Interview With Tony Groom, Author Of Diver

What prompted you to put in writing your guide “DIVER”?
I acquired a call in early 2007, it was the BBC. They said, “We understand you kept diaries from while you were within the Falklands conflict however have not learn them but?” I mentioned yes I did, and I haven’t learn them, however how have you learnt? They gave me the old, we do not disclose our sources and so on.
Then they stated, ” We would like to come and movie you reading them for the first time and put it on TELEVISION.” I actually had never read them, actually all I knew was they had been within the loft somewhere. I thought of it for some time and mentioned it with my spouse and decided I might do it.
They got here and we did it and it went on BBC Breakfast.
When they left, the producer and cameraman said what a superb story it was, and I ought to actually write it all down, you know, fill in the gaps. Nicely I hadn’t ever thought about it. But I started that night time and it simply flowed out of me. Day and night time for about 10 months, I wrote and re-wrote about my diving life. About the intensive training the Navy required to turn into a ‘Sneaky Beaky’ attack swimmer. Getting trained in re-breathers that give out no bubbles, enabling you to sabotage ships, or work on mines unseen and undetected.
Have any writers influenced your writing?
I do learn quite a bit but I would not say anyone influenced me. I didn’t really plan it. I just happened and I found I may do it, I might tell a narrative.
Do you dive recreationally, and if that’s the case which is your favorite dive site?
I’ve by no means performed a recreational dive. Effectively that isn’t precisely true. I did drag my son around the swimming pool in Thailand a few years again. That’s it. But there’s a purpose for it, and that is, I’ve done an excessive amount of already.
In preparation for writing the e-book I broke out all of my diving logbooks, knowing full well I’d depress myself. I began including up my hours in a saturation chamber. Over a fifteen-yr sat diving career, I did around 900 days, or two and a half years, in chambers around the globe. You will get less than that for armed theft.
That is 21,600 hours in a chamber you can not walk extra that two or three paces in, with usually seven different men who would, once in a while, scent and sound like feeding time at the monkey sanctuary. Take away say a hundred days for decompression and dangerous climate. That leaves us with 19,200 hours or 800 working days.
Say an average diving day of six hours, and that provides us four,800 hours or 200 full 24-hour days actually in the water.
Six and a half months both blowing bubbles or in the bell. Six and a half months wet.
Now I am in no way probably the most prolific diver; there are guys on the market that both cannot get sufficient diving, or cash, and they would blow my hours out of the water. None of these hours, days, weeks and months even embody the 1000’s of air and blended-fuel dives I’ve accomplished. Not that I want I had done more. Under no circumstances, that is quite sufficient for me. In all that point, have I ever found a gold coin or a virgin wreck?
I’ve found a fridge in the course of the Irish Sea that I was instructed, whilst donning my gear, was ‘undoubtedly, 100% absolutely certainly a mine’. I’ve discovered Spitfire engines in Greece, a Jeep in the course of the South Pacific, and fishermen and pilots nonetheless inside their craft, however I’ve probably not found what I was searching for as a child. That little bit of thriller is still there, maybe as a result of I do not know what it appears like. I know I am in the incorrect business. You might be, in spite of everything, unlikely to search out something mysterious within the oil industry or hunting for mines.
What was your worst diving experience?
I’ve had a couple of ‘worst dives.’ This was my first ever diving experience with the Royal Navy (which is in the e-book).
I missed the morning class about how the air set worked and what to do in the occasion of running out of air. Whilst getting a quick brief earlier than getting into the water I caught one thing about ‘equalising’. I assumed he meant my ears. Alas, he wasn’t involved with my ears at all. Within the Navy if you’re sporting an air set you do not have a gauge on it. You begin your dive with only one bottle open and breathe usually until it goes tight and begins to expire. If you happen to then open your different full bottle, the air between the two ‘equalises’ – you can hear it very effectively beneath water as a tinny hissing sound. The sound will diminish, and then you definately shut the valve. Now you’ve got two half-full bottles. You breathe down the one bottle again and do the identical when it will get tight. Now you might have ‘equalised twice’; you have got a couple of quarter of your authentic air left and you come up. Easy!
Simple if you realize this, anyway. I missed all that as a result of I used to be unable or unwilling to regulate the weather, and was late. The opening of the valve motion was by no means relayed to me.
I suppose I used to be about a hundred foot out on the end of my life line when my air started to go tight. No, it will probably’t be, the chief diver mentioned it should final about an hour. An hour hasn’t gone by already, has it, and anyway they’d name me up (4 pulls), would not they? At this level my quick life flashed before me.
I’m allergic to not breathing, so I did what all rational, regular-thinking people would do on this scenario. I panicked.
I grappled round for my life line and finned and pulled myself to the surface as quickly as I might. You might be in fact meant to breathe out on a controlled slow ascent or you might give your self a bend or burst a lung. However I had nothing to breathe out, my lungs had been already empty. Air hunger, or the urge to breathe, is undoubtedly one of many strongest human reactions we have and you ‘will’ take extraordinary actions to encourage respiratory again. Helped by a large portion of adrenalin, induced by the chance of dying, I hit the floor going full tilt and eliminated my mask in one swift motion. In truth, the mask may even have been off before I broke surface. Anyway it was in a totally unprofessional manner.
