Twelve Mile Bank – A Book for Divers

03.03.2019 by Editor Team

Introduction to the “Divers Book” – Twelve Mile Bank by the Author: Nicholas Harvey

I don’t think people that know me well were surprised I wrote a book… but they were surprised it wasn’t about car racing. 🙂

Having spent my life and career in motorsports, from racing myself, working on cars to now managing the engineering group of a major American team, it seemed natural that the subject would be race cars. But while I still have a love of motorsports, my passion outside of work for the past eighteen years has been diving and it’s the love of being underwater that drove the story of my first novel, Twelve Mile Bank.

My wife is responsible for talking me into diving while on our first trip to Grand Cayman in 2001. I actually didn’t enjoy snorkelling and was nervous of what lurked beneath the waves, perhaps growing up in the UK with our murky, cold waters was to blame! All that went away the moment I dropped down and felt the freedom of SCUBA and the new world it opened up. I was completely hooked. Eighteen years later we’ve dived all over the world from Silfra fissure in Iceland to shark encounters off Cuba to the kelp forests of Catalina, California.

One place we return to every year has been the Cayman Islands. Ever since that first dive I have never been disappointed. The variety of diving available all around the islands means you can constantly visit new sites as well as revisiting the favourites. In 2017, while writing the book, we made a research trip and bucket list dive on Twelve Mile Bank. Known as Cayman’s fourth island the bank rises out of the depths of over a thousand feet to fall short of the surface by 120ft. A flat coral littered plateau several miles long it’s an adventurous dive in the open ocean. Usually done as a drift dive with a live boat chasing you, it’s a deco challenge but often rewarded with deep ocean sightings rarely seen closer to shore.

The last piece of the puzzle in the book coming together was my obsession with World War Two history and specifically the old diesel submarines and the brave men aboard them. One of our most memorable dives was the U-352 wreck off the coast of North Carolina. It’s truly spectacular to see the wreck, knowing the history and the fascinating story behind its demise.

The main character in the book, AJ Bailey, was already alive in my mind and Cayman would always be the location, so the last part to come together was linking a WW2 submarine into the storyline in a plausible way. Twelve Mile Bank was the answer. It’s hard to expand more without giving away plot details, but suffice to say the location became a crucial element to bring the multiple timelines of the story together to build the excitement and tension by each chapter.

Most books and movies these days telling a tale of adventure feel the need to push the realms of reality and their heroes can out run fireballs and leap between tall buildings farther than the Olympic long jump record. There’s a place for those Hollywood extremes but I really wanted to tell a story that was authentic and relatable while still exciting and adventurous.

Even more important to me as a diver was the diving element needed to be accurate, believable, and the underwater scenes as descriptive as possible. Hopefully fellow divers will appreciate those essentials and non-divers may want to try SCUBA or at least have an insight into the world we dearly love.

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