Love, life & Neutral Buoyancy
Tim Ecott's book Neutral Buoyancy has been described by Tony Parsons as
'The Fever Pitch of scuba diving'. Published in June, it has been acclaimed in the quality press and frequently haunts the top 100 best-selling books on Amazon. A book about diving with mass appeal is a rare commodity
but as Tim Ecott is something of a Dive Girl regular,
it wasn't too hard to secure an interview...
DG Neutral Buoyancy is non-fiction, but it's quite unlike any other book about diving - what inspired you to write it?
I find the underwater world and the experience of diving amazing. A lot of divers seem to be quite coy about expressing the joy of being under water. In the book I've tried to put it across in a way that will help non-divers to understand why divers love diving.
Hopefully it'll encourage more people to dive and experience it for themselves. I like to think that when people see the underwater environment they will be moved to protect it. Hearing about the destruction of coral reefs doesn't always mean very much. Sometimes you have to see it for yourself for it to make sense.
DG Women often get ignored in books about diving, but they get quite a big mention in Neutral Buoyancy...
The book opens as I take up diving - just after my mother died. I feel very sad that I never got to share the experience with her.
I also regret that she died before I met Jessica, my wife, and had children. You want to share important things like that with people you love.
The women divers I met while researching the book - Lotte Hass, Dotty Parker - are amazing characters. You can't help but be impressed by them. The roles they played in diving are important, and I'm surprised they get overlooked so often.
DG You also describe how you fell in love under water...
That's right! It's all in there. The book also closes with a description of a truly memorable dive I did with my wife Jessica.
If women seem to have a central role in the book, I guess that's a reflection of how I feel about women myself.
DG I think your book is unusual because a lot of men tend to separate their feelings and relationships from their diving.
Perhaps. I certainly met some testosterone and ego-driven characters during the research for the book. Most divers, especially the pioneering ones, are very focused on what they do. The women in diving are interesting because they often have a more rounded view, which makes them a lot more likeable! Some of the men are just busy acting out their role as a hero figure.
I think a lot of women's achievements in diving get overlooked because there's this ridiculous view that 'it can't be all that difficult or dangerous if a woman can do it'!
DG You've done an awful lot of diving. Who was your favourite dive buddy?
Jessica! Actually there was this one guy - an ex-RAF pilot - I used to dive with in the Seychelles. He had absolutely no ego when it came to getting under water. He wasn't trying to prove anything, his kit was really old and battered, and he wasn't interested in taking any risks. He took such innocent, uncomplicated joy in his diving.
That's what I love about being under water - it equates to a kind of perfectly happy child-like state. When you dive you go into another world where you're simply concentrating on being in that place, and its always good if you know what to look for.
DG That sounds very Zen and the Art of Scuba Diving
Actually it's more like that car sticker:
A bad dive is always better than a
good day at the office!
You can buy Tim Ecott's book Neutral Buoyancy for the special discounted price of £10.39 (usual price £12.99) through www.divernet.com/books/0801books.htm
Scroll down the page and click on the button opposite the review.