Review: Diving in Southeast Asia, by Sarah Ann Wormald, Published by Tuttle
Comprising some of the world's best diving and stretching as far and wide as the Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea in the west to Raja Ampat in Indonesia in the east, this guide to the diving in Southeast Asia is an ambitious undertaking. There's always a risk when covering such a big area that the subject is dealt with in such broad brushstrokes that it becomes of little use. Not so with this book authored by lead writer Sarah Ann Wormald, who having earned her spurs with another well-received guide Diving in Indonesia, spreads her wings to take on a whole region, although ably assisted by a team of experts including leading lights such as underwater photographer Michael Aw and magazine editor David Espinosa.
The dive sites are chosen intelligently and appropriately with an emphasis on the best known and most popular sites. So Sipadan and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, Sulawesi and Komodo in Indonesia, and Tubbataha all feature prominently. The mapping is particularly good, with large area maps and smaller dive site specific maps put to good use. The A5 (ish) format works well for a guide that is likely to be used by visitors travelling across the region and while the quality of the photography is not always A1, by and large it's perfectly fine. Undoubtedly there will be gaps – for instance, a couple of paragraphs on Mabul and Kapalai seems a little light – but overall the approach seems bang on.
Useful essays on local liveaboards and marine life offer some excellent insights and 25 per cent of the book is dedicated to practicalities, with lists of contacts and need to know information about health, visas, emergencies, money, weather and what to bring – all useful stuff.
Overall an excellent addition to our dive guide library, which could well become a classic. It's certainly got us planning our next visit to the region.