Book review: The Diver’s Tale

Lyon roars again after someone encourages him to revisit banterful classic

Author: Pat
23rd April 2019

Nick Lyon - author with his book The Diver's Tale

Diving books generally fall into well-trodden categories: reference ones which tell you what sank where; how to recognise 17 species of wrasse; textbooks about who invented nitrogen; or technical guides full of dire warnings next to dive skippers’ phone numbers.

Very occasionally a dive book comes along that sits awkwardly in a category all its own: musings.

A bit like building a rebreather out of old washing machine parts… it should be a mess but somehow it works

The second edition of ‘The Diver’s Tale’ could be the work of that scuba bloke we all know who has an opinion on just about everything. Mercifully, we don’t all know Nick Lyon. Even more mercifully, Mr Lyon also happens to be extremely funny and articulate, and not at all the pub bore.

The author is also undeniably an extremely accomplished diver, instructor and club member of many years standing with plenty of tales to tell. It’s a skill he has crafted over many years with a regular opinion column in Scuba Magazine, musing on everything from wearing snorkels to fish barbeques. In The Diver’s Tale, each chapter is on a seemingly random topic such as diving in Malta, seasickness versus the bends, and treasure hunting. There’s even a bittersweet chapter given over to Paul, his lifelong friend and dive buddy. A bit like building a rebreather out of old washing machine parts, it should be a mess but somehow it works. I’m not a fan of the expression ‘coffee came out of my nose’, but coffee actually did come out of my nose at one point.

There are some moments that seem so unlikely, I began to question whether Nick was pulling our legs. In one particularly memorable scene – or should that be forgettable – the author recounts a zero vis dive in a harbour where he swam headfirst into a shopping trolley. This had the effect of a human-sized lobster pot, trapping him accordingly. In the spirit of safe diving this shouldn’t be at all funny, although naturally I laughed like a drain. The author stresses from the outset that this isn’t a guide or manual and there are no great underlying lessons here. But if nothing else you’ll come away feeling perhaps Nick suffered some close shaves so that you won’t have to.

Despite Mr Lyon’s interest in underwater photography there are almost no pictures to speak of, so don’t expect a visual feast. But for every absent picture you get a thousand words, thus demonstrating Nick’s ability to turn convention on its head – as well as his work ethic. It’s a brilliantly British book, full of heart and humour, and well worth reading at the airport. You might say it’s even worth buying a copy.


The Diver’s Tale is priced £12.99, and is published in softback by Dived Up Publications. For more information call + 44 (0)1865 424702 or visit ISBN 978-1-909455-24-5

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