I sat at a dinner party recently while people were showing off apps they had collected for their iPhones. There seemed to be intense competition to see who had the most.
There is a danger that people can be more in love with the medium than the message, and so it is with many of the apps we are asked to review.
Dive Bonaire comes into this category. Apart from an instantly updated weather forecast via the Internet, it offers little that cant be provided by a book.
There is a list of 100 dive-sites with formatted info and a map to show you where they lie on the southern Caribbean island. This includes co-ordinates, depths, currents, suggested diver experience levels, hazards and so on.
The fish identification section lists more than 115 animals and looks very much the sort of thing youd expect from a fish ID book. I guess Im complaining here that the authors havent made any use of live-action footage.
I prefer the bigger image on an iPad to an iPhone when I’m perusing apps, but have to say that Id be reluctant to put such a device in my dive-bag. I have many dog-eared books on my shelf, but Ive already had to pay for two replacement iPads because the front glass got smashed. So I want more from an app than I can get from a book to make it worthwhile, and Dive Bonaire simply doesnt do it.
Whats more, car-rental companies in Bonaire tell shore-divers not to lock vehicles because pilfering kids will smash the windows, and leaving an iPad (or an iPhone) in an unlocked pick-up really doesn’t appeal.
At least this app avoids expensive roaming fees, because once downloaded to your device you can view it off- as well as online.
It needs 34.7MB of space on your iPhone (from 3GS onwards), recent iPod Touch, or iPad.
John Bantin

Toughturtle
www.divebonaire.toughturtle.com
US$5 from App Store