CHRISTMAS IS COMING for divers, so no sooner does Lawson Wood’s contender for those gift-lists appear than we get the third edition of the popular Diving the World.
I suppose the subtle distinction between this and Dive the World’s Best Diving Destinations is that while Lawson Wood has selected what he regards as the world’s best sites, Diving the World reviews sites that happen to be popular with divers, so the authors are prepared to be objective in their judgments.
There are plenty of less-subtle distinctions, however. Diving the World is a big square block of a book, absolutely packed with descriptions, factoids and pictures over its 360-plus pages, and Footprint’s design is a sheer delight.
There is so much solid information here, but the presentation makes it readily digestible.
When Tim Ecott reviewed the first edition for DIVER back in 2006, the book was subtitled A Guide to the Worlds Coral Seas. It contained detailed reviews and maps of 200-plus dive sites at warmwater destinations that divers had told the authors were on their wishlists.
Tim praised the book for being very specific in its choice of sites and for the refreshing willingness of the globetrotting Tierneys to tell it as it was about the negative aspects of some areas.
“A genuinely comprehensive and practical handbook for travelling divers,” was his verdict, and it’s apparent that the third edition, these days more broadly subtitled A Guide to the World’s Most Popular Dive Sites, is better than ever.
In fact the pagination (and retail price) is much the same as it was eight years ago, but you now get reviews of more than 275 dive sites in 24 countries, all of them dived and photographed by the Tierneys.
“Everyone always refers to it as a coffee-table book, which amuses me, but as that seems to be the feedback, we thought we would go a bit more that way,” Beth Tierney told me. “We’ve added a maps spread with extra regional dive info for comparisons and streamlined the text so that it’s a bit more succinct.”
The information has been updated, chapter sizes evened up and the pages redesigned so that “the layout is a bit sleeker and the pictures are bigger”, which can’t be bad.
Three extra destinations, Jordan, Saba and St Kitts, are included.
The dive-centre listings have been streamlined by sticking to “tried and tested” operations to reduce the chances of the book going out of date too quickly.
And while not a new feature, the fact that most divers don’t spend their entire holiday under water is still recognised – the “Drying Out” sections are well done.
This book would be near the top of the tree as my choice of diving Christmas gift, whether to give or receive. Diving the World isn’t just a browse, it’s a briefing.
Steve Weinman

Footprint Handbooks
ISBN: 9781910120057
Softback, 360pp, £19.95