The Caribbean by Kurt Amsler, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Caribbean

The Caribbean

1.0 1
by Kurt Amsler

Written by leading diving authorities, Abbeville's Dive Guides combine the best in underwater photography with the most complete, three dimensional diagrams and practical information on the worlds most popular dive spots.

Three–dimensional maps in full color of each site illustrate 28 of the most spectacular dives in the Caribbean. These maps


Written by leading diving authorities, Abbeville's Dive Guides combine the best in underwater photography with the most complete, three dimensional diagrams and practical information on the worlds most popular dive spots.

Three–dimensional maps in full color of each site illustrate 28 of the most spectacular dives in the Caribbean. These maps offer what no book has ever before provided: the information needed to plan your dive down to the last detail. You can review the exact layout of the site—including depths, sizes, and distances between reefs and wrecks or any hazards—and even the lighting conditions for optimum underwater photography. The short chapters covering each dive provide crucial data about depths, currents, weather variables, and plant and animal life, and each book ends with a full–color visual encyclopedia of the most common fish that inhabit the area.

The expert's lively text has been vetted by Diving Science and Technology Corp. (DSAT), a corporate affiliate of Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), making these the most reliable guides for the expert as well as the first–time diver.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Particularly useful [are the] color drawings of dozens of fish species." — Los Angeles Times

Product Details

Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
Abbeville's Dive Guides to the World's Best Sites Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 11.40(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from The Caribbean Dive Guide


European conquerors were the first to call this stretch of the Atlantic "the Caribbean," after the native Caribs. Some maintain that it is the region where Christopher Columbus first set foot in the New World. The Caribbean Sea itself borders Cuba (north), the Antilles (east), Colombia and Venezuela (south), and Central America (west). It is not a coral sea, like the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and you won’t find large coral formations and reefs, but there is nonetheless a sensational underwater world to explore.

The entire western Atlantic offers exceptional subtropical scuba diving. Warm currents keep the water temperature above 68F (20C) and encourage the growth of a great variety of unique flora and fauna. The ocean floor, transfigured by violent floods, seismic activity, and volcanic eruptions during and after the Ice Ages, had previously been hundreds of meters higher; it is formed of limestone and lava with innumerable chasms and caves.

Colored sponges of countless shapes are distinctive features of these waters; they grow at all depths reachable by divers and some are large enough to actually get inside. The soft corals and sea fan corals are beautiful-some are very similar to the gorgonians of the Mediterranean. Most of them are found only in this area, growing at depths of 10 to 65 feet (3 to 20 meters). Swimming above them is an enchanting experience. There are some hard corals: huge elkhorn corals, branch corals, yellow fire corals, flat corals, and brain corals. However, it is the sheer walls–called "drop–offs" because they plunge vertically to depths of up to 6,560 feet (2,000 meters) that shape the most spectacular underwater landscapes and make the most exhilarating dives.

The rich variety of living creatures starts with the lower animal species, including snails, bivalves, and worms; these are not much different from corresponding types living in other seas. There are crustaceans of all kinds—crabs, prawns, shrimps, and lobsters—in abundance. Tiny, gaudy reef fish light up the landscape, although their range of colors is narrower than that of tropical fish. Angelfish thrive here–they can measure up to 16 inches (40 centimeters) in length, much bigger than their relations living in other seas. There are gray angelfish, French angelfish, and the splendid gold–and–blue queen angelfish. This is the only place in the world where you will find Nassau groupers. They grow to a considerable size and, in busy dive sites, are as friendly as puppies. Stingrays also find ideal living conditions in these waters—the huge expanses of sandy bottom provide them with a hunting ground rich in crabs and other small animals—and they can grow to a wingspan of more than 3 feet (1 meter). Hundreds of them live in a single Grand Cayman lagoon, which is a great attraction for divers. They are harmless creatures, using the poisonous tip of their tail only in defense. Large fish patrol the drop–offs: manta rays, eagle rays, gray sharks, hammerheads, barracuda, enormous schools of jacks, and (the biggest of them all) the whale shark.

From the Florida Keys to the southernmost Antilles, sport diving is professionally organized. All the islands and coasts open to tourism have efficiently equipped dive bases that work on American standards, providing modern equipment and a guarantee of safety. The best diving areas include (from north to south) the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, the Yucatan (Cozumel, Cuba, Turks and Caicos), the Cayman Islands, Belize, Honduras (Guanaja), the Virgin Islands, the French Antilles, and the Dutch Antilles. The allure of the Caribbean archipelago—great weather, beautiful underwater landscape, and well–equipped resort facilities—is only enhanced by its people. Their optimistic outlook, reflected in their music, is a relief to stress–worn tourists. They will regale you with thrilling stories of treasure hunters and mutinies over a drink in one of the many "Buccaneers Taverns" or "Pirates Pubs." Afterward, you may even see a foggy image of the infamous Henry Morgan himself on the dock at midnight…

Meet the Author

Kurt Amsler is a photographer and diver who has received more than 100 awards for his underwater photography, including the 1995 Antibes Festival award for best underwater photography book for his Maldives Diving Guide.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Caribbean 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book does not reach the standards demanded by today's discerning Scuba Diver. It is also very difficult to see where this particular publisher is coming from with a title 'Caribbean Diving Guide' on the cover of a book which does not include so many of the very best diving destinations within the traditional Caribbean islands. In short, it is difficult to match that title with the content. A glance inside reveals a selection of 28 dive sites in 9 countries. Whilst I might view the choice of country as questionable, I at least expected to find the very best diving from each of the chosen locations. Sadly, they are simply not there! Not for the first time, this particular publisher appears to have cobbled together the work of several contributors to produce a disjointed book from whatever information and photography was available - rather than commissioning somebody to go out and produce something far better. In short, they have gone for the cheaper option and this is reflected in the final product. Beginning with a very disappointing selection from the Bahamas - where any mention whatsoever of the Blue Holes (for which the Bahamas are world-famous) is studiously avoided, we are then taken to the Florida Keys, only to realise that the first two countries visited are not even 'in' the Caribbean. After a trip to Cuba, where we are treated to 3 very low-grade sites with maximum depths of 20m, 15m and 10m (yes 33 feet!) respectively - and you begin to get the idea! These are followed by Cozumel (wrongly spelled Cotzumel) where, yet again, the best sites are avoided. Four sites in the Caymans - predictably including 'Stingray City' (yawn!), are followed by three in Belize - where the Author attempts to rename the 'Great Blue Hole' the 'Giant Blue Hole.' After visiting Honduras, we are suddenly treated to a 1,600 mile journey over to Guadeloupe and Martinique for 2 dives each before rounding off the diving in continued disappointing fashion with the last 2 underwater sojourns being a further 500 miles away in Curacao. Whilst claiming to be a guide to the 'Caribbean,' Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, BVI, Cayman Brac, Grenada, the Grenadines, USVI (to name but 8!) are not mentioned at all. As always, Kurt Amsler's photographs are very good (and this earns the book its one Star) although a number of other images are under-exposed and not up to the standard expected in this day and age. The 24 pages of drawings of common fishes at the end is useful - and perhaps they should have concentrated on that particular theme instead of producing a book which is of little value to any serious diver. NM