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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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February 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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What Is Undercurrent’s “Caribbean Scale?”

from the February, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Undercurrent reader Ryan Black emailed me to ask the difference between the Caribbean and Worldwide star scales we use to rate dive destinations. He's not the only one who has wondered, and sometimes I wonder myself.

When I started Undercurrent in 1975, I had only been diving in the Caribbean and Hawaii, and I based the star ratings on my limited experience. It took a few years before I could afford to venture farther - Fiji was my first stop - and I immediately saw how much better the fish and coral were.

I decided to create a Worldwide scale. If I didn't, most Caribbean sites would turn out just average - three stars - in comparison to Fiji or Papua New Guinea, and that wouldn't be a fair assessment for those readers who were in no position to travel that far from home.

So, the Caribbean scale puts Bonaire, the Bahamas, Cabo San Lucas and even Hawaii) on essentially the same plane. People can travel to those with some ease and similar expense. The rest of the world, which takes more time and money to dive, we compare on the Worldwide scale. It seems to make more sense.

Of course, such judgments are arbitrary. Our detailed descriptions give a better understanding of the diving, accommodations and food. The star rating is just a quick summary of our experience comparing tropical venues close to home and, separately, comparing those in the remainder of the world.

- Ben Davison

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