The account of a "rather small underwater expedition" (the author and his companion, Mike Wilson) in 1954-55 to the Great Barrier Reef of the eastern seaboard of Australia is a bit of all right, even in heavy competition. For the scientist-science -- fiction writer has a way with him , and, although everything is quite serious, there always is a funny side so that the land, water and underwater happenings are lively and highly individual. From his introduction to the "new fashioned people" of the country, to the remarkable experiences in railroading, driving and touring the 1200 miles of the Reef, Clarke is all eyes and ears for his new adventuring. There are some trial runs of equipment before reaching Heron Island; there is always weather for an enemy; and there are all the inhabitants of the depths to delight, amaze and surprise him. There is quite a stay on Thursday Island where the pearl divers of the Torres Straits astound them; there are accidents, isolated and in series; and, of course, there are -- octopus, shark, turtle, barracuda, stonefish, etc., etc. -- to be photographed. It's a joy of a book even for those who have reached the saturation point. A chapter on photographic techniques for the experts.