Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Best Dives of the Western Hemisphere based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
My first reaction on seeing this book was that it resembled a small telephone directory. Sadly, on studying the books 313 pages, I could find nothing to help me change that description. There are different levels of describing whatever diving is to be found. At the closest level, we might study a 4000 word article devoted to one specific site. With a broader perspective we have a description of a whole reef before this becomes widened to include the entire country, sea, region or wherever. 'The Western Hemisphere' is a title with which I am not only unhappy - because the authors seek to justify a poor attempt at re-writing the map of the world, it is also inaccurate. In this instance the authors have included a jumble-assortment of destinations and in searching for an all-inclusive title have deemed it appropriate to put them together under their own definition of 'Western Hemisphere' which does not conform to any definition I have previously encountered. So, having decided that the USA, the Caribbean and Brazil form the Western Hemisphere, speaking as an Englishman who was not aware of his oriental connections!, my next problem is that wretched word 'Best!' Says who? Any title that includes words such as the 'best,' 'top' or 'greatest' is always misleading because all such claims can only be subjective. As I have said many times before, my list will always be different from your list and neither of us is either right or wrong, it's just the way it is. But even so, whenever a good writer gets down to describing a site that they regard as one of the 'Best,' they usually let their pen flow with sheer enthusiasm for that particular site - but not here. 'Best Dives of the Western Hemisphere' measures approx. 8' x 5' and it does not take long before the reader realises that the detailed information relating to this curious, eclectic mix of 'Best' dives is simply not there. As an example - and genuinely taken at random, the only written information about the Cayman Islands dive site called 'Big Tunnels' (which is given a 5 star rating within the book) reads as follows: 'BIG TUNNELS is north of the Seven Mile Beach area. The area's outstanding feature is a 50-ft coral archway linked to several tunnels and ledges. Eagle rays, grunts, puffer fish, jackknife-fish, morays, queen trigger fish and an occasional nurse shark inhabit the reef.' Which only goes to show that the authors are not even aware of how to write down the name of a fish correctly. My final criticism is reserved for the book's layout. We all know where the Caribbean is - and any book dealing with a number of the countries from within this charming part of the world will, generally speaking, start to list those countries from north to south. This book lists all it's many destinations in alphabetical order - thus making the book very disjointed as we flit from destination to destination - as though we were trying to spin a spider's web over a map of the world. In one instance we are taken from Belize, to Bermuda, to Bonaire and then Brazil. In another we are treated to the Cayman Islands followed by the Channel Islands (no, not the British Channel Islands, Britain is no longer in the Western Hemisphere - remember!) in Southern California and then to Cozumel. So, for those who like fairly disjointed books with misleading titles and containing a bare minimum of information on as many different destinations as could possibly force-feed into 313 small pages, this is the book for you. Of course, should you then find a destination that whets your appetite, you will need to go out and buy another book - one containing 'all' the relevant information on your chosen destination. Why not cut out the middle man? One star retained for effort. NM