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3 October 2018. Deeper into the Darkness

With the publication of Deeper into the Darkness at the end of August this completes the trilogy of my true life diving adventures, which now runs from the early 1980's right through the development of our sport with deep air, Open Circuit Trimix and on to mixed gas Closed Circuit rebreather diving. In the latest book I dive some of the most famous WWI technical wrecks around the UK and in the Pacific at Truk, Palau and Guadalcanal. A new developemnt is that I've added in QR links at the appropriate places on the dives so that you can nip over to my YouTube channel and see the actual dive I've been writing about. 

 
4 August 2018. Into the Abyss - Diving to Adventure in the Liquid World is published

Just received my advance author copies of Into the Abyss - Diving to Adventure in the Liquid World. It has been re-issued as Vol I of my Diving Trilogy. Great fun re-reading it (in a dispassionate 3rd party way!) and re-living all my old adventures. Love the production work by Whittles, the cover looks really great and zippy, and the feel and design of the book is grand.

Vol III, Deeper into the Darkness - the printed books are expected in my publishers warehouse next week. Cant wait to see it a reality.

 
25 July 2018. Stoney Haar (II)

I sold my 7m dive RIB Stoney Haar last November - as I thought my days diving from RIB's were over. This is the first period since 1981 that I have not owned a boat - and I have absolutely hated been land bound!

I cracked 2 weeks ago and went and bought myself a nice black Humber Destroyer RIB, which I'm working on to bring up to speed as a dive RIB. There's still a lot of adventures to be had out there - and I'm not finished with the sea quite yet!

 
24 July 2018. Deeper into the Darkness & Into the Abyss

A few technical issues have held up the release of the reissue of Into the Abyss - Diving to Adventure in the Liquid World as Vol I of the Diving Trilogy and publication of my new book Deeper into the Darkness as Vol III. 

However, all is now sorted out and they are both set to publish on 31 July - cant wait to see them a reality.

I finished the manuscript for Deeper into the Darkness about 9 months ago - so it will be great to read it again and find out what I wrote!

 
Bibliography
Underwater Potholer. Duncan Price. Whittles Dive Series Vol 1.

 

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The 1st book in the new Whittles Publishing Dive Series  

 
   

 

 

 
Diving for Treasure. Vic Verlinden & Stefan Panis. Whittles Dive Series Vol 2.

 

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Shipwrecks of Truk Lagoon

altEach of the 21 shipwreck illustrations created for Dive Truk Lagoon now features on a full page so you can appreciate the intricate details of these wonderful shipwrecks. Salient cargoes and ship's features are highlighted and on the facing page each vessel has a topside black & white archive photo of the vessel afloat (where available) along with a little text about the vessel's construction, sea career and eventual demise at the hands of the U.S. carrier aircraft of Task Force 58 on 17&18 February 1944.

 
Dive Palau

dive palauDive Palau - released at the beginning of 2016 in time for the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. Operation Desecrate 1, which sank all the Japanese shipping found in Palau on 30/31 March 1944 - just 6 weeks after a mirror image raid neutralised Truk Lagoon.

 
Dive Truk Lagoon

Dive Truk Lagoon book coverOn 17 February 1944, Operation Hailstone, the U.S. air assault on the Japanese naval stronghold of Truk Lagoon, began. After a stealth approach to the Lagoon, at dawn a wave of 70 Hellcat fighters roared across the Lagoon knocking out Japanese air cover in a few hours. The Japanese merchant fleet and many naval vessels were caught off guard and sunk over the two days of the operation. The bottom of the Lagoon became scattered with shot down Japanese aircraft. The war soon moved westwards towards Japan and victory and the sunken fleet, still filled with war cargoes of tanks, aircraft, munitions and artillery was forgotten about. In 1969 Jacques Cousteau led an expedition to Truk Lagoon to trace and film the Japanese WWII shipwrecks and the resulting TV documentary, Lagoon of Lost Ships became an international sensation overnight - Truk Lagoon had become the most famous shipwreck diving location in the world. Although Cousteau found many of the wrecks, some were not found and others lay in waters too deep for conventional scuba diving. Slowly, over the years more of the lost ships have been found and advances in diving technology have allowed divers to visit the deeper wrecks. Today Truk has almost 50 major shipwrecks and Japanese aircraft to explore - an unparalled number of major shipwrecks, each a sunken legacy of the inhumanity of war. Rod Macdonald has produced a beautifully illustrated book setting out the run up to and execution of Operation Hailstone - and focussing in detail on 38 of the most significant wrecks in the Lagoon and many of the Japanese aircraft wrecks. Full colour illustrations of the most major shipwrecks combine with detailed line drawings and stunning underwater photography for the first time to reveal to divers planning their dives exactly what they can expect when they slip beneath the azure waters of the Lagoon. This book will appeal not just to divers but to anyone interested in WWII, its legacy, its shipwrecks and simply to those folk just interested in the sea.

