Review by Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown
First impressions of this book are good. It has lovely inviting front and back covers and is the right size to take on a trip with you. It is a paperback book, keeping the weight down for travel, but still uses high quality paper. Now, we have never dived Gozo or Comino, so are not going to be able to argue the accuracy of the dive site descriptions, but Richard is an instructor and guide on the island with masses of experience. The book had just gone to press when the famous Azure Window collapsed, and so some edits had to be made to correct this information, but it now has up to date information about diving this area.
The book covers 57 dive sites on Gozo and a further 14 on Comino, featuring both shore and boat dives that include caves, caverns, ship wrecks, reefs and sheltered bays. The first few pages cover some essential information about diving these islands, some history, useful phrases and where to visit when you are not underwater. Then the book gets into the nitty gritty of the dive sites themselves.
Most of the dive site descriptions include a detailed map, with a suggested route drawn on to assist those that will be diving without a guide. There is a written description of the dive and a useful details box to give depth, duration, visibility and difficulty level, as well as including tips like taking a torch on dives that have overhead environments, or to use an SMB in heavy boat traffic areas. There is usually a photo or two taken above water to show the topography and entry points for the dive site, and there are underwater photographs too. I would have liked to see more quality underwater photographs to show off the diving here and to whet my appetite.
I was very pleased to see a section at the back about seahorse photography and their strict protection on these islands and there are additional pages on invasive species and seagrasses too. There is also a handy list of dive centres, emergency contact details and a wealth of other useful titbits that raise this publication above the standard dive guide. I was surprised to see the odd advert in the book though, but I guess a book like this might need a little extra funding to help publishing costs.
All in all, this is a well put together and good-looking guide book that will be a useful tool for anyone planning on diving Gozo and Comino. It is the sort of book that first timers, as well as those experienced in diving here, will want to have on their shelves… I would certainly love to put it to the test and dive some of the sites using the book as a guide.
Available now in paperback (ebook forthcoming) from Divedup.com, online and from retailers.
£16.95 / €19.95 / US $24.95 | ISBN 978-1-909455-16-0 | 176 pages | 234 x 156 mm
Scubaverse.com is currently running a competition where you can win a copy of ‘Diving Gozo & Comino – The essential guide to an underwater playground’. The competition ends at midnight next Tuesday 6th June. You can enter the competition to win a copy of Richard’s book here.