|First Dive to Shark Dive
written by Peter Lourie
For the past three years, my daughter and I have been going to the Bahamas to scuba dive. On Andros Island we have dived with sharks and searched for buried treasure.
One hundred miles long and forty-five miles wide, Andros, which is only fifteen miles from crowded Nassau, is untamed, wild, and mysterious. The island is pocked with "blue holes," giant round sink holes formed in porous limestone and filled with brackish water. These inland blue holes are connected to deep ocean blue holes miles offshore through a series of twisted caverns and tunnels deep under the sea.
To add to the island's mystery, we'd heard some fantastic stories about the island. The pirate Henry Morgan is said to have hidden treasure on Andros. According to local legend, mythical bird-like creatures called Chickcharnies roamed the pine forests of Andros; mermaids came out at midnight, and red sea devils with big horns grabbed unsuspecting scuba divers into the bottomless caves.
Our guide and scuba instructor was a wonderful man called Skeebo, who now makes his living on Andros as a certified Bahamas fly fishing guide.
Behind the Book
“A seven-day father-daughter vacation on a remote Bahamian island is chronicled in clear language and full-color, glossy photographs with vivid colors and details. Suzanna wants to become a certified scuba diver and swim with the sharks. Along the way her father, the author, uses her story to describe how a person becomes certified. Readers follow the 12-year-old from her first dive in a pool to her dive with 17 sharks. The history and superstitions of Andros are also explored as the Louries sightsee when they are not in the water. The language and style add to the feeling that this is a personal travel journal. Suzanna's thoughts supplement her father's journal. Students interested in scuba diving will be enthralled by the book and wish they could go on such a vacation. Shark enthusiasts will also enjoy reading about the girl's experiences with these animals.” (School Library Journal)
“In this photo-essay, a father and his 12-year-old daughter, Suzanna, fly to Andros, in the Bahamas, so Suzanna can learn to scuba dive. During an intense seven days, she becomes certified and makes four dives. The narrative, ably handled in Lourie's first-person voice (abetted by Suzanna's journal writings), also covers information about the island, one of the wildest of the Bahamas; the ocean and its inhabitants, from sponges and coral to sharks; and the old Andros traditions, many of which come from African and Seminole ancestors. Stunning color photographs, a number taken underwater, reveal why Suzanna wanted to be certified to dive.” (Booklist)
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