Book Review: Reef Smart Guides – Grand Cayman

Some time ago, I spent a couple of weeks working with two guys from a company called Reef Smart Guides. Each day we headed out on the boat to all of the dive sites of Grand Cayman’s eastern shore, and they conducted in-depth research into each and every single location. The idea was to collect all the data required for the next book in their game-changing lineup of watersports travel guides.

That book has now been released, and I was able to get a copy to review. I must say, they did an incredible job and this certainly blows any previous guidebook out of the water. (No pun intended!) Ocean Frontiers will be holding a live (virtual) book launch on Saturday the 5th December. Folks who wish to purchase a signed copy can do so as we have two full cases of signed, limited editions to sell.

Read my review below. If you are a visitor to Grand Cayman, or simply wish to be in the future, this book would make a fine purchase!

Dive site maps and guides have now been catapulted into the 21st century with the introduction of the new kids on the block, Reef Smart Guides. Through a painstaking process of video surveying, aerial photography, and intensive interviews with knowledgeable local Divemasters, not to mention state-of-the-art technology, Reef Smart Guides have begun producing high-quality, glossy guidebooks for a host of global diving hotspots.

World-renowned for its phenomenal diving, Grand Cayman has joined the ranks of international dive destinations to have its very own Reef Smart Guide. Filled with incredibly accurate and minutely detailed dive site maps rendered fully in exquisite 3D. Not only do the maps give a complete overview of each site’s topography, but also presents plenty of other information such as recommended routes to follow, marine life to look out for, and other useful information such as potential hazards. Of further interest, the maps are rendered in such a way as to show above-surface features too which can help readers get a feel for how the dive site is situated relative to land – this would be of particular interest to shore divers and boat captains.

Handy, easy-to-read information boxes also allow the reader to further develop their local knowledge. These boxes include information on general diving procedures and safety tips, well-researched scientific insights into corals, sponges, and marine life, as well as some fascinating local history, legends and stories. Some of the more popular dive sites have comprehensive descriptions including GPS coordinates, depths, conditions, and more.

Encouragingly, the East End of Grand Cayman is featured heavily in this guide which is a major positive point as it has long been considered the best diving on the island. Often overlooked by guide books of the past, I am very happy to see the magnificent diving of East End finally receiving the recognition it deserves. Interestingly, the producers of the book worked in collaboration with celebrated underwater photographer Alex Mustard for the photographs in the book. Many, if not most, of Alex’s photographs which grace the pages of this book were taken in the East End which really highlights just how unique and special this part of the island is. 

My copy of Reef Smart Guides – Grand Cayman will be a treasured and valued addition to my book collection. Its attractive cover will look great on a shelf, or would make a fine coffee table book too – sure to spark delight among all who pick up this wonderful book.

Click here for more info on how to buy…

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