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  • Aquanaut
  • Aquanaut
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Aquanaut by Rick Stanton is subtitled 'A life beneath the surface' and concerns the hugely successful cave rescue in Thailand in 2018, as written by one of the lead divers.

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Enjoy a free double-sided, laminated, caving-themed bookmark with your order

Aquanaut by Rick Stanton covers the widely reported cave diving rescue in Thailand in 2018. One of two lead divers, Rick's account is first-hand and a must-have title for your shelves. The circumstances surrounding the rescue by the international diving team that drew so immensely upon the BCRC personnel and divers in the UK is covered in detail in Descent issues (263), (264), (265) and (266). Now, we can learn the details of what really went on behind the scenes.

From the publisher:

'They were utterly alone inside the mountain, isolated from the rest of the world. They might as well have been on another planet ...'

In July 2018, twelve boys and their football coach disappeared into Tham Luang Cave in Thailand.

Trapped miles beneath the surface, not even the Thai Navy SEALs had the skills to bring them to safety. With the floodwater rising rapidly, time was running out . . .

Any hope of survival rested on Rick Stanton, a retired Midlands firefighter with a living room full of homemade cave-diving equipment. As unlikely as it seemed, to those in the know, Rick and his partner, John Volanthen, were regarded as the A-team for exactly this kind of mission.

The Thai Cave Rescue was the culmination of a lifelong obsession, requiring every ounce of skill and ingenuity accumulated by Rick over a four decade pursuit of the unknown.

While the world held its breath, Rick, John and their assembled team raced against time in the face of near impossible odds. There was simply no precedent for what they were attempting to do . . .

In Aquanaut Rick reveals the real story of the cave rescue for the first time. And of a life lived without compromise in which any mistake could have been his last. It's an edge-of-your-seat story of courage and conviction that will take you deep into the most remote and unforgiving places on the planet, told with humour, unflinching honesty, and a relentless drive for adventure.


VAT is not charged on UK publications. Orders to the EU are posted without tax paid: you are responsible for VAT and any other charges on delivery. We will be unable to refund you in full if you refuse delivery or the charges are not paid.

Product Details
New product

Data sheet

156mm x 240mm approx
New or used:
Book: new
14 maps, surveys and photos
Publication date:
10 June 2021
Stock no:
Published by Michael Joseph
Rick Stanton

Much like Ariadne’s thread, given to Theseus before he entered the labyrinth of the Minotaur, cave divers use a line to mark their way to the exit as they proceed through a cave. John indicated that his reel was very nearly empty, with about 20 metres left before he’d reach the end of the line. It was time to turn around.

As we were several hours into this journey, I’d started to feel a bit hungry. After a moment of rest, I remembered that I still had to lift my mask as I had done before, so I could smell for signs of life. Thinking about the Snickers bar I had tucked in my wetsuit pocket, I reached for my mask, lifting it away from my face and breaking the seal to expose my nose to the surrounding atmosphere.

In that moment, everything changed.

I was immediately struck by the pungent air, so thick it was suffocating as it entered my nostrils and mouth. The stench of decay was overpowering, unmistakable, and not unfamiliar. I’d smelled this before – in other caves and at other times – and my stomach churned as I recognized what it meant. They must be dead. We’ve found their bodies. This thought was followed almost immediately with a consolation. At least we’ve finally found something.

‘John, they’re here,’ I said to him. ‘Smell for yourself.’

I watched him as he lifted his mask, then he looked at me and nodded in agreement. We’d certainly found something. John and I were still looking at each other, our thoughts racing, when we received our next shock: voices. One teenaged male voice, and then another. Thoughts and questions raced between us silently. The boys! They’re alive!? How many?

I knew that we were considering the same possibilities, and my mind quickly settled on the option that seemed like the worst but most likely. We’d be finding some boys alive, with the others dead or dying. I realized with horror that we had been so focused on the search that the reality of finding them had never been fully thought through. Nobody had prepared for this. From this moment on, I knew that we would be flying blind.

Text extract from Aquanaut: A life beneath the surface by Rick Stanton

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On 1 July 2021 the EU removed all exemptions for tax and customs duty on low value items posted from the UK to the EU, meaning that although VAT is 0% on books and magazines in the UK, it is charged within the EU and the VAT (potentially plus a handling fee) now apply to all orders to the EU.

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Aquanaut by Rick Stanton is subtitled 'A life beneath the surface' and concerns the hugely successful cave rescue in Thailand in 2018, as written by one of the lead divers.

EU customers please read the notes under the Non-UK Orders tab

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