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Field Guides & Natural History  Marine & Freshwater Biology  Marine Biology  Marine Fauna & Flora

Underwater Guide to Seychelles The Best Diving & Snorkelling Sites with ID Guide to Reef Fishes, Invertebrates, Corals and Megafauna

Field / Identification Guide Divers Guide
By: Christophe Mason-Parker(Author), Rowana Walton(Author)
160 pages, ~350 colour photos, colour & b/w illustrations, 1 colour map
Underwater Guide to Seychelles
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  • Underwater Guide to Seychelles ISBN: 9781912081271 Edition: 2 Paperback May 2020 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 5 days
Price: £14.99
About this book Customer reviews Related titles

About this book

The warm tropical waters and coral reefs teeming with fish mean that Seychelles is a hugely popular diving destination. The waters that surround Seychelles are home to over 1,000 species of fish and 300 species of coral. The islands are visited by giant Whale Sharks and manta rays, and are home to the critically endangered Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles. Divided into three parts, Underwater Guide to Seychelles provides a general introduction to diving and snorkelling in Seychelles including what to expect and where to base yourself; a guide to the best sites for diving and snorkelling; and a photographic identification to 280 of the most common species of marine life covering fish, invertebrates, corals and megafauna. For all those who plan to spend time in or on the waters of the inner islands of Seychelles, this is the perfect, pocket-sized guide. The taxonomy of some fish species has been updated for the second edition.

Customer Reviews (1)

  • Compact diving guide plus marine life guide
    By Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne 25 Nov 2020 Written for Paperback
    This is a compact, A5 shaped book of 160 pages which lives up to its subtitle of ‘The best diving & snorkelling sites with ID guide to reef fishes, invertebrates, corals and megafauna’. In essence, this is really two books of almost equal size. The first part, up to page 85 is a diving and snorkelling guide and pages 86 to 150 are a marine life guide. Although I have had the privilege of having snorkelled in a few tropical countries, I have not been to the Seychelles yet. My interest in this book was the marine life section. More on that later.

    The first part of the book has five main chapters; the first two introduce the Seychelles and its marine environment. The third chapter is a well-written chapter to the practicalities including health and safety when diving and snorkelling in the Seychelles. There is a huge range of topics covered in bite-sized sections and anyone planning a diving or snorkelling trip would be well advised to read them. The fourth chapter is a guide to dive sites (pages 44-73) followed by a smaller chapter to snorkelling sites (pages 74-82). The dive sites and snorkelling sites sections are preceded by a map marking out the sites. The spreads on the sites are at least a page each and follow a standard format with pictures showing the site where possible or the marine life to be encountered in the sites. The spread is headed by a shaded fact box. There is information on what is to be seen as well as practical information on logistics and conditions such as the prevalence of any currents that divers and snorkellers should take heed of.

    It is clear that both authors have a lot of local experience and are skilled naturalists. The diving and snorkelling sections are written with manifest enthusiasm and joy for what can be seen. Take for example a few extracts from the section on Grouper Point. ‘…At the Point of Baie Ternay, the currents are strongest and large schools of black snapper, chubs, jacks and batfish swirl in the water column….’ ‘..The reef is home to several endemic Seychelles anemonefish, which share their host anemones with delicate Porcelain Crabs…’. ‘…Between August and October each year Whale Sharks congregate in the Conception channel and the surrounding waters….’ Who would not be enticed to visit the Seychelles after reading accounts like this? All that the tourist board needs to do is to attend dive shows in their consumer markets and hand out copies of this book. But unfortunately, that is not what tourist boards do, which may be good news for competing countries for whom such an enticing guide has not been published.

    My main interest in this book was the guide to the marine life. I have a fair number of books which are guides to reef fish. But what I liked about this book is that the marine life section takes a wider view across vertebrate animals such as fish, as well as many groups of invertebrates from corals to sponges. Whether I am observing marine life in the wild or in an aquarium, I like being able to categorise them. Fairly high in the taxonomic hierarchy are kingdoms, the plant and animal kingdoms being two such examples. Each kingdom is subdivided into phyla (singular phylum) and these are in turn divided into classes and families. The most familiar phylum in the animal kingdom would be the Chordata with classes such as the mammals to which we belong. The bony fish are in the class Osteichthyes, with the sharks and rays in the class Chondrichthyes. This book categorises marine life by phyla and classes and families. But for anyone for whom this feels too technical, the divisions can be ignored.

    As expected, the bony fish receive the widest coverage in this book with nearly forty families covered, ranging across well-known families such as anemonefish, butterflyfish, wrasses and eels. Each family is illustrated with a sprinkling of fishes to give a sense of the body shape of the members of that family. The bibliography in the end sections points to more comprehensive reef fish guides. With the invertebrates, the coverage is understandably sparser with the focus at introducing them at the level of phyla. For example, the sponges are in the Porifera, the shrimps are in the Arthropoda and what we simply refer to as seashells are in the phylum Mollusca. Many of these phyla also have species and families which are found on dry land. Some of the invertebrate phyla have additional information. For example, there are also line diagrams that illustrate the types of coral shapes and the parts of a coral polyp.

    The marine section is a nice bite-sized introduction to the diversity of life and helps people who snorkel to learn to categorise what they see and perhaps notice a little more than just colour and interesting shapes. People who come from a birding background like me have a habit of wanting to assign specie to families and higher classification levels. Of course, you don’t need to know how biologists classify corals or fish to appreciate the amazing richness and colour of life under the sea.

    This book is a neat hybrid of a conventional dive guide and a marine life guide. The compact, portable format means it is easy to pack into the day pack and will I am sure, help people not only to find out where they should dive or snorkel but also to have an appreciation of what they see in terms of the diverse taxonomic phyla and classes of marine life. Books like this with practical information play a part in incentivising visitation, which is essential to any country where marine tourism is important for generating employment.
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Field / Identification Guide Divers Guide
By: Christophe Mason-Parker(Author), Rowana Walton(Author)
160 pages, ~350 colour photos, colour & b/w illustrations, 1 colour map
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