In the course of more than 25 years of diving I have seen many things that have taken my breath away, visited many fascinating places, explored hundreds of fabulous shipwrecks and met so many wonderful people that I can only consider myself incredibly fortunate. In order to share some of these experiences with others I have written two books on exploring shipwrecks—both were intended for divers and non-divers alike and have been enjoyed by many. If you are interested in the subject, please give them a look as I'm sure you will enjoy them!
Two Centuries of Shipwrecks in the Approaches to New York
Upon seeing the first published copy of my first book, Beyond Sportdiving (see below), I was immediately appalled at the reproduction quality of the photographs. The original color slides had been converted (poorly!) to black & white images, and the book itself was printed on a paper quality that just didn't lend itself to good photographic reproduction. After some time had passed, I began to realize that while this was certainly true, the quality of the original photographs was not what it ought to be either. It was then that I took a good two years off any more writing projects and to concentrate solely on my photography. The result formed the beginnings of my second book, Lost Voyages.
One of my primary goals in writing Lost Voyages was to provide both a visual glimpse of the fascinating world of shipwreck exploration to the non-diver, as well as a kind of educational forum to wreck divers as to just what all the pieces of the ships they were seeing really were. While most wreck divers can easily recognize the boilers on an early steamship wreck, often they really don't understand the workings of that steam engine and just what function each of the parts has and how they all work together as a whole. Providing an explanation of this and many other aspects of shipwrecks is what I set out to accomplish, and in so doing found that I had to first educate myself on many, many things in order to properly explain them. In addition, I found that there were many gaps in my photographic files that I needed to fill in order to tell the story of the evolution of ships through the past two centuries, and so set about diving many specific wrecks to fill in these gaps. The resulting volume, Lost Voyages, essentially represents some ten years of my life—I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed bringing it into existence!
From the back cover:
"In the approaches to New York lie the sunken hulks of hundreds of ships of every era and type, providing a time capsule of our nation's maritime heritage."
"Lost Voyages is not only a highly readable adventure story of the sinking of many of these ships, but also an historical account of the evolution of shipping as pictured through these shipwrecks. The author has dived and photographed most of the wrecks described which include wooden warships, coastal schooners, passenger liners, U-boats, WW I warships, torpedoed freighters from WW I and II, rumrunners, and modern victims of collisions. Line drawings of many wrecks as they lie today have been rendered by Sheard, an aerospace engineer. Photographs of the wreckage are keyed to these drawings. Also included is line art tracing the advances in ship construction and propulsion from the days of sail through steam. Pictures of artifacts and ships either before they sank, in the throes of sinking, or while beached are included."
Exploring the Deepwater Shipwrecks of the Atlantic
From the back cover:
"A taboo subject for years, deep wreck diving is finally being openly acknowledged. Branded "thrill seekers", these advanced scuba divers, operating on the finges of their sport, have explored an exciting array of shipwrecks lying beyond the 130-foot sport diving limit. Risking decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis and the unknowns of the deep ocean, these divers have pushed to depths of 200 feet&emdash;and beyond. They have been rewarded with spectacles unseen by the landbound and have had the opportunity to touch the remnants of history."
"Concentrating on shipwrecks lying in the approaches to New York harbor, Beyond Sportdiving takes the reader to a fantastic and surreal world, littered with casualties of war, natural disaster and human failing. From obscure and little-known freighters to the world famous Andrea Doria, Bradley Sheard examines a fascinating assortment of shipwrecks."
- Follow the adventures of the pioneering deep-divers who were the first to explore coastal shipwrecks during the 1960's.
- Explore the famous wreck of the Andrea Doria, the widely acknowledged "Mount Everest" of wreck diving.
- Accompany Kapitanleutnant Hardegen aboard the U-123 as he leads the first attack on US coastal shipping during World War II, sinking the tankers Norness and Coimbra.
- Journey to the twilight world of New York's treacherous "mudhole" to explore lost freighters sunk 200 feet below the surface, a stone's throw from the New Jersey coast.
- Learn the full story behind the identification of the "Bacardi Wreck", and the twisted trail of evidence linking the "Virginia Wreck" to the Norwegian freighter Sommerstad.
"Beyond Sportdiving is a captivating tale of adventure and history, a must for both the wreck diver and armchair adventurer. The author uses his own first-hand knowledge to describe the excitement of exploring the most beautiful and challenging shipwrecks reachable with ordinary scuba gear."
Please note that Beyond Sportdiving is currently out-of-print. There are no current plans for reprinting, however, it can be found on the used book market.