Words of wisdom from bio-hotspots
That’s quite an author list, but these experienced divers take turns to write about the areas they know, and seem to do their level best to fulfil the promise of the book’s sub-title: A Guide to the Best Dive Sites In Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
Given that their mission is to nail the richest sites in the richest part of the globe for diving, and all in a mere 290 pages, they make an impressive job of it.
I leafed through this beautifully produced reference book, stopping at the sites I had dived to see whether the writers’ descriptions tallied with my own recollections, which they invariably did.
It’s always likely with a book of this sort that readers will take issue with the weight given to one site compared to another, or the omission of one place altogether, but this book is clearly the result of a lot of hard work, deliberation and careful curation.
The writing succeeds in getting a flavour of the underwater experience and character of individual sites and regions, rather than being a catalogue of facts and figures. And another welcome aspect is the collection of detailed maps marked with individual dive-sites, which I for one will find helpful in future.
In fact my only mildly negative observation would be that among all the nice little wildlife photographs that make this book so bright and colourful, it would have been good to have more than the sprinkling of wreck pictures we do have, but that really is nit-picking.
The 55-page “Practicalities” section at the back (along with further reading recommendations and index) make this a genuinely useful title. Tuttle has specialised in books about Asia for nearly 70 years, and its experience shows here. For anyone who dives the Coral Triangle, it’s good to have a book like this to give shape and form to all those mouth-watering site-names.
Review by Steve Weinman
Softback, 290pp, US $19.95
Appeared in DIVER May 2017