Although the Andrea Doria sank lies 240 feet beneath the foaming Atlantic, it is still claiming victims. Dubbed "the Mt. Everest of diving," this silt-layered rusty wreck has lured at least a dozen divers to their deaths, including five in one season. In Deep Descent, Kevin McMurray, an award-winning journalist and an experienced scuba diver, explains why adventurers continue to brave the strong and unpredictable currents around the toppled hulk of the fallen liner. Fifty photographs show even cowardly landlubbers why men dive headlong into uncertain futures in an unforgiving sea.
This is a book you will have a hard time putting down. Page after page leads you through adventure, mystery, suspense, and acts of heroism.
In 1956, on her maiden voyage to New York, traveling at 21 knots in thick fog, the passenger liner Andrea Doria collided with the Swedish steamship Stockholm and sunk 160 miles off the coast of New York. McMurray, a skilled diver and adventure journalist who has written for Outside, Yankee, Men's Journal, Rock & Ice, and the New York Times, chronicles the underwater exploration of the wreck site by amateur divers in search of souvenirs. Because the Andrea Doria lies at a depth of 235', divers visiting the wreck exceed the maximum safe depth of 130' recommended for scuba diving and must use special dry suits and exotic breathing gear to avoid the "bends" when resurfacing. Two dive boats, the Wahoo and the Seeker, specialize in charter expeditions to the site, and though they are skippered by experienced and responsible crews with the latest equipment, there have been 12 deaths associated with the wreck. McMurray describes his own underwater experiences visiting the wreck and interviews crew and dive buddies so that he can vividly re-create each fatality. The result is a good history of noncommercial deep diving and a solid account of the sinking of the Andrea Doria. Exciting and powerful, this account is highly recommended for public libraries. John Kenny, San Francisco P.L. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A freelance journalist and skilled diver chronicles the lives and deaths of those who have explored the wreck of the Andrea Doria. In July 1956, the luxury liner Andrea Doria, inbound from Italy, collided in the fog south of Nantucket Island with an outbound Swedish liner Stockholm, which chugged back into port carrying hundreds of survivors. Andrea Doria, with 51 of her 1,706 passengers dead, headed for the bottom, 235 feet below, where for the past half-century she has lain as a kind of Holy Grail for scuba divers. McMurray claims a kind of mystical attachment to the wreck: "I was destined to dive the Doria," he declares. He remembers seeing the vessel in his boyhood, and as he grew older he became a dedicated, adventurous diver. When he departed for his first descent to Doriaa highly technical, challenging, and expensive dive dubbed the "Mount Everest of wreck diving"his wife said simply: " ‘Don't get killed, asshole.' " He didn't, but quite a few others did. After an opening chapter relating the 1985 death of diver John Ormsby, McMurray charts the history of the Andrea Doria before returning to sketch his diving autobiography. From then on (his bona fides established), he fashions a virtual Book of the Dead as he tells the stories of the dozen divers who have perished at the site, including an incredible five in one season (199899). (In questionable taste are the superfluous photographs of recoveriesthere are three alone of the dead Ormsby.) Some succumbed to what is called "china fever"the passion to acquire dinnerware with the Doria logoand in their excitement they jettisoned their prudence. Others were unlucky, some unhealthy, somecarelessmaybe even stupid. McMurray knows his stuff, and the portraits of the various (and often competing) personalities are clear and compelling. His conclusion, however, is a bit anticlimactic: "There are no easy answers. . . . Shit happens." Occasionally (and understandably) macho in tone, but full of high drama in low places. (1 map, 50 b&w photographs)
Clive Cussler A compelling masterwork of the greatest shipwreck killer in maritime history. McMurray involves you in the life-and-death drama as if you are actually diving in the depths.
Library Journal Exciting and powerful.
The Philadelphia Inquirer This is a book you will have a hard time putting down. Page after page leads you through adventure, mystery, suspense, and acts of heroism.
Kirkus Reviews McMurray knows his stuff...Compelling...Full of high drama in low places.