I was travelling so fast I reckon I came out of the water up to my waist. That first intake of breath, that sweet style of air and water was the deepest I’ve taken so far in my forty eight years. Gasp would not do it justice and I don’t think you may write down the noise I made. It was in all probability alongside the traces of the mating call of a randy caribou. The thing is, I hadn’t counted on gravity taking a maintain of me now I used to be briefly out of the water once more, but it did, and as I came down from my breach, I went beneath again. This was becoming insupportable.
The divers on the jetty saw this thing taking pictures out of the water then disappear once more, and without pause for thought, three of them began pulling me in, hand-over-hand as quick as they might.
The line I used to be attached to was tied in a bowline on my shoulder, and with my weight-belt and bottles on I took off at breakneck pace in direction of the jetty. My pace was so nice in reality that a bow wave formed round my head and I discovered myself underneath water and unable to breathe once more. Solely this time I used to be at a loss as to what to do to treatment the state of affairs. As I began to cross out I simply hoped I would quickly be on the jetty. In reality I later found out that it was my swift and un-cushioned arrival back at the concrete jetty which may properly have knocked me out.
I came to mendacity within the restoration place and vomiting over some big boots. The chief diver was obviously fearful about me and showed his concern by yelling into my face,
‘You’ve not equalised as soon as yet! Why didn’t you fing equalise?’
‘I did clear my ears, chief.’
‘Not your fing ears, you muppet, your bottles, same as we did in the classroom this morning.’
‘I wasn’t.. HEEEAVE.. right here this morning.’ As the second serving to of dockyard water and leaves and oil got here up and out of me all over the chief’s boots, I might see the dawning of realisation move over his face. ‘Shit! This was my fault.’
To give him credit, though, his attitude immediately modified from one in every of anger to apologetic concern. I was wrapped in a blanket and given hot tea and whisked off to sick bay, where I spent a day on bend watch, to see if something developed, and three days in hospital, throwing up dockyard flotsam and jetsam, and really nearly acquired back-classed from my fundamental training unit as well. If that happened, I must drop back two weeks and start again with a totally new intake. I went back the following week though and tried once more, and each week for the next ten weeks. Why? As a result of I used to be going to move, is the only answer I may give.
Are you planning one other e-book?
The new one may be very practically finished. Properly, say one other 10,000 words. I am on 111,000 as we speak. It’s a novel. I assumed it was about time we had a Brit diving hero. Dirk Pitt has had all of it his own way to too lengthy. So, It is about an Ex Royal Navy Mine Clearance Diver.
What are you doing now?
I still do some North Sea stuff, after I can’t presumably avoid it. But I am obsessive about getting this new ebook finished. I am making an attempt to get a literary agent for the time being. In truth I’m waiting to listen to, ‘Yae or Nae’ at this very moment. If he says Yea, I will likely be making an attempt to jot down for a dwelling. I’ve completed a couple of talks to golf equipment and after dinner stuff, mainly about diving. My biggest was to the BSAC annual conference. There were about 500 there.
About Tony Groom
Born in Hillingdon, Middlesex (UK) in 1959, Tony Groom found his fascination with the ocean whilst at Monk’s Park comprehensive school in Bristol. Started with Sea Scouts, then sea cadets and finally requested to go to T.S indefatigable, a nautical boarding college in North Wales. In 1975 joined the Royal Navy to change into a Clearance Diver (CD). (Many a whole lot joined to develop into a diver in Portsmouth, roughly only 1% make it by way of.) Certified as a mine clearance diver in 1976.
“In 1976, I joined the Clyde submarine base clearance diving crew. Some elements of the crew dived almost every day. We dived on nuclear submarines, modified their propellers, you title it, I spent a whole lot of time wet! We might spend weeks touring the west coast of Scotland, selecting up, and blowing up, mines, bombs and all kinds of ordinance. The group also had an IED (improvised explosive device) commitment. By that I mean, letter bombs parcel bombs, suspicious packages and cars. Mostly to do with the IRA.”
“In 1977. I had my first draft to the Fleet Clearance Diving Team in Portsmouth. The workforce needed to keep a 75 m deep diving functionality, and be able to depart to anyplace in the world within 24 hours. We would incessantly get brief discover trips around the world, both as a part of NATO, or helping our warships wherever they could be. Took half in some very odd jobs together with, gathering money out of the River Hamble after a bank theft had gone flawed, varied recoveries of bodies, diving on wrecks, recovering crashed fighter jets and helicopters and many others.”
Concerned within the Falklands invasion (1982). Left the navy in 1985 and became a business diver till 2004. Is now concentrating on writing.
Signed copies of Diver can be found from Tony Groom’s site and, with 5% off
Jill Studholme is editor of SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011) and the SCUBA Travel information to diving the world.