I Thought I Saw Atlantis

By Michelle Danner

I Thought I Saw Atlantis, by Albert Tillman; Whalestooth Farm Publications.
In the ever-growing sport of scuba diving, it is easy to forget where it all began. Albert Tillman, one of the sport’s pioneers, writes in I Thought I Saw Atlantis, about his adventures and misadventures in scuba diving spanning over the past 50 years. His firsthand accounts of diving reminds divers why they love the sport so much: It is a spiritual adventure one cannot find
on land.

It is thrilling to read Tillman’s tales: His adventures range from experimenting with shower curtains as suitable diving attire (long before wetsuits were invented), to instructing Walter Cronkite, to the historical Keller Dive in 1962. Tillman was also part of establishing both the first public SCUBA instruction classes in Los Angeles County, as well as founding NAUI.

The stories Tillman shares with his readers embrace the true love of a sport that is now shared by many. Chapters of how he and colleagues discovered unknown locales are only fairy tales for present-day divers. When Tillman started diving, the only thing he shared the ocean with was the fish. The water that divers explore today was untouched then. As he puts it: “… we early divers got to go places where no one had ever been before.”

Sharks and Rays of the World, by Doug Perrine; Voyageur Press. (800) 888-9653, www.voyageurpress.com
For those who fear the unknown, Sharks and Rays of the World, by Doug Perrine, is an informative and beautifully photographed book of two fascinating creatures. Perrine takes the reader through the evolution of sharks and rays, illustrating the closeness¬†between the species’ relationship and their development.

Perrine debunks the myth that sharks and rays have not changed over time by detailing their origin and ancestry so that readers can better understand the natural history of the two. The book begins with a historical account of the creatures’ evolution, then progresses to their sensory capabilities (did you know a shark can detect injured fish from miles away?), eating habits, survival techniques, genetics, shark attacks (most human attacks are actually shark “defenses”), classification of both species and, finally, diving with sharks and rays.

The reader will truly appreciate these creatures after reading Sharks and Rays of the World. It will calm fear of the unknown, replacing it with an admiration for sharks, rays and the habitat in which they live.

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