What Was the Question?

By Al Hornsby

We got a lot of e-mails (skindiver@petersenpub. com) in response to my November 1999 editorial. I asked for input regarding what readers liked and disliked, and wanted more of and less of. I was glad to see that our new directions are being noticed, and the vote was decidedly positive. The call for diverse, adventure-driven articles, honest reporting and an interesting mix of articles (avoiding "the same old thing") was loud and clear. We hear you. Please continue to let us know how we do in the months ahead.
One