Way back in 1975, the man who goes by the name of Ben Davison had a disappointing diving holiday in Jamaica. He had gone there after reading an article in a popular US diving magazine that had painted a rosier-than-reality picture of the resort.
As a result, Ben decided to start his own samizdat title, and in the USA, where diving magazines tend to the bland and advertising-driven, his brainchild Undercurrent has been hitting the spot ever since.
Its a slim, subscription-only publication that carries no photos, illustrations or ads, but its required reading for many serious American sports divers. Ben pays for all his trips himself, ventures beyond the usual California-Florida-Caribbean comfort zone, stays undercover (hence the pseudonym) and reports as he finds, good or bad.
Theres a Cockroach in my Regulator, assembled by Ben and senior editor Larry Clinton, is a distillation of 30 years of Undercurrent reporting and, as I soon realised, it does tend to dwell on the dark side of diving.
Its the sort of material that certain of our own advertisers occasionally tell us that divers really dont want to read.
Certainly I wouldnt dream of giving this book to a diving beginner, because they might get the impression that our sport revolves entirely around lethal sea creatures and dangerous buddies, bends and a variety of weird injuries you never dreamt of, terrorist attacks, insanity, tsunamis and lightning strikes, vanishing boats, scams, sexual harassment, drug-running, murder, lawsuits, environmental meltdown and so on.
You, on the other hand, will love this book, as I did.
And there is enough intriguing material on the lighter side - Does nitrox improve your sex life Will the artificial gill ever become reality Should we pee in our wetsuits - to keep you smiling.
Theres only one destination report, but its a killer. Keep up the good work, Ben and Larry!
Steve Weinman

Undercurrent
ISBN: 9780615333014
www.undercurrent.org
Softback, 228pp, $19.95