Dive Into a Mystery Novel About Scuba DivingJuly 11, 2023
No doubt you’ve seen Hollywood movies that showed scuba divers swimming in a beautiful underwater scene. Scuba diving is an easy and fun outdoor recreation. Colorful fish, exotic plants, unusual coral and crystal blue water are fascinating. No wonder more and more people are drawn to give scuba diving a try.
Breath-hold diving can be used to collect pearls, sponges and valuable trinkets from the sea but swimming underwater for long periods of time requires some type of underwater breathing apparatus. Tanks of compressed air allow a scuba diver to stay underwater longer than breath-holding techniques used in snorkeling and free-diving.
The term SCUBA is an acronym for “Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.” It originally referred to USA combat frogmen’s oxygen re-breathers, developed for underwater warfare. You’ve probably seen photos of an old-fashioned heavy-weight scuba diving hoodies, but you may not have known it was called a “diving bell.” The suit used by divers several centuries ago held the diver underwater with lead weights in the boots. Air was pumped from the surface through a hose to the back of the round, metal helmet. Air bubbles were constantly in the diver’s face inhibiting visibility. Back then, not everyone could participate in underwater exploration.
Thanks to recent advances in technology and mechanics, people can safely explore the ocean using a comfortable, light-weight wet-suit with a self-contained air delivery system containing compressed gas. The diver inhales the air from a tank he or she carries on their back and then exhales into the water. Much easier! And, there’s no worry about disconnecting from the surface air and not being able to rise. Fins worn on the feet allow a diver to move smoothly through the water much like a fish.
Recreational scuba diving is available to the average person for only a modest investment in equipment. The typical set-up is the one you see in most photographs. Must haves are: a mask, mouthpiece, fins, and an air tank. A wetsuit is optional although most people do prefer to use them. A dive computer and a compass are nice to have, but a knife certainly comes in handy if you find entangling items like old fishing line. Some divers use a DPV (diver propulsion vehicle), also known as a “scooter,” but they really aren’t practical for ordinary diving. They now have BCDs (Buoyancy Compensator Devices) specifically cut for women. That’s the vest that the air tank fastens to. The hose that attaches to the regulator (mouthpiece) goes over your shoulder to the air tank.
If you don’t want to purchase your own equipment, you can rent the necessary gear at a dive shop. Many shops offer a guided dive with a master diver. Just strap on the tanks and swim from the shore or the back of a chartered boat.
Author Charlie Hudson started diving in 1994 when she and her husband were stationed in Hawaii. Since then, they have gone scuba diving in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the Graveyard of the Atlantic (in North Carolina), and St. Thomas. They recently moved to South Florida specifically because of Florida Keys diving. They’ve been diving with manta rays, reef sharks and on some interesting shipwrecks including a German U-boat from World War II.
Charlie enjoys diving for pleasure, but her husband took his love of scuba diving to the next level. He is now a scuba diving instructor. That is one of the things that inspired Charlie to incorporate scuba diving into the story of her latest murder/mystery book SHADES OF GOLD. Chris Green is one of the main characters in the novel. Chris is a scuba diving instructor and owner of a local dive shop. She has been hired to give scuba lessons to the handsome lead actor and other members of the Hollywood film cast. The dive shop is also the scene of a crime, and that means an investigation is called for.