On a foggy July evening in 1956, the Italian cruise liner Andrea Doria, bound for New York, was struck broadside by another vessel. In eleven hours, she would sink nearly 250 feet to the murky Atlantic Ocean floor. Thanks to a daring rescue operation, only 51 of more than 1,700 people died in the tragedy. But the Andrea Doria is still taking lives.
Considered the Mt. Everest of diving, the Andrea Doria is the ultimate deepwater wreck challenge. Over the years, a small but fanatical group of extreme scuba divers have investigated the Andrea Doria, pushing themselves to the very limits of human endurance to explore her -- and not all have returned. Diver Kevin McMurray takes you inside this elite club with a hard, honest look at those who go deeper, farther, and closer to the edge than others would ever dream.
Deep Descent is the riveting true story of the human spirit overcoming human frailty and of fearsome, mortal risks traded for a hard-core adrenaline rush. Chronicling these adventures in his page-turning narrative and in dozens of dramatic photos, McMurray draws us deeper into the cold heart of the unforgiving sea, giving us a powerful vision of a place to which few will ever have the skills -- or the courage -- to go.
McMurray's is an earnest journal of deep-sea wreck diving, mostly over the Italian passenger liner Andrea Doria, which sank in a collision off Cape Cod in 1956. The Doria still draws extreme scuba divers 235 feet down to "the Everest of scuba," where, over the last 20 years, 12 divers have met their deaths. After a Night to Remember style introduction to the ship's history, the author turns his talents as a journalist and diver (he has reached and explored the Doria hulk several times) to question why inverse mountaineers still come back to the wreck. McMurray renders a shared obsession, mostly through fuzzy sketches of expeditions to the wreck in the 1980s and '90s, and follows a dozen divers down to the Doria. Yet his descriptions are uninspiring; even the accounts of fatal dives are flat (despite a multiple-photo series of a body being hauled to the dive boat). His we-band-of-brother-divers tone can't substitute for description or character; indeed, it proves an obstacle to thoughtful storytelling. McMurray the scuba diver never quite admits to McMurray the journalist-observer that divers visit the Andrea Doria because of not in spite of the risks. 75 b&w photos.