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September 1, 2011
Navy Divers: The incredible
story of the Australian Navy's
Author: Gregor Salmon
Publisher: Random House Australia,
Reviewer: SPR Nick Wiseman
SIZE: This spa-
from KIA won't
grunt to put a
smile on your
Diving into elite
ranks of Navy
KIA Soul five-door hatchback with four-speed
Engine: 1.6-litre diesel engine producing 94kQ and
260Nm of torque.
Test vehicle RRP: $29,190
Reviewer: SGT Andrew Hetherington
It's all about soul
AFTER first laying eyes on the KIA Soul I thought
it was an escapee from the vault of Toyota's
research and development unit.
The unique-looking, box-shaped hatch had an
enthusiastic 1.6-litre diesel engine under the bon-
net, putting out 94kW at a low 4000rpm and a handy
260Nm of torque from an astonishing 1900rpm.
This provided a surprising and pleasing response
which produced rapid forward momentum when the
'go' pedal was stomped on.
Even though the power figure would not turn any of
the wheels of an F1 car faster than a mouse furiously
running in a wheel, it's the torque which makes things
happen -- and puts a smile on your face.
It also had surprisingly nimble handling, and body
roll was only felt in tight turns with your right foot
The Soul is a compliant, flexible and internally
spacious hatch, which can seat four adults in reason-
Its only shortcoming is the lack of rear luggage
space, but I guess if owners are willing to stack lug-
gage conservatively to the roof it won't be much of a
KIA has incorporated into the Soul plenty of safety
and technology such as an MP3 compatible CD player,
audio auxiliary jack, power windows, external tempera-
ture gauge, cruise control, too many airbags to mention,
electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes.
KIA has really punched above its weight by creat-
ing the unique-looking Soul.
BORN out of World War II, clear-
ance divers have grown to become
masters of the deep, specialising
in covert maritime operations and
becoming part of one of the best
military diving outfits in the world.
Approached in 2009 by publisher
Random House Australia, Gregor
Salmon soon discovered there was
more to them than was commonly
known, and set out to document the
history and exploits of clearance divers
in Navy Divers.
After initial briefs about the con-
cept and subject of the book, Mr
Salmon said the term 'clearance diver'
"What was a clearance diver?" Mr
"After looking at some in-house
publications I started to piece together
what they were and what they did."
Expanding on this initial research,
he started investigating the divers to
find out exactly who these men were.
Writing a book for the public about
the divers was an exciting challenge,
one that allowed him to experience
first-hand some of the skills the divers
In July 2010 Mr Salmon got the
chance to accompany Australian
Clearance Diving Teams One and Four
on Exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii.
He said spending the time with the
teams was a great experience.
"I got a sense of how clearance
divers operated and the importance of
their skill set," he said.
"I got to see them survey beaches
and clear passageways for the amphib-
ious troop landings."
The attention-grabbing book
initially follows the journey of poten-
tial divers on the Clearance Diver
Acceptance Test (CDAT) over a relent-
less 10 days.
The CDAT is one of the most
difficult tests in the Navy and only
after passing can a potential diver
move on to the Basic Clearance Diver
After establishing the initial jour-
ney a clearance diver takes, the book
turns back to World War II for the ori-
gins of the trade.
Vietnam veteran Brian Furner, who
spent most of his 20 years in the Navy
as a clearance diver, was one of many
interviewed by Mr Salmon to capture
the stories of the sailors.
"He did quite a good section on
WWII covering those who worked as
part of mine clearance," Mr Furner
said. "That was where the branch came
Mr Furner said he enjoyed his time
as a clearance diver.
"We were given challenges and
left to our own resources to get the job
done. I wouldn't have done any other
job in the Navy."
Mr Salmon talked to sailors from
all generations but said they did not
open up immediately.
"They would never spill the beans
straight away; there was a fair amount
of time earning trust," he said.
The book covers the relation-
ship between the divers and the
Special Air Service Regiment
(SASR) when the divers were sent
to Perth to assist the SASR in mari-
time counter-terrorism roles.
Despite initial difficulties, the
clearance divers and SASR held a
mutual respect for each other with
some divers transferring to continue
their service within Army's Special
Navy Divers helps shed light on
the work of clearance divers who
continue to put their own safety
aside and operate both on land and
in the murky depths of the ocean.
THE DEEP: ABCD
Team Four main-
tains a vigilant
watch during beach
and, inset, ABCD
Main photo: ABIS
Morgana Ramsey. Inset
photo: LSIS Phillip
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