Honeymoon Dive

Simpson, Lindsay, and Cooke, Jennifer (2010) Honeymoon Dive. Pan Macmillan, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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At 10.42 a.m. on 22 October 2003, while diving on the wreck of the SS Yongala on the Great Barrier Reef, an American tourist photographed his new wife for their honeymoon album. Instead the photo would become a vital police exhibit. On the right-hand side of the shot, Tina Watson's body lay 27 metres down on the ocean floor, one arm outstretched, reaching upwards. This is the photograph that shocked millions across Australia and the US.

How could a healthy young woman have died, a mere seven minutes into her dive, when Gabe Watson, her buddy and husband of only eleven days, was a certified rescue diver? And why did he later relay sixteen different versions of what happened that day to other divers, police, friends and family?

Did he cold-bloodedly shut off her air or did he panic after claiming her flailing arms dislodged his mask and regulator? When he ascended to the surface, was it to get help or to callously abandon his bride to her ultimate fate?

These remain the captivating questions at the heart of this true-life thriller. Researched across two continents, Honeymoon Dive is in turns disturbing and enthralling as it painstakingly reconstructs events behind one of Australia's most darkly fascinating tragedies.

Research Statement

Research Background Research involved qualitative interviews with key sources. In Townsville - eye witnesses to Tina Watson's death eg divers, passengers, dive instructors. Legal sources included the Coroner and police. These interviews were used in the final work in tandem with documentation of the event, such as police statements, taped records of interview with the accused.
Research Contribution The methodology used was participatory research. Participatory research involved diving in the same quarry where Tina Watson learned how to dive in Birmingham, Alabama with her dive instructor and visiting many key places central to the story.
Research Significance This work is being used as 'required reading' for the prosecution in Alabama. Gabe Watson has been charged with murder over Tina Watson's death and his trial date is expected in August. This is clear recognition of the factual accuracy of the work. In addition, the book has been reviewed in The Spectator; The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. It has been submitted for upcoming awards including the Walkley nonfiction book award and the Ned Kelly Award for nonfiction crime writing. I received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2007 Ned Kelly Awards. The work is written in the creative nonfiction genre which tells factual events using literary tools such as scene setting; dialogue (eg from interviews, police statements). In this way, the work engages the reader. The book is an original contribution to knowledge as it has the capacity to make the reader 'see' 'feel' and 'comprehend these events as an ethnographic work.
Item ID: 16699
Item Type: Book (Creative Work)
ISBN: 978-1-4050-4012-9
Keywords: creative nonfiction
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Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2012 03:44
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing > 190302 Professional Writing @ 80%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190402 Creative Writing (incl Playwriting) @ 20%
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