 
Force Z Shipwrecks of the South China Sea: HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse

book coverThe tragedy of the loss in 1941 of two Royal Navy capital ships, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, the core of Churchill's deterrent Force Z, stunned the world. Churchill had hoped that sending a small powerful squadron of ships to Singapore would deter a threatened Japanese invasion of Malaya and Thailand. He was to be proved tragically wrong. Denuded of aircraft cover, Force Z was left disastrously exposed to air attack. Within eight days of their arrival at Singapore both ships were sunk with huge loss of life in a mass attack by 85 Japanese bombers. It was the Royal Navy's greatest loss in a single engagement and the first time a modern battleship had been sunk by air power. With the naval force at the bottom of the sea, and the RAF almost wiped out in Malaya on day one, Singapore was left with no air or sea protection and fell two months later. This is the first book to explore in detail the wrecks of these two vessels and grippingly narrates a summary of the Japanese threat, Fortress Singapore and the subsequent Japanese invasion. Today the wrecks of these two famous British warships lie on the bottom of the South China Sea, 200 miles north of Singapore and 50 miles offshore. The author was invited as a civilian expert on a military expedition to dive and survey these wrecks and now, for the first time, the wrecks are revealed as they are today. Beautifully illustrated with specially commissioned artist's illustrations of the wrecks, each one is looked at in detail. The story of the loss of these two ships, and of the sacrifice of the men who served in them, is remembered. This has been a personal quest for the author whose grandfather was serving in Singapore when Force Z arrived. His wife and the author's father and two brothers were among the last civilians evacuated from Singapore before the final siege. His grandfather was taken into internment at Changi Gaol by the Japanese and suffered there for three years until Singapore was reoccupied by the British in 1945. Had the Fall of Singapore not happened the way it did the author would not be here to write this truly remarkable book.

 
Great British Shipwrecks

Great British Shipwrecks CoverFor more than 30 years, internationally acclaimed wreck diver and best selling author, Rod Macdonald, has surveyed and researched shipwrecks around the world. His books such as Dive Scapa Flow and The Darkness Below are household names in the diving world.
In Great British Shipwrecks Rod uses his encyclopedic knowledge and an intimate understanding of shipwrecks, gleaned from a lifetimes diving, to provide a snap shot in time of some of the best known and most revered shipwrecks around the UK. For each shipwreck covered Rod provides a dramatic account of its time afloat and its eventual sinking with each wreck being beautifully illustrated by renowned marine artist Rob Ward.
Rods journey around the UK starts with the classic recreational diving shipwrecks at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands from giants such as the German WWI battleships, Markgraf, Knig and Kronprinz Wilhelm, the upside down half buried Bayern 15-inch gun turrets to the legendary WWI British cruiser HMS Hampshire on which Lord Kitchener perished in 1916 on a voyage to Russia.
Next, Rod travels the length of the UK to the English Channel where he covers such famous ships as the P&O liners Moldavia and Salsette, both lost during WWI as well as many others including the SS Kyarra and the British submarine HMS/M M2 - the first submarine to carry a seaplane for reconnaissance.
From there Rod takes us to the North Channel of the Irish Sea where the famous technical diving wrecks of the White Star liner Justicia, HMS Audacious, the first British battleship lost during WWI and the SS Empire Heritage, lost with its deck cargo of Sherman tanks on a voyage from New York during WWII, are beautifully illustrated.
Rod then takes us back to Scotland where one by one the famous West Coast shipwrecks such as the Thesis, Hispania, Rondo and Shuna in the Sound of Mull grace the pages in addition to the renowned wrecks of the SS Breda, lost near Oban during WWII and the WWII minelayer HMS Port Napier off Skye.
Finally Rod covers some major North Sea shipwrecks - revealing for the first time the haunting remains of HMS Pathfinder, the first Royal Navy warship to be sunk by U-boat torpedo during WWI.
This book is an essential must have for anyone interested in what lies beneath Britains seas. In this book UK divers will find many wrecks they have personally dived and many more still on their to do list. Non-divers will marvel at sights hidden from view in the dark depths of Britains waters in this beautifully illustrated and definitive guide to the greatest shipwrecks around the UK.

 
The Darkness Below

The Darkness BelowFrom the best-selling author of four classic UK diving books, comes The Darkness Below - a collection of absorbing adventures gained from a lifetime in diving. As one of the UK's leading Technical Divers, Rod takes the reader on a spellbinding and gripping journey, from first beginnings as a novice scuba diver. Told in intimate detail with a beguiling sense of self-deprecating humour, he recounts epic dives on some of the most fabulous shipwrecks around the world. Terrifying first explorations of virgin shipwrecks far offshore, lost in time and enshrouded in darkness in the silent depths, cram the pages. A daring expedition into the heart of the feared Corryvreckan whirlpool, the third largest in the world, an open sea encounter with Orca killer whales and an agonizing attack of the bends keep the reader engrossed. The palpable gloom, despair and human tragedy of the wrecks is never far away - the cold and darkness of the depths almost resonating with the cries of those who have perished. The fear of entrapment inside a wreck is grippingly described and becomes almost claustrophobic to the reader unfamiliar with the perils of wreck penetration, when snagged nets sometimes billow unseen above the unwary diver. However, there are rewards when survivors from wrecks are keen to speak to someone who has seen and touched their ship that had been lost long ago. This is an unmissable book for all divers and anyone interested in maritime history.

