Top Dive Sites of the World, New Holland Publishers
Top Dive Sites of the World, New Holland Publishers

Where do you want to go When a travel agency sent me this unusual open invitation recently, it caught me on the hop. How should I decide
I looked at my map of the world. There seemed to be so much that was blue and I seemed to have seen comparatively little of it. I was spoiled for choice. If only a copy of Top Dive Sites of the World had been sitting on my desk!
This is a coffee-table book from New Holland, the company that publishes the successful dive-guide series. In a way it is a spin-off from those books, with Lawson Wood and Guy Buckles among the 11 contributing writers. With Jack Jackson as the arbiter of choice, the publisher appears to have taken material gathered for its guides and distilled it into the best of the best.
One hundred and sixty-eight 30 x 26cm pages give scope for 300 high-quality colour photographs to be displayed in a way impossible with the smaller format of the guides. Well-drawn maps accompany side panels covering climate, water temperature, visibility and how to get there.
Some of the photographs will be familiar, like Lawson Woods queen angelfish, which introduces the Caribbean section. He must have sold the use of this frame a thousand times over!
The book also includes many diving experiences that you might have enjoyed or will recognise, such as shark-feeding in the Bahamas, diving the Brummer in Scapa Flow, Dolphin Reef in Eilat, the reef at Shaab Rumi, the two wrecks of Lhaviyani Atoll in the Maldives, Jellyfish Lake in Palau, the whale sharks of Ningaloo Reef and the mantas of Yap.
Rather than devaluing the book, including such sites lends it authority. None of the 75 locations is dealt with in any great detail - there would not be space.
But this book is great for whetting the appetite, and a useful reference should someone suddenly ask where you would like to go!

Top Dive Sites of the World, New Holland Publishers 0171 258 1293. Hardback £29.99.