By Jaime Peligro Photo courtesy: Genna Marie Davis
The term “coffee table book” has come to describe a collection of bound photographs that share a theme: something to page through while sitting on a sofa in a family room. “Costa Rica Blue: the Underwater Guide” is so much more than this. It is a unique volume that defies its own definition.
Enter writer and photographer Genna Marie Davis, a resident of Costa Rica for more than 10 years and owner of Tamarindo Family Photos. For the past two-and-a-half years, Davis has been transforming her passion for diving into something tangible: “Costa Rica Blue”, which hits the shelves this month.
Billed as an underwater guide, it focuses on marine life, diving and snorkeling, with a healthy chapter dedicated solely to Cocos Island. The information is laid out for the reader in a way that makes it very palatable, no easy feat for a first-time author. Davis teamed up with Undersea Hunter’s Avi Klapfer, gaining access to his library of underwater photos and expertise that spans more than three decades. Their passion for the subject matter comes across on every page.
Part One is a photographic and written guide to common marine life in Costa Rica, including sharks, turtles, rays, marine mammals, fish and invertebrates. Part Two contains a plethora of easily digestible maps and practical advice for diving in the various diverse regions of this country. There is also a fascinating chapter on the history of the pirate lore of Cocos Island. Just decades after Colombus discovered America, buccaneers were making Cocos their home base in a way that would make Johnny Depp blush.
The book is chock full of stunning photos and a wealth of information. And it is this combination of words and images that and Davis said, in observation, that Costa Rica’s marine territory encompasses an area more than 11 times larger than its actual land mass and that, while more than one quarter of the country’s physical structure is protected, less than one percent of its oceanic waters are.
According to Davis, the book was a team effort, starting with Klapfer and the additional submissions of fellow photographers Sean Davis, Diego Mejias and submarine pilot Shmulik Blum – who has navigated the DeepSee Sub at Cocos Island for 12-plus years. The book’s graphics and layout were done by Tamarindo’s team of designers Veronica Rojas Carvajal and Ana Martínez Granados at OndaPixel.
“My hope is that the book really puts a spotlight on Costa Rica’s marine life, and the need to protect it,” said Davis. “This project was truly a labor of love for the ocean, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. I’m so grateful to the dozens of photographers, scientists, divers, researchers and creatives that contributed.”
Dr. Enric Sal, an explorer-in-residence for National Geographic offered his praise for the book: “I enthusiastically recommend this book. It could have been named ‘The Blue Bible of Costa Rica.’”
“Costa Rica Blue: the Underwater Guide” is available in Costa Rica at the Bookstore of the Waves (formerly Jaime Peligro Bookstore) in Tamarindo, as well as Cafe Britt stores throughout the country. In the US, it can be purchased directly through the website www.costaricablue.org.