The title of any non-fiction work is usually an indication of the content making "Top Dive Sites of the World" a very big statement indeed. Of course, any personal selection is always subjective - my list will be different from yours and neither of us is either right or wrong - it is simply a matter of personal choice and or own experiences. Nevertheless, the content must always live up to the title.
This book is divided into 7 general areas of the World in the following order; Caribbean, Atlantic, Mediterranean, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Indo-Pacific and Pacific. Just as soon as we enter the Caribbean, however, we find one of the world's most outstanding diving destinations is not included at all. Not only is Belize (home of the world's second largest Barrier Reef `and' the Great Blue Hole) not even mentioned, the country itself does not even appear on the map! The Atlantic Ocean is reduced to Scapa Flow and the Canary Islands which, to all serious divers, is akin to reducing the complete works of Jacques Cousteau to one sheet of A4 in large print! The Mediterranean is confined to Sardinia - with that most excellent diving destination Malta also excluded from the map.
Whereas the Red Sea does (very predictably!) includes mention of the Thistlegorm (and whole books have been written about that particular wreck!) details are far too sparse. Sadly, the Rosalie Moller, which many experienced divers regard as a far better wreck, is another which is overlooked - although, by now, we have begun to get used to such disappointments.
Little purpose is served in continuing to stress what is missing from the remainder of the book except to say too many of the world's acknowledged "Top" dive sites and destinations are excluded and all divers who study the content will begin to challenge that title. Perhaps "My favourite dives from around the World" would have been more honest.
In addition the text which is included reduces each subject to such bare bones a qualified anthropologist would be hard-pressed to determine the species. As an example, the section on Scapa Flow reveals nothing whatsoever about any specific shipwreck - and those wrecks are the ONLY reason why divers go there! Instead we find a very brief overview - just as we find a very brief everything else.
In summary, therefore, a good book for those who like to look at pretty pictures but a work devoid of serious research and lacking vital information.
Top Dive Sites of the World - Review It is blatantly obvious when you open the front cover that not only are you going to be sucked into this book, you are going to be sucked into a whole other realm. Six strip photographs of divers in azure blue water and magnificent seascapes immediately tell the diving fan that this book was a good purchase. The dive sites featured are split into seven regions - Caribbean sea, Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Indo-Pacific and Pacific Ocean and each of these are handled in the same formulaic way. Each region is then broken down into a small list of dive destinations and these are all assigned three or four pages of text and accompanying pictures. A dive destination is given a brief description often comprising some geographical information, some history and a brief run down of what else is of interest in that particular location and surrounds. Then it is into the nitty gritty of a few selected dive sites and what you can expect from them. For quick reference, each resort's title page has a column describing in brief terms the climate, the best time to visit, how to get there, water temperature, visibility, quality of marine life, depth of dives, snorkelling availability and the dive practicalities of the sites featured. Most of the sites are accessible to open water qualified divers but some are necessarily only for those with advanced/specialised diver skills. Wreck dives are also featured. This book is cleverly produced. It is quite clearly a reference book and so the text, whilst well written, really only becomes important when you are interested at looking at a particular destination or region. It is the pictures, on the other hand, that make this book a real joy to browse through. Collected from a number of renowned photographers, they are breathtakingly beautiful. If I had one criticism of this book it is that it simply is not long enough. To cover the Great Barrier Reef in six pages seems to belittle the most awesome natural creation on the face of the earth but you have to draw the line somewhere. It is clear though that this book is definitely targetted at divers and not something to buy if you simply have an interest in the sea and sea life. For the divers among you, if the descriptions of myriads of fish and the shadowy forms of sharks don't have your mouth watering, the pictures will have you checking your bank balance and the availability of flights to Egypt........or Grand Cayman.......or Fiji.
As a diver, this book works for me like a traveler's wish list. Some of the best spots that a diver should try are presented with fantastic pictures and practical descriptions. I've had the chance to dive in some places related in this book and all the information is valid, it's worth and easy to use. If you are looking for a reference book with this kind of content, you may find that this one will fit your needs. I would say: get your gear up, get lots of money and prepare your trips for the next ten years. You'll need that time for getting around them all.
Amazing book with gorgeous content to take you all over the world, either from your armchair or by getting wet!! Just used recently to give good ideas for my trip to Thailand, Borneo and Indonesia.... Breathtaking destinations...especially the swimming with Manta Rays in Indonesia...WOW! Enjoy.......