Friday, November 14, 2008

Raising the Dead


by Phillip Finch (Harper Collins Publishers, 2008)

This book is the most gripping and challenging I have ever read! It is the true story of the retrieval of the body of a young man who went missing at the bottom of Bushman's Cave in the Kalahari Desert 10 years earlier.

I remember hearing it on the news. On New Year's Day 2005, Australian Dave Shaw (an airline captain), together with his diving buddy, Don Shirley, and a full support team, were going to make an attempt to retrieve the body which lay at the bottom of the water-filled cave about 900 feet below the surface.
I also remember counting the hours till we would hear news of the outcome of their mission, and then the shock of hearing Dave Shaw had lost his life.

As 'extreme' divers they used the most advanced diving equipment and a mixture of breathing gases. It was only in reading the book that I appreciated the planning and rehearsals that went into this dive and just how knowledgeable and experienced these men were. As 'extreme' divers they used the most advanced diving equipment and a mixture of breathing gases which they calculated and mixed themselves, often altering mixes for depth during the dive itself.

The book transported me on a trip into another world where I was conscious of every breath I inhaled as I read. It is, to me, an amazing true story
of pushing incredible boundaries of human endurance, of mateship and trust, and of Dave's wife's unconditional love.

Just the thought of entering the cave through a crack in the rock below the pool of water, and into the depths in complete darkness other than the torches they carried, had my adrenalin flowing - and that was just the start of the dive!


Alice said...

I remember seeing a program about the attempted rescue on TV. How sad that all that planning and courage should have been thwarted by a rope getting caught and unable to be freed.

Absolute courage and the desire to retrieve that diver's body and return it to his family. I haven't read the book, though.

Alice said...

Sorry - I sort of gave away the story. Feel free to delete the comment if you like, Noella.

Noella said...

Alice, no problems with your comment.

Every page of the book contains its own amazement. Also, there is so much more to what happened with the rope!

You'll just have to read the book now! (I requested from our Library and was the first to read it, brand new!)