I used to trust Lonely Planet guides.
I have two guides for Micronesia. One is a Lonely Planet, the other is a Periplus Action Guide to diving in the Pacific.
Here’s what the Lonely Planet guide has to say about diving in Guam:
“Guam’s waters are home to numerous war wrecks and a rich array of marine life – there are more than 800 species of fish and 300 species of coral.”
That’s pretty much all that’s in there for that particular subject. Now here’s what the Periplus Action Guide has to say:
“Do not underestimate Guam’s waters. They claim as many as twenty people a year.”
I recognize that diving in Guam isn’t the sole focus of the Lonely Planet Micronesia guide. They’ve got a lot of stuff to cover in a brisk 368 pages, so they only give cursory details on this particular subject. But I think they left out a really important statistic. I want to know the average annual death toll for a particular activity if it’s anywhere higher than 0.
Here’s what the Lonely Planet guide says about the Tokai Maru dive site:
“One of the more unusual wreck dives is to the Tokai Maru, a Japanese freighter bombed during WWII in Apra Harbor…The uppermost part of the Tokai Maru is only 40 feet from the water’s surface, so it can make a good beginner dive.”
And here’s what the lurid sensationalists at Periplus have to say:
“Penetration of either of these wrecks is strongly discouraged, and there is little to see inside. Several people have died trying to do so.”
So Lonely Planet is telling people it’s a good beginner dive, and Periplus is saying not to go near it cause you might die.
Twenty people a year are killed in the waters of Guam because of the strong, unpredictable currents, and Lonely Planet doesn’t mention it anywhere.
I’m only there a day. I think I’m going to abstain from diving on that particular island.
My caring and thoughtful former coworkers at Pandemic got me the Periplus guide as a going away present. Thanks folks!