on March 18, 2001
Most kama'ainas and regular visitors who love to snorkel or scuba dive in Hawaii have a shelf of not-quite-complete reference books to help them identify the variety of gorgeous, often unique, fishes they see in Hawaiian waters. Everyone is always trying to find The Book that will help them identify some mystery fish barely glimpsed from a distance and often never seen again. If I could have only one book to help me find that mystery fish, this would be the one. Filled with helpful information describing both the families and specific varieties of fish seen in Hawaiian waters, this book has the best collection of photographs of all the books I've found. Often taken in dramatic close-up, and very artistic in composition, the photographs are all of live fish taken in their natural environments.
This can be both a blessing and a (minor) curse for the snorkeler and scuba diver. Photos which were taken at 30', for example, tend to have a bluish cast, which can distort the color of the fish when they are seen in shallow water of four feet. In addition, a close-up of the head of a particular eel, for example, does not help the snorkeler enough when s/he sees that eel from above, and it's moving at high speed among the rocks twenty feet below. The book is terrific, my favorite reference book, in fact, but for the devoted snorkeler determined to identify every fish s/he sees, I'd recommend that the Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes by John E. Randall be consulted as backup.
on April 9, 2003
The author did an outstanding job compiling the many varieties of reef animals present on Hawaii's reefs and including them in one book. This book has it all if you want to get familar with what you'll most likely run into while diving or snorkeling while in the islands, but one drawback is the author's lack of detail in listing and describing the sites in the first part of the book where you're most likely to see such animals. I specifically wanted to know where to find them and at what depths. Using this book and a good dive or snorkeling guide like the O`ahu Snorkelers and Shore Divers Guide by Francisco B. de Carvalho would make anyone's hunt for photographic opportunities a simple task.
on April 18, 2003
This book features good pictures, meaningful information, lively style, and excellent attention to detail. For example, exact locations and depths are given for each photo. This information is at the end of each species description. Although detailed, it is not at all dry--a fun read in fact!
A look at the reverse of the title page reveals that it has been updated and revised several times, and reprinted 8 times! That is testimony in itself. Also, although not mentioned in the book, the author maintains a website where he posts updates and information on his books. The domain name is the title of the book.
on September 9, 2000
I just returned from a trip to Hawaii. I had this book and Mr. Hoover's invertebrates book as well. They both were outstanding. My only disappointment with this book was that it did not describe many of the tiny goby-esque fish found in the tide pools. That criticism aside, the book performed wonderfully for identifying fish we saw while we were snorkelling. Mr. Hoover includes a brief description and some interesting facts about each fish species.
on July 19, 2002
I am in complete agreement with Mary Whipple's review of this book, I looked very hard and could not find a more comprehensive book than this. I spent the last six weeks on the island of Maui, diving and snorkelling, I did not see one fish that I could not identify through this book. It is simply the book you are looking for when you want to identify fish in Hawaiian waters. The same goes for the other book, on invertebrates, written by Hoover.