Meet the Author: Tim Ecott

Neutral Buoyancy

Neutral Buoyancy - adventures in a liquid world

Not so much the history of diving but tales of the characters and episodes along the way: the sponge divers, the second world war saboteurs, the free divers...all intermingled with the author's own underwater experiences.

What prompted you to write the Neutral Buoyancy?

I was living in Seychelles - helping the local radio station train its reporters and producers for two years and about to return to London to rejoin the BBC when I realised that I'd rather write for myself full-time. My wife supported the idea and encouraged me to resign from my job and write even though I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about.

You use quotes from various authors, scientists and divers - which writers influenced you when writing the book?

That's hard to say, everything you read has an impact. I've always read a lot of non-fiction and it was a pleasure to sit in the British Library and trawl through any reference to diving I could find. I suppose I was encouraged to find that most of those who'd written about diving before had been concentrating on the factual or historical side of the sport rather than the pure joy of being underwater. Having said that William Beebe and Hans Hass did convey a certain amount of wonderment.

Which of the stories did you most enjoy writing?

I enjoyed all of the descriptive travelogue sections of Neutral Buoyancy, but it was an honour to meet WWII veteran Dickie Greenland, Hans and Lotte Hass and Dottie Frazier - the USA's first female diving instructor. And best of all they have all said they liked what I wrote about them. I wanted to capture their spirit as much as anything, and they are all very different sorts of people.

Which is your favourite dive?

Of those in Neutral Buoyancy probably any of the ones in Papua New Guinea, but the climax of the book is a particular dive in Seychelles.

Where would you like to dive next?

Manado or the Lembeh Straits I suppose, but anywhere in the Pacific would be fine.

Do you have a worst diving experience?

Yes - read pp228-236 of Neutral Buoyancy! I suppose I think every dive is potentially a good dive unless you have an accident. I don't like diving with people who never consider what can go wrong underwater.

What are you doing now?

I'm half-way through a novel, a love story this time. I've also got another non-fiction project bubbling under, and I'm continuing with travel writing and journalism for newspapers and magazines.

About the Book

I hope anyone who reads Neutral Buoyancy will enjoy it, and perhaps discover something about diving they didn't know or hadn't come across before. So far, people have reacted very positively to it, and although it is a book you can dip into there is a subtle thread connecting everything together. I suppose I hope people will respond to that and empathise with how I feel about the sea, coral, fish, sea-cucumbers, dolphins, sharks etc etc. You don't have to be a diver to read it, and I just hope it inspires more people to consider taking up diving and acting as advocates for the preservation of our marine environment.
More details on Neutral Buoyancy are available at (20% off) and Book Depository.