Deccan Chronicle

SECRETS OF THE DEEP SEA

A genre-defying book that sheds light on early deep-sea voyages in the inky darkness of the ocean where myriad faunal creatures live in perfect harmony

- NEIL PATE DECCAN CHRONICLE

Perhaps this is one book that you would like to own and keep in your collector’s items or gift it to someone you like. The moment you start reading writer-journalist Brad Fox’s The Bathyspher­e Book: Effects of the Luminous Ocean Depths, you dive straight into the deep-sea siphonopho­re world. From the very first chapter, you get swept away by Fox’s passionate writing, breathtaki­ng illustrati­ons and meticulous research.

The book’s title is inspired by the bathyspher­e exploratio­n carried out by marine biologist cum explorer William Beebe in the 1930s. Beebe and Otis Barton, who designed the bathyspher­e, explored the Bermuda archipelag­o. The bathyspher­e looked more like a claustroph­obic fourfoot steel ball when it was lowered into the Nonesuch Island. As you start reading and descend 3,000-feet deep into the pitch-dark ocean, the skull-cracking pressure and fear of the unknown start to sink in. The author manages to capture Beebe’s excitement, which is palpable because suddenly the blue-black inky darkness is illuminate­d by a burst of biolumines­cence. To some, the imagery may remind you of the twinkling disco lights or the dazzle of a Broadway show. But it was Beebe, the first person in the world to witness this underwater alien world discovery. While Beebe elucidated what he saw from the ocean depths, marine biologist Gloria Hollister, who was on the deck of barge Ready, franticall­y jotted down notes. She sat on a crate with a telephone receiver pressed to her ear. Fox’s ability to narrate the story and draw parallels between the world above the water and below is remarkable. The reader gets a closeup of Beebe’s observatio­ns from the quartz window as he descends deep in the ocean blackout. He writes: “Thick rat-tailed long pale white Macrourid-like fish with six lights went around bend of hose.” “6 or 8 shrimps. 50 or 100 lights like fireflies.” At one point, Beebe describes, “looking straight down very dark. Black as hell.” And suddenly there is a huge flash of light. There is a lyrical grace to Fox’s writing. It is a perfect amalgamati­on of science writing, first deep-sea exploratio­n, anecdotes, and poetry. This is one rare book that will keep you submerged and hooked in a watery world for a long time.

THERE IS A LYRICAL GRACE TO FOX’S WRITING. IT IS A PERFECT AMALGAMATI­ON OF SCIENCE WRITING, FIRST DEEP-SEA EXPLORATIO­N, ANECDOTES, AND POETRY.

 ?? ?? THE BATHYSPHER­E BOOK: EFFECTS OF THE LUMINOUS OCEAN DEPTHS AUTHOR: Brad Fox PUBLISHER: ONE
THE BATHYSPHER­E BOOK: EFFECTS OF THE LUMINOUS OCEAN DEPTHS AUTHOR: Brad Fox PUBLISHER: ONE

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