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Dive Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao: Complete Guide to Diving and Snorkeling Paperback – 11 Sep 2007


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Paperback, 11 Sep 2007
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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Dive Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao 5 Feb. 2008
By Gordon S. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Very disappointed! Practically identical guidebook (from Contemporary Books) published in 2000. I was generally happy with the initial release, as it was informative (though dated @ time of review). However, the Author has not updated any of the dive site information since his initial review, as some sites are no longer available. By switching to Interlink Books, one thinks this is an updated guidebook (2008), it is not... Consider a different book that is current, rather than one that is 8 years old with a new jacket! The only changes denoted were in the Directories for each Island, and the information provided appears essentially to have been copied from a phone book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Acceptable But Not Always Accurate? 1 Jan. 2009
By Ryan E. Duncan - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I recently returned from an 8 day dive trip to Curacao. I had purchased this before the trip, but accidentally left it at home. During the trip I completed 10 dives and I was excited to compare to my actual dives and see how my experience compared to the book once I returned.

Of the 10 dives I did, 5 were on sites that were specifically listed in the book. There may have been a couple more that I actually did dive...I have found that dive shops have their own names sometimes. Of course, there are usually more sites than are covered in these kinds of books too so I don't mind that they were not listed that much.

As far as the 5 dive sites listed in the book that I did dive (Light Tower, Seldom Bay, Bullen Bay, The Wall, and Blue Bay), I have found that I don't agree with some of the descriptions. For example, Seldom Bay is described as having "difficult conditions only suited for advanced divers"...and hence the name Seldom. I would still consider myself a beginner diver and I had no trouble at all...in fact it was one of the better dives as I remember it. I did agree with most of the book's dive site ratings for quality of dive...all of the dives were exceptional and I generally found those descriptions accurate.

I was also disappointed that the book did not go into better descriptions of the various dive operators...I am always interested in knowing about the crew, the equipment, boats, average group sizes, etc. I find it odd that a book like this would not go into that kind of detail and it makes me suspect that this is less of a consumer guide with critical reviews and more of a extended format travel broshure meant to paint an always positive picture. As a diver, I want to know if I am booking my dives with a good outfit and I could not get that info here.

I did find the travel information in the book regarding the other non-dive activies to be usefull in advance of the trip...and the general information about the island and culture to be accurate and helpful.

All in all, this book was a useful purchase. The picture quality is good and the overall information was helpful...but the dive info somewhat questionable though and I feel that should be important in a travel dive book. For these reasons I am rating this book with 3 stars.

I would not discourage anyone form purchasing this book, but I would also base your dive site decisions on the dive shop's recommendations as well as other divers due to the inaccuracy of information I experienced in this book.

(FYI...for anyone considering a dive trip to Curacao...the Marriott Resort is outstanding and the dive shop at the resort, Caribbean Sea Sports, is world class. If I could rate them here they would both be 5 stars for sure.)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Reasonable Guide. 28 Dec. 2012
By Ned Middleton - Published on Amazon.com
I ordered this book because I was planning a professional assignment to the ABC islands and had many questions to ask. Having previously reviewed other titles in this series with somewhat mixed results I had some idea of what to expect.

In addition to learning about the various Dive Sites, the information I require is; Something about the people - a potted history of the country and an insight into their language and customs etc, plus a few lines about shopping, how to get there, airlines, excess baggage, airport tax, tourist boards, hotels, time difference, local transport, currency, electricity, language, photography, diving facilities, safari boats, available equipment, what to bring, what to wear - and so forth. Thankfully, most of these questions (though not all) are answered with additional information on diving for the disabled and Nitrox. Furthermore, this is a destination with no direct flights from the UK - so the detailed variables of how I might get there were particularly valuable.

"The Dive Sites of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao" is paperback measuring 9½in x 6½in containing over 170 pages. Commencing with a two-page explanation of the legends and symbols used throughout the book, we then have chapters on; An overall Introduction to the country, Travel, Diving and Snorkelling in general, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, the Marine Environment, Underwater Photography & Video and Health & Safety for Divers.

The first map is across pages 10 and 11 and shows the islands (there are actually 5 altogether), in relation to each other and the Caribbean. That and the first 3 chapters are a very good start. Now we get down to the diving found off each of the 3 main (and two smaller) islands and this is where the book could so easily be improved. Altogether, there are brief details on 180 dive sites but each chapter commences with "Site No 1" whereas it would be far more useful had they been numbered consecutively from beginning to end.

For each of the islands/island groups, only one map is required in order to demonstrate the approximate position of all the dive sites. Whilst this is used to good effect as far as Aruba is concerned, Bonaire and Curaçao are separated into 3 and 4 artificial divisions respectively. When studying the diving detail, it is always the little things which reveal the amount of research undertaken by any author. For many years Aruba has claimed that their shipwreck "Antilla" is "The largest shipwreck in the Caribbean." Whilst I can't fault any Tourist Board or local Diving Facility for making such a claim, the Author really should have done his homework. I know of at least 2 Cruise Liners found elsewhere in the Caribbean (Grenada and Mustique) that are easily 200 feet longer than this particular shipwreck and, for me, the diving detail in this book is, therefore, suspect.

My final criticism is reserved for the blatant advertising for "Captain Don's Habitat." This amounts to several photographic captions where no name even needed to be mentioned and a double-page eulogy about this particular diver. I fully appreciate how the Author's diving had to be sponsored by somebody, but subsequent reference to that sponsor should be limited to the acknowledgements page and, perhaps, the occasional plug in one or two (and no more) photographs. If the Author wishes to write a testimonial to Captain Don Stewart (I am well aware of his contribution to the local Diving scene.) - fine by me, but its inclusion here gives the impression of this book being limited to the Diving provided by this particular facility - and nobody else. And that is the wrong impression to give.

Having said all that, almost all the information you are likely to want is here. That - coupled with a good cross-section of high-calibre photographs throughout, make this the best diving guide to the ABC Islands I have yet to see. With a few improvements here and a few deletions there, this book could so easily have obtained a 5 star rating.

NM
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