Crustacea Guide of the World

by Helmut Debelius

Crustacea Guide of the World, by Helmut Debelius; IKAN Publications. E-mail:,

In his acknowledgement, author Helmut Debelius cites a Chinese proverb: “The beginning of wisdom is getting things by their right name.” In his book, Crustacea Guide of the World, Debelius sets out to aid in this wisdom, drawing on his years of diving experience and his intrigue of the “insects of the ocean” to create a comprehensive guide.

Some nice additions to the book are snippets of dive stories and factual sidenotes that accompany each section. In fact, a Skin Diver contributor, Eric Hanauer, shares his own story about crustaceans off the Southern California coast where he describes a remarkable underwater scene: hundreds of Spider Crabs on the ocean’s floor.

Debelius does an admirable job of classifying and defining the numerous crustacean families for his readers. Superb photography, anecdotes and easy-to-find classification make this guide a must-have for anyone who loves marine “insects” as much as Debelius.

Homo Delphinus, The Dolphin Within Man, by Jacques Mayol; Idelson-Gnocchi Scientific Publications. (352) 591-1136,

The book, Homo Delphinus, The Dolphin Within Man, is ultimately about the relationship between man and dolphin. But it is also a spiritual and extraordinary journey through the life of author Jacques Mayol. This, however, is not Mayol’s purpose.

Written in first person, Homo Delphinus’ objective is to inform and educate its readers, which is clearly stated in the introduction: “In this book on apnea, I have attempted to open new windows onto the mystery of our mother, the sea, and to deepen the spiritual links that unite us to the sea and to dolphins.”

Spirituality is an integral part of Mayol’s work. Raised in Japan, he developed an interest in Eastern philosophy. Mayol discusses the influence of yoga on his dives. He has also studied Greek history and the history of apnea in relationship to diving. Beyond this extensive research and knowledge, other accomplishments include his famous 100-meter freedive (the first to do so at this depth), starring in and working on The Big Blue and the Homo Delphinus project.

Mayol has the ability to intertwine philosophy and science to explore his theories. He cites ancient diving practices and scientific data from his experiments in freediving and evolution to strengthen his theory on the similarities between man and dolphin. Most impressive, however, is his ability to swim with these creatures in harmony: This is his greatest proof of the dolphin within man.

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