Diving Book Reviews:
Diving the World: A guide to the world's most popular dive sites by Beth & Shaun Tierney
Beth & Shaun Tierney are a husband and wife team who have produced a comprehensive guide to diving locations they have visited from around the world. Diving the World is well presented and is laid out in a logical, easy to use format. There is also a surprising abundance of information crammed into a small amount of space. Each destination has some background reading on the country of interest, a description of the diving and a selection of the dive sites to give the reader an idea of what to expect. For countries featured in the book that we have also dived, we've compared the author's write ups to our own viewpoints and we are of the opinion that the reviews are very balanced making it a useful guide. The books downfall however is that it only features 19 countries. In fairness to the authors they do not claim that the book is an "absolute in dive guides", but this does limit the number of divers this book will appeal to. For the well travelled diver this guide is not of much use and if you are planning a trip abroad you are unlikely to find the information you need, but for someone just getting into diving who is wondering where to go on their next holiday this would be a nice addition to your bookshelf and very useful.
The book reviews the following locations: Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, the Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Micronesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, the Galapagos, Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Grenada.
Oceans: Exploring the Hidden Depths of the Underwater World by Paul Rose & Anne Laking
'Oceans' is the book that accompanies the BBC television series of the same name, aired earlier this year. It follows the format of the programmes, describing the underwater discoveries and exploits of the Oceans team as they travel around the main seas of the world. It delves into the archaeology, geology and biology found in each to reveal some known and many lesser known facts about them. Highlights of the series for me were the encounter with a six gill shark and the dive into the plate boundary between the Arabian and African landmasses.
If you missed the series as a diver, you should probably consider buying this book, particularly if you have an interest in marine life and human history. If you enjoyed the series, there is slightly more information in the book and some stunning imagery accompanying the text. I found it was a good read rather than a book to flick through looking at the pictures. It also benefits from having Paul Rose put the book together who was probably the strongest of the presenters for the series. The downfall of the book and the series in my opinion is that it doesn't emphasise enough how we are over-exploiting our seas – most divers understand this but there is still a huge level of ignorance among the general public. The more recent BBC series 'South Pacific' put their plight across far better, especially with the episode showing the tuna fishing using purse seine nets. All in all however, the Oceans book is well put together and would make a great birthday present for any diver and a welcome addition to your bookcase.
Vertical Descent by Steve Turley
Vertical Descent is a novel about two diving instructors who arrive in Corsica with the intention of setting up a dive centre. Their plans are put on hold when they find evidence of a possible U-boat wreck in the area and are subsequently threatened by local nationalists who are also hunting for the wreckage. As tragedy unfolds and romance and new friendships blossom, the threat from the mafia-like nationalists is never far away.
I have to admit I was very sceptical about reading a diving novel, but I found I enjoyed the story and was compelled to find out what was going to happen to the key characters. Occasionally the author goes into unnecessary detail about the technicalities of dive kit set up and the archaeology element that is also a strong feature in the book, and there are some heavy clichés and stereotypes found throughout. Ultimately however, the book is worth a read and would make a great addition to your suitcase if you're heading off on holiday.
Vertical Descent is available via www.verticaldescent.co.uk where you will also find the first chapter available for download.
The Essential Underwater Guide to North Wales Volume Two
South Stack to Colwyn Bay by Chris Holden
The Underwater Guide to North Wales is an intensely detailed description of dive sites around Anglesey from South Stack near Holyhead to Colwyn Bay near Conwy. The book is rammed full of facts about dives sites all along the coast as well as providing details of slips, dive shops and charter boats available. There are detailed local maps of each area adapted from admiralty charts that give a good feel of what to expect from a dive site. Photos of surface are used to help locate each site along with map references and GPS coordinates. There are also photos of wrecks before they sank and a selection of underwater shots.
Some very nice features of the book are the use of the subdivisions into boat and shore dives and the icons used to give a quick overview of what to expect from the site (e.g. strong currents, the presence of ferries etc). Chris Holden has done an immense amount of research to put this book together and I doubt there is anyone out there more knowledgeable about the area than him. If you are planning a diving trip to this area then the Underwater Guide to North Wales is an essential buy. If you live and dive locally then it really is a must. Even if you don't, perhaps buying it might convince you that North Wales is worth a trip!
Diver by Tony Groom
Diver is author Tony Groom's personal account of life as a mine clearance diver in the Royal Navy and as a commercial diver in the oil and gas industry. It describes the rigorous training he went through to become a clearance diver and then follows up with entertaining and sometimes horrifying accounts of the things he has experienced during his career. This includes his time spent serving in the Falklands War where he was left to handle unexploded bombs on board ships which were simultaneously under attack by air raids.
As this is the first book I have been asked to review at dive site directory I was a little concerned what to write if I didn't enjoy it, but fortunately I couldn't put it down so I don't have that problem. Humorous and compelling, this book will have you laughing aloud and turning the page in anticipation of what is going to happen next. You have to remind yourself on occasion that this is a description of somebody's life experiences rather than a fictional story. I can really recommend this as an excellent read to anyone and everyone. You don't have to be interested in war history, commercial diving or even a diver to find his book fascinating but if you are a diver it will enable you to comprehend how difficult it must be hunting for mines in limited visibility. Never again will that first leisure dive of the season in murky UK waters seem so difficult!
Scuba Diving Equipment Reviews:
Suppliers of the LED Lenser Frogman dive torch
The LED Lenser Frogman is a fantastic little torch that both of us at dive site directory dive with. It provides more light underwater than a lot of older, heavier and bulkier halogen torches do so can be used as a main torch. It is ideal for diving abroad as a main torch as it is light so does not add much weight to your luggage. The fact it is small enough to pack away into a BCD pocket and its excellent price also make it great as a back-up for divers who are doing cave or wreck diving. The bulbs last an incredible 100,000 hours and burn time from four AA batteries is 50 hours.
As a special offer to dive site directory users, Brightlites are offering an additional 10% discount on ALL orders, simply add the code LINK01 to your shopping basket at checkout and get an even bigger saving on the already great prices and special offers.
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