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About this book
About this book
The Red Sea has over 1,000 species of invertebrate and over 200 species of soft and hard coral, fomting the basis of a marine ecoystem which includes 1,100 species of fish, of which just under 20% are endemic. The high level of endemism is one of the main factors that makes scuba diving in Egypt so attractive.
The dive sites offer unobstructed opportunities to spot tropical marine life in crystal-clear waters, ranging from sharks and dolphins to gorgonian fans and feather-stars.
Diving types include shallow patch reefs, drift dives and walls, and a collection of some of the most interesting wrecks you are likely to ?nd anywhere, including the world-famous Camatic and Thistlegorm wrecks. Many of the reefs stretch out far into the sea and form intricate labyrinths of plateaus, lagoons, caves and gardens.
Divided into three parts, Underwater Guide to the Red Sea provides a general introduction to diving and snorkelling in the Red Sea including what to expect and where to base yourself; a guide to the best sites for diving and snorkelling; and a photographic identification of 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 Red Sea, this is the perfect, pocket-sized guide.
Customer Reviews (1)
Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
18 Jan 2021
Written for Paperback
This is a compact, portable guide, combining the elements of a dive guide, snorkelling guide and a marine wildlife guide. The design is very clean and attractive. It is written and photographed by Lawson Wood who has been prolific in publishing books on marine life. I suspect many keen divers or marine life enthusiasts will already have one or more books by him. As expected, the quality of the text and the images hit the mark. The Red Sea is one of the most famous and popular sites in the world with underwater enthusiasts. This book will be useful for those who are new to the site as well as to those who have been there and want to learn more. The first three chapters provide useful background. The very first which is an ‘Introduction to the Red Sea’ has a useful section on the Geography and Geology which I found very interesting. We learn that the Red Sea is an extension of the Great Rift Valley and how it became isolated giving rise to speciation. The second chapter is on ‘The Marine Environment’. It provides an easy bite-sized introduction to coral reef biology for holidaymakers who may try their hand at snorkelling or diving.
The third chapter is on ‘Diving and Snorkelling in the Red Sea’. This provides a wealth of useful practical information including health and safety, equipment, underwater photography and diving facilities. This section will be useful for those planning a visit. There is a chapter each, to dive sites and snorkelling sites. The dive site descriptions have some evocative first-hand accounts, good enough to entice people to take up scuba diving. The diving and snorkelling sites are preceded by a map showing the locations described in the text. Several countries have a border with the Red Sea. These are Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Nevertheless, we learn that one of the reasons for its richness is the near absence of commercial fisheries. A number of key dive sites receive a page each which provide key information on the site and what a diver can expect to see. The accompanying images either show the location if that is possible or some of the marine life to be seen at the site. Only a handful of snorkelling sites are described, but the book informs us that there are literally hundreds of safe snorkelling sites.
The final part of the book, almost half the length of the book, is the ‘Marine Life Identification’. With the fish alone adding up to over 1,200 species (with ten per cent endemic), this can only at best provide a flavour of what is to be expected. It does this very well with a fairly balanced overview of phyla and families. Invertebrates are introduced first: spanning sponges, jellyfish, corals, anemones, starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, molluscs and crustaceans. A populist approach is taken to avoid the book feeling techy. For example, within the phylum for crustaceans, higher taxonomic divisions within it are simply labelled in everyday English, for example as crabs, lobsters & shrimps, copepods & sea spiders. The vertebrates include a sprinkling of turtles and cetaceans before moving on to the cartilaginous fish (rays and sharks) and finally to the bony fish where a number of families are included spanning a spectacular array of fish from fearsome-looking moray eels to stunningly beautiful anthias and parrotfish. The sections on the fish are a thumbnail identification guide with crisp photographs of six species per page with a few lines of text.
In conclusion, this is a handy guide with much of the information required by a visitor in a neat, portable guide. Hopefully, it will inspire travellers to take a deeper interest in coral reef life and open their eyes to the underwater world wherever they live in.
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Lawson Wood has been fortunate to make his passion his career and has authored and co-authored over 45 books, mainly on our underwater world. Lawson is a founding member of the Marine Conservation Society; founder of the first Marine Reserve at St. Abbs in Scotland and made photographic history by becoming the first person to be a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and Fellow of the British Institute of Professional Photographers solely for underwater photography.