 
Dive Scapa Flow

 

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Dive Scapa Flow is a comprehensive and practical guide to the  spectacular and famous Orkney wrecks – the colossal, intact  remains of the scuttled WWI German fleet, U-boats, steamers, tugs and Churchill’s extraordinary ‘Blockships’.

The 100th anniversary edition includes stunning illustrations of the wrecks as they lie on the seabed together with breathtaking digital scans of the wrecks and new underwater photography.

An essential companion for discovering the underwater secrets and intriguing naval history of Britain’s most popular dive site, Dive Scapa Flow comes complete with new illustrations, photographs and charts.

 
 
 
Dive Scotland's Greatest Wrecks

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Scotland's rugged coastline is littered with almost 20,000 wrecks. Rod Macdonald has selected 14 of the most famous of these lying within the realm of the scuba diver, from the Sound of Mull wrecks such as the Hispania, Rondo, Thesis and Shuna to the Breda off Oban and HMS Port Napier off Skye. Rod also covers some of the world famous Scapa Flow wrecks such as the German WWI battleship Kronprinz Wilhelm and the light cruiser Coln.

 

A full chapter is devoted to each wreck with a historical account of the vessel and its sinking followed by a detailed description of the wreck as it lies on the seabed today and essential information for the diver planning a visit. An indespensible aide to anyone interested in Scottish wreck diving.

 
 
Dive England's Greatest Wrecks

altBritish history is irrevocably tied to the sea. The progress and very survival of this island nation has depended in large part upon the development of its naval fleet and on maritime engineering and overseas trade. For centuries Britannia did indeed rule the waves and at one time a huge percentage of all ships made in the world were constructed in Britain. While those days are now largely over, a tantalising sunken treasury of Britain's glorious naval past lies waiting to be explored at the bottom of the sea in the countless wrecks that lie around Britain's shores.

Dive England's Greatest Wrecks is the perfect companion for any diver interested in exploring England's most exciting shipwrecks, preserved as time capsules of an era of sea power and majesty that has now passed into the history books. Among the ten featured here are the Salsette off Weymouth, arguably England's most famous shipwreck; the SS Kyarra off Dorset; the British submarine M2 and the pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Hood, both lying off Portland; the American Liberty ship James Eagan Layne off Plymouth; and the fabulous P&O liner Moldavia.

Along with the history of each vessel and the dramatic account of how it was wrecked, there is essential diver information detailing how the wreck lies today, along with depths, tides and other points of interest. Each of the wrecks is vividly brought to life by specially commissioned stunning paintings showing the vessels as they lie on the seabed today.

 
 
Into the Abyss

To many people, simply leaving the comforting security of dry land an d stepping onto a boat can be a terrifying ordeal. And to deliberately journey 10-20 miles offshore into hostile, powerful waters before diving down into those waters seeking untouched, virgin shipwrecks - often in the pitch blackness of deep water - seems incomprehensible. For Rod MacDonald, however it has been an all-consuming passion since he first started diving in 1982.


Into the Abyss charts the dramatic highs and lows of MacDonald's diving career; one that has been packed full of incident, drama and excitement and has taken him to all of the great shipwreck sites of the world. From the sunken Japanese Fleet at the bottom of Truk Lagoon and Palau in the Pacific to diving into the third largest whirlpool in the world - The Corryvwrecken Whirlpool off the west coast of Scotland - MacDonald's work has taken him on a spell-binding journey beneath the seas, one that is now remarkably chronicled in this enthralling collection of diving experiences. Along the way, the excitement, the successes and the near tragic failures are reflected upon, and MacDonald urges readers to overcome some of Man's deepest fears as he takes them on a journey deep into the abyss in search of long lost shipwrecks around the world.

Read the Introduction here!

 
Jutland to Junkyard

Jutland to JunkyardScapa Flow is a dramatic and windswept expanse of water some 12 miles across and almost completely encircled by the islands of Orkney. For centuries it has been a safe, sheltered and heavily defended anchorage for the Royal Navy. Great warships have come and gone. Dramatic deeds are an integral part of its past. Countless military man hours have gone into defensive planning and endeavour to render this great naval anchorage safe and impregnable to our war time enemies. Those enemies in turn have gone to similar lengths in attempting to find a way through those defences to attack valuable Allied shipping.

 

Even today more than half a century after the end of World War II all around the sea passages into the Flow empty gun emplacements and barracks bear silent witness to its war time role. In the dark depths of Scapa Flow lie countless testaments to man's inhumanity to man. U-boats attempting to penetrate into the Flow to attack Allied shipping have been depth charged, or sunk by a controlled mine explosion after the sound of their engines had been picked up by detector cables laid across the seabed. Countless other vessels have come to grief in the Flow. Others have been sunk deliberately in attempts to block the minor sea passages. The seabed is littered with the legacy of its maritime past.

Read more... [Jutland to Junkyard]