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August 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 32, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Book Review – Muck Diving by Nigel Marsh

from the August, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now


Muck Diving book

There was a time when divers only wanted to see marine animals that were spectacularly large. No more. More and more divers are becoming underwater photographers and reveling in pictures of animals that are difficult to see with the naked eye alone.

For example, St. Vincent was once only known for lackluster Caribbean diving until Bill Tewes discovered how good the macro-life was. He made it the muck diving capital of the Caribbean. When it comes to Indonesia, some thought pioneer dive guide Larry Smith had been out of Texas too long when he declared that "things were smaller round here." Even lifeless lakes and quarries have turned up the minutia of aquatic life for divers with a discerning eye.

So given that muck diving has become a global phenomenon, the critter identification guide has become almost as essential at dive resorts and on dive boats as the compressor that fills our tanks. Worthy as most of these invertebrate ID guides are, they can be something of a dry read and not set aside for bedside reading. That's not something one would say of Muck Diving - a Diver's Guide to the Wonderful World of Critters by Nigel Marsh.

Australian underwater photographer and journalist Nigel Marsh has put together a book on muck diving that encompasses the Indo-Pacific, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, PNG and Timor Leste. He credits Bob Halstead and Neville Coleman (he has a log of nudibranchs bearing his name) as the first to coin the phrase "muck diving."

Muck Diving is more than an identification guide. The author explores different muck environments, the history of muck diving, simple yet successful diving and photo techniques and the indispensability of a good local guide.

The second part of the book provides information about most of the critters you are likely to encounter, while the third part deals with the best places to find them. It's a great read -- 352 pages packed with pictures and information, and enclosed in a water-repellent cover! Finally, the book includes a comprehensive list of dive operations specializing in muck diving. It costs $19.99 through Amazon. Click here.

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