Best Dives of the Western Hemisphere by Joyce and Jon Huber
Best Dives of the Western Hemisphere by Joyce and Jon Huber

My favourite dives of the Western Hemisphere Cocos Island, Socorro Island, parts of British Columbia, the northern islands of the Galapagos, and Walkers Cay and the Tongue of the Ocean in the Bahamas.
Best Dives of the Western Hemisphere, a dive guide written by Joyce and Jon Huber, fails to mention half my choices, preferring to dwell instead on places like the US Virgin Islands, Bonaire, and the Florida Keys - all worthy destinations, but really, the best
Of course its subjective, and I suppose that to call a guide Best Places We Have Visited... or Some of the Best Places... is less than compelling, but I believe the title of this book promises more than it delivers.
How a dive at Salt River Canyon in St Croix can be placed alongside one at Gordon Rocks in the Galapagos, and both be rated as among the best mystifies me - and what happened to the Sea of Cortez
That said, many of the places covered are very popular with the US diving public, and I imagine buyers will be gratified to feel that they have been to all the best places within easy reach of their country.
Is this Hunter Travel Guide applicable to those who start their journeys from this side of the Atlantic The clue to its philosophy is found early on, where the Shark Wall in New Providence, Bahamas, is described as suitable only for experienced scuba-divers.
This is one of the best and easiest sites in the world, still with healthy corals and a resident population of around 40 large female Caribbean reef sharks which have learned not to fear divers. You can do the dive staying in less than 15m if you like, and there is usually zero current. The authors award it only three stars. They also give three stars to the wreck of the Pamir in Barbados, and then go on to give five stars to Dottins Reef, both of them exceptionally modest dives.
Perhaps they should have called this book Best Dives of the Western Hemisphere for Those Divers Who Learned to Dive Ten Years Ago, Did Three Dives and Have Never Done One Since.
It looks rather old-fashioned, too. Its hefty, but illustrated only with black and white newsprint-quality photographs, plus a few colour plates like an afterthought in the centre.
However, if youre going to be heading to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Turks & Caicos, the Florida Keys, much of the Caribbean, Brazil, Californias Channel Islands, Santa Catalina, the Galapagos or Hawaii, it does include some useful addresses and phone numbers, together with lots of other facts and figures.
This book is for those who want to dive in calm, clear water, which is not very deep, and are content to see a few pretty fish. If I didnt know any better, Id recommend it!   
John Bantin

Best Dives of the Western Hemisphere by Joyce and Jon Huber, Windsor Books (01865 361122). Softback, 346pp, £12.95

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