Now this book is just plain fun. A warning up front, for a book about diving, there is remarkably little diving in it. Zinsley spends most of the book describing adventures in the life of a wandering SCUBA instructor/Dive Bum. His stories should never be told in a politically correct diver training evironment. The no drinking and diving rule is flaunted more than any other. His stories about some of his actual dives demonstrate that he`s probably explored some more advanced dive skills without any real training. At least one cave dive ended with the conclusion that he wouldn`t be trying that one again.
The locales he`s visited in his career are widely varied but he seems to end up in Palau over and over again. He definately has a soft spot for the South Pacific and his descriptions of its beauty and the borderline insanity of the lifestyle are great. I`m seriously considering going through the book again with google powered up and searching the areas he describes. I really wish he`d taken more pictures to put into this book, but I suspect that I can find the locations online if I try.
There is a glossary in the back of the book that is a good place to start. It`ll give you a pretty good idea of the tone of the rest of the book. It defines the 4 stages of intoxication, 1. You`re Beautiful 2. I`m Beautiful 3. I`m Invisible 4. I`m Bulletproof. I warned you that the book isn`t politically correct. The glossary includes advice such as, A BC is not designed to be used as an elevator. A drift line will keep you from drifting into another country without a passport. The Second Stage is defined as, that thing that goes in your mouth and works best underwater with the tank valve open.
His stories range from the fun to the insane. I define insane as the time he declared war on a rooster and it escalated to the point that he created a pellet launcher with a bit of pipe, a scuba tank, and a high pressure hose. Read the book if you really want to know who won.
As an instructor he has of course dealt with some idiotic students and he can`t help but tell you about them. The fat Canadian woman who insisted on wearing a 7mm wetsuit in 86 degree water and required 29lbs of weight. Another client who was so large that they had to custom build a weight belt for him, after he left, they used it to lash the life raft to the dive boat. A woman who couldn`t figure out why her computer wouldn`t work, it was because she`d gone into decompression on her dive profile and surfaced to figure out what that meant. A valley girl student who wouldn`t quit talking about her regulator, so he advised her to get used to it by keeping it in her mouth.
Divemaster rule 6b. They won`t pay you anymore, so the more you eat from the lunch table, the more you get paid.
As romantic as some of the stories are, if you read them carefully, this book can serve as a wake up call to someone who wants to become a dive professional in some exotic location. Burnout is constantly on his mind. Either from the students, his employers or the living conditions. But nothing can hid the fact that he truly enjoys the life he`s chosen for himself.
At the beginning of each chapter is a little quote of wisdom. Some more applicable than others. I think the one that is most telling is, "Experience is something you don`t get until just after you need it" A good lesson for any diver I think and this book does have some lessons to be learned as you go through it. He just doesn`t bother to tell you that they are there. You can read the book looking for them or just enjoy it. It works either way.
It`s on amazon.com at