Revealing Multiple Facets of Underwater 40 Meters with Delicate Hand-painting

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With the sensitive touch of the illustrator, mysterious marine life comes to the centre of the stage and, by the humorous narration, obscure knowledge becomes common and comprehensible. In this book, the stories that are played out in the sea all the time are vividly depicted, leading you through a diversified sea with 40 different facets.

Text | Mandy Wu

Photo | Will Wu & Ziv Chang

The mysterious and beautiful sea often lures people to get close to it in various ways. Hengchun Peninsula, boasting of its particularly rich marine life in the water and diverse culture on land, becomes a diving paradise frequently visited by divers.

Underwater 40 Meters introduces the underwater world of Pingtung waters, from kelp, striped shrimp, symbiotic coral and seaweed beds to giant clams brightly coloured nudibranchs, mola mola and pinecone fish. Through hand-drawn illustrations and easy-to-understand explanations, readers will get to know the characteristics and habitats of these colourful and fantastical marine creatures, as well as their complex interdependent relationships.

Hand-painting is not as realistic as photos but full of lovely naivety that can delight readers. For instance, due to a lack of an acute olfactory organ, the parrotfish will spend an hour at night weaving a jelly-like ‘bed curtain’ around its whole body, before falling into a sound sleep. The illustrator has placed the parrotfish into huge bubbles, perhaps a little unrealistic, but it specifically visualizes their peace of mind when protected by these mucous bubbles.

Reading carefully, you can also find other ingenuities. For example, the left pages are scaled in 40 meters, and show different ecological landscapes as the depth drops. While turning the pages, readers seem to dive down to 40 meters underwater, experiencing a dream dive on paper. Also, the design feature of pulling down the page, cleverly displays some divers consecutive descending movements, as if doing the Frenzel equalisation. Such hidden details in the book, add to the fun of reading it and fill the experience with surprises.

From seafood to sea culture

Let sea culture be not just about seafood but nature exploration and ecological inspiration, amazement and awe.

This book takes readers on a journey through inner space from a diver’s perspective, leading them from the most familiar Hengchun Peninsula to the more unfamiliar marine civilization and underwater archaeology. In addition to exploring the sea layer by layer, Underwater 40 Meters hopes to promote the concept of marine conservation, because only when humans cherish the sea dearly and let the marine ecology grow strong, can our friendship with the sea lasts forever.