Manta Rays and Margaritas: Tropical Travels to Dive the Oceans
by Karen Begelfer, 2012, paperback and Kindle format
266 pages, £9.25 / £2.59

“My theory on choosing dive companies via the internet is simple: if the pictures of divers have happy expressions and there is at least one photo of an ocean-loving dog on the site, the dive shop has to be good” writes Karen Begelfer in her book Manta Rays and Margaritas.

A quirky way of choosing a dive shop maybe, but as the last two diving centres I’ve used both had dogs I think Karen Begelfer may be onto something.

Descriptive and charming, in this book Karen Begelfer tells of her diving travels from learning to dive, getting hooked and visiting both out-of-the-way and popular destinations. This is no run-of-the-mill account someone else’s diving adventures: it sparkles along.

Thirteen chapters cover Australia, Bora Bora, Bahamas, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, Moorea, Hawaii, Micronesia, Belize, Palau and the Cayman Islands.

The author writes well and includes well-researched historical, and geographical, context to the places she has visited. I love her descriptions. “Angry green vipers with full body mohawks…long green ribbons of muscle undulating through the water” makes a perfect vision of a Giant Moray. Crown-of-Thorns starfish are like “leggy pincushions”.

Ideal for some between-dives reading.