

See also Earning a Crust


Scuba Diving & Snorkeling For Dummies
by John Newman
  This friendly guide for the novice scuba diver shows you how to dive right into snorkeling and scuba. Veteran scuba diver John Newman leads you step-by-step through pre-dive fundamentals, explains what to expect when you're underwater, and describes options available to you after you get your feet wet.
  More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros



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