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Last Dive: A Father and Son's Fatal Descent Into the Ocean's Depths

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2006

    A intriguing study of what drives risk takers

    Bringing their only child into the world, and making a lifetime commitment to each other, changed everything for Chris and Sue Rouse when they faced her unplanned pregnancy. Chris was 18 years old, and still in high school, when Chris Jr. - known throughout his life as 'Chrissy' - arrived. Sue gave up her dreams of college, a career, and world travel so the young couple could build a business and a family instead. Eventually they succeeded so well financially that Chris could afford such hobbies as owning his own small airplane. Then he discovered scuba diving, a sport to which he promptly introduced both Sue and Chrissy and the Rouse family's lives changed again. Never inclined toward doing anything by halves, they soon moved from recreational diving - a relatively safe pursuit - to the adrenaline rush of cave diving. The Rouses earned respect in a remarkably short time among their fellow cave divers, as they made hundreds of dives and thoroughly mastered that incredibly dangerous sport. Next Chris and Chrissy turned their attention to open ocean wreck diving, to which they applied their cave diving knowledge. Into this new and at least equally perilous (possibly more so) universe, Sue followed her men less eagerly. Chris and Chrissy found a kindred spirit in Bernie Chowdhury, a fellow cave diver also intrigued by transferring that sport's principles to diving inside shipwrecks. When Chowdhury survived an agonizing, temporarily crippling and potentially fatal case of the bends, after pushing his body and his skills too far during a wreck dive and being forced to choose between drowning and surfacing without hours of life-saving decompression, the Rouses listened to his story and hoped to learn from it. Yet they found themselves facing the same decision during a dive to the wreck of a mysterious German U-boat nicknamed the U-Who, after business reverses forced them to cut corners in supporting their expensive hobby. Was it that alone, trying to get by on compressed air on a dive so deep that the Rouses would have been safer breathing more expensive 'trimix' to avoid nitrogen narcosis? Or were there other factors, less obvious ones, leading up to the father and son team's fatal last dive? Author Chowdhury's book is only partly a loving memorial to his two friends' memory. It's also an analysis of what motivates, and often obsesses, not just cave and wreck divers but everyone who pursues extreme sports that require constant (and often escalating) risk of one's life. His fascination is rooted in his own terrifyingly close brush with not only death, but permanent physical disability. He's not only interested in why divers, mountain climbers, etc. pursue such sports he also wants to understand why such men and women are rarely deterred by hearing about, or even witnessing, others' fatal or crippling mishaps. While I notice that some other reviewers have not been pleased by Chowdury's personal narratives included in this book, I found those narratives completely necessary to achieving the author's purpose. I thought the same about the details of Rouse family life, which illuminated Chris and Chrissy's behavior as they made a series of decisions on what turned out to be their final morning alive. No, this isn't another SHADOW DIVERS. If you've read both books, you must have noticed and been puzzled - as I was - by the total disconnect between John Chatterton's behavior during the Coast Guard evacuation of the Rouses from the dive boat Seeker, as Chowdury described it here and as it's described (in entirely different terms) in SHADOW DIVERS. Chowdury isn't an accomplished author for whom writing is a career. He's simply a man with an important story to tell, who has in my opinion done a fine job of doing exactly that. Nothing more but nothing less, either.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    =(0.0)=

    Is this the 'light vs. dark' thing from the prophecy. Good! Keep it up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    |~|Novapaws Path|~|--chapter 1

    Hello guys, again, thank you for reading. Remember, the last one is the prolouge, so it does not have to have a ton of detail. Anyways, thanks! &psi "Novakit, come on! Stop mourning over a dead mouse!" Darkkit called as they treked through the forest. Darkkit had left the mouse that he had just tortured on the ground. They were five moons old by now. They left the foxes den in search of a place to call home. "But Darkkit, don't we have enough fresh mice? I mean, why are you taking this mouses life, if you only just leave it here?" Novakit said as she caught up to Winterkit, Foxkit, and Darkkit. Darkkit had grown large, considering that he was the third born. His yellow eyes ment death to all smaller things than him at first sight. Whitekkit had grown slender, and loved to scout ahead, with her sister, Foxkit, who had the same build. "Just for fun." Dakkit sneered darkly as a reply. "Darkkit, dont be so harsh on your little sister." Whitekit said as her white pelt stood out among Foxkits red, and Novakits and Darkits black. "Dont tell me what to do! I am the tom you know." He hissed as Whitekits pale blue eyes widened with shock. "Oh yeah, well I am the oldest! Ha!" Whitekit replyed quickly as she got in Darkkits face. Darkkit hissed and jumped onto his elder sister. Whitekit sidestepped, but it was off timed. Darkkit landed on top of her, and only then did Foxkit, Whitekit, and Novakit notice that his claws were unsheathed. They rolled about, thrashing in the dirt, kicking up sand. Whitekit was underneath Darkkit when Novakit ran over to Foxkit. "What do we do!" Novakit wailed. "We could run, but we don't know how fast you are." Foxkit said, never taking her green eyes off her siblings. "I am just as fast as you, maybe even faster." Novakit said. When Darkkit stayed on top of Whitekit, they realized that running wasn't an option. "Stop it!" Novakit and Foxkit cried in unison. When Whitekit and Darkkit didn't stop shedding each others blood, Novakit raced into them, knocking them apart. "Novakit! What are you doing!" Foxkit cried. "Stop your fight." Novakit growled. "Or else what?" Darkkit sneered. "You will have to kill me first." She meowed bravely. "Fine. We will only stop because you risked your life to stop me from killing your deadly sister." Darkkit meowed as he cleansed himself from blood, both his own, and Whitekits. Whitekit was suprisingly bot very hurt. "He missed a lot." Whitekit meowed when she noticed Foxkit and Novakit staring at her few wound with shock. The sun had started to set when they were all feeling better about the fight. "Lets camp here for the night." Whitekit meowed. They all agreed. Even Darkkit was to weary to object. They settled into thier makeshift den under a rosevush, and slept in profound silence. &psi Thank you for reading! Please rate and review my story. I must have at least one like to continue. Next story at next result! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2002

    Recommend to Read but had it's slow moments

    I remember watching on the Discovery Channel the taping of the U-Who boat and at one point the mentioning of the Father and Son who died trying to find out what U boat it was. Saw the book by chance and wanted to read more about them. I liked how the auther told how he didn't just write about the accident but, how they came to love diving, the only problem I had was how he ran on at times about the same thing over and over again almost drilling it into us or thinking we wouldn't remember that far back in the book something he already mention. All in all I really enjoyed the book and hope he plans to write more books he has potentioal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2001

    A must read for those interested in technical diving

    This is much more than just a tragic story of a father and son¿s death. It brings into focus the limits technical sport diving and the relevant physiology and psychology associated with this truly extreme sport. For those of us that sometimes dive at the recommended limits of recreational SCUBA diving, this book provides essential information that is never presented by the large recreational SCUBA certification agencies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2001

    Average Writing Somewhat Distracts, But Excellent Overall

    The Last Dive was a reccomended read by a fellow diver at my office. I enjoyed the book immensely and have reccomended it to others. The gripping narrative lead me to read the book in a day and a half. Any adventurer (particulary recreational divers and budding technical divers) will enjoy the sad true tale of the Rouse's last dive on the U869. The book explains well the technical and psychological obstacles that lead to the failed attempt to identify the mysterious submarine. My praise of the book is tempered only by a few problems in the writing and a bit of the content. I believe this is Chowdhury's first book and it shows in places. Controlling pace is sometimes difficult when a technical subject is discussed in such depth. Chowdhury is not yet Clancy in this area. Often the mundane is made too dramatic and obvious scenes languish for far too long. That being said, it is a good book and the slight flaws are overcome by the story and the majority of the writing is well done. My final complaint comes in the form of content. Chowdhury seems very selective in inclusion of certain technical leaders in the dive world. Most noticeably, Chowdhury repeatedly acknowledges Bill Stone's work in the Woodville Karst project in Florida, but omits the much greater work at the same system by George Irvine and the WKPP organization. Irvine is a staunch rival of Stone and has surpassed all of Stone's records at Woodville. Additionally, Irvine would never condone most of the diving practices discussed in the book leading to the death of the Rouse's and the near-death of Chowdhury himself. I wonder whether Chowdhury has intentionally ignored Irvine simply because he is aware of Irvine's scorn for using 'deep air' which is likely the root cause of all problems occurring in the book. Nevertheless - buy and read the book. It is very compelling.

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