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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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April 2020    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 46, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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What’s With the Star Chart?

from the April, 2020 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

We publish a Star Chart with each travel article, so a diver might have a glimpse at what to expect from the story and the destination. On the bottom, the chart is labeled either Caribbean Scale or Worldwide Scale. Because most Caribbean reefs have been degraded and fished out, five stars for experienced divers at a Caribbean resort may earn only three stars worldwide. We can compare food quality worldwide (though if you're a steak eater, you might not find Indonesian Mie Goreng to your liking), but not the diving.

The reviewers come up with the stars, but Undercurrent ensures that the diving stars for experienced and inexperienced remain consistent. Our reviewers are experienced travelers, and occasionally they differ with us regarding the rating for experienced and inexperienced divers, but we try to keep the ratings of each destination consistent.

Which bring us to last month's story about Sorido Bay. Our reviewer originally rated it 4 stars for experienced divers because of the current, but we raised it to 5 stars, which is what we always rate Raja Ampat, expecting that our experienced divers are able to handle that current. Furthermore, we added that because of those unpredictable currents, we said that inexperienced divers should not go to Sorido.

Our reviewer, however, said that during his visit, a number of guests were getting openwater certifications, and some certified divers were relatively inexperienced and did OK. "The divers getting certified said they loved diving at Sorido Bay. The inexperienced ones enjoyed most of their dives but would have preferred less current at a number of sites. Management made a point about not taking inexperienced divers to sites that would be beyond their abilities and cautioned divers not to 'overestimate themselves.' "

Senior editor John Bantin, who has been to Sorido four times, does not think these are waters in which to earn one's first certification and inexperienced divers are safer getting their experience elsewhere, in less speedy and more predictable currents.

-- Ben Davison

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