THIS BOOK HAS BEEN a labour of love, produced over two years by a Venezuelan diver who settled on the southern Caribbean island of Bonaire 20 years ago and has managed to dive and record every one of its 90 marked sites.
This is an artbook that can be enjoyed especially by any of the many divers who have visited the island in pursuit of “diving freedom”. It’s on Bonaire that you hire a 4x4 and some cylinders, and drive along the coast looking out for the yellow stones that mark the beach entries for the sites.
The nearby island of Klein Bonaire is the exception, requiring access by boat, and most of the main-island sites lie at regular intervals along the west coast, the exposed east posing more of a challenge.
Although its coverage is comprehensive, this is not a guide-book but a mood-setter. Alvarez dedicates a spread to each dive, with one topside panoramic photograph to establish the scene, and one large and three or four smaller underwater shots, accompanied by the map position and a few well-chosen words in a handwritten style.
Of course, in reality there is a lot of crossover between the sites, especially adjacent ones, so it’s to the author’s credit that he has managed to find a way to give each one something of its own identity.
Parrotfish, French angelfish, seafans and turtles abound (and, worryingly in the later pages, lionfish) but the selection of conventionally lit yet very evocative pictures has a mesmerising effect that depicts Caribbean diving at its best.
I have dived quite a few of these sites and this book brings the experience back to life. It even includes a little yellow frogfish at Mi Dushi on Klein Bonaire, where I saw one some eight years ago – happy days!
The price is rather high, but this book is warmly recommended for Bonaire enthusiasts and armchair divers everywhere.
Steve Weinman

Editorial Espeto
Hardback, 192pp, US $60