Diving Guide to Malaysia (Diving Guides) Paperback – 28 May 1997
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Each dive in this guide is accompanied by a dive chart and colour photographs. Malaysia's underwater attractions are to be found in the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, one of the world's most notable areas of biodiversity. Detailed analyses are included of over 30 dives in the waters of Borneo.
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The contents page reveals an overall introduction followed by 26 specific dive sites arranged under the headings; Pulau Sipadan, Pulau Mabul and Kapalai, Layang Layang, Abdul Rahman National Park and the Labuan Wrecks (under which heading several wrecks are mentioned in passing - but only one wreck is described in detail). Then, a curious assortment of items are covered in the penultimate chapter entitled “Dives in the Peninsular Malaysia” (sounds like a hotel) which is followed by the publisher’s customary final chapter on local fish.
Each section commences with yet more introductions - after which each specific dive site is described with maps (I do so wish they would print their maps the right way up - with “N” at the top of the page!), a two-page artists impression of the entire site and written narrative. The book is well supported with page after page of very good photographs - although some are clearly upside down. Dear oh dear.
What is “missing” from the book, however, brings into question its credibility as a serious work because none of the vital information so essential to the modern, discerning, travelling diver is included. There is no information about; travel agencies, airlines, airport tax, tourist boards, hotels, diving facilities, safari boats, available equipment, what to bring, what to wear, electricity, currency, language, time differences, photography, local traders - and if I missed anything, this book missed everything. In short, this so-called Diving Guide is nothing more than a collection of pretty underwater pictures.
Finally, we come to that part which is dedicated to fish life. Sadly, this too is revealed as a flawed piece of work. In this instance, there are 117 common species of fish each drawn by the publisher’s resident artist. Whilst some might think this is nothing more than a means of padding out the book - at the expense of the aforementioned vital information, I made a direct comparison with the fishes drawn and described in this book with those from other titles from this same publisher. I was truly amazed to discover so many of the same pictures being used in those other titles - but that these same pictures are used to describe different fishes in different books. Padding, careless or simply not giving a damn?
The book's one redeeming feature, however, remains a very high standard of photography - for which it retains a one star rating. What a pity such excellent photography is continually wasted on one abysmal product after another.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book practically replaces the mind of the divemasters as it can allow you to know what to expect and how to dive a particular site. Having said that, it's always recommended that you go with a divemaster.
Expect no more than an illustrated DIVING GUIDE to East Malaysia dive sites. This book can be better improved if these drawings were extended to dive locations in Penisular Malaysia, which in this case, it only has a write up and few pictures of marine life.