Book Review – The Last Dive by Bernie Chowdhury

It’s not surprising to hear every other month about how a recreational diver has gone ‘missing’ or met his maker whilst scuba diving. Even experienced divers often meet their end during routine dives. Recent examples of the same would be the incidents of the former Thai Navy SEAL and the Indonesian Rescue Diver this week. While these divers succumbed to faulty equipment and decompression related troubles The Last Dive by Bernie Chowdhury focuses on a father-son Tec-diving duo and the Andrea Doria – the Mount Everest of Diving.

The book is 355 pages long and is written in a very lucid and simple style. The author (Bernie Chowdhury) is an accomplished Technical Diver himself. Founder and co-publisher of the International Tec Diving Mag, he has dived the Andrea Doria and recovered artifacts from the site himself.

Contents of the Book

The Last Dive by Bernie Chowdhury starts with the description of the family, namely Chris and Chrissy Rouse, a father-son diving duo. It chronicles the family’s fascination with outdoor adventures and the wilderness. An initially reluctant Chrissy is encouraged by his father to take to SCUBA diving during his early years as a family building exercise.

The book intersperses the Rouse family life with that of the development of the diving world and the advent of mixed gas diving, after the initial hiccups faced by the diving pioneers. The book also speaks about the works and efforts of various pioneers such as Sheck Exley and others who brought Technical diving to the mainstream and commercialized the use of mixed gas diving.

The Last Dive by Bernie Chowdhury

The book is written in a very simple and lucid tone. In fact, the book would make for an interesting (not engaging) read for even a layman/woman who is not familiar with the world of diving. A layman reader will enjoy reading about the progress and struggles of the Rousey family in tandem with the development of diving.

The book also contains tidbits of information pertaining to CCRs and different techniques and diving procedures which make for an interesting read.

What’s missing?

While The Last Dive by Bernie Chowdhury has been written in a very simple and easy to understand tone, it fails to engage and grip the reader, unlike many other books. There were times where my keenness in the diving world helped me to struggle past the boring and monotonous parts of the book.

The book also does not contain any scientific knowledge on the subject. However, it gives an interesting glimpse into the world of diving lore and the East Coast Diving Scene of the United States of America. Bernie Chowdhury, son to immigrants from different countries, also reminisces as to how he felt a belonging to the diving clique of the east coast.

Final Thoughts

I warmly recommend the book, especially for people who are diving/looking to get into diving or make the shift into technical diving. If possible I’d recommend that you purchase a second-hand copy of the book. You can also check out my book review on SCUBA accidents here.

For non-divers or those who are not related to/interested in this field – you can give The Last Dive by Bernie Chowdhury a miss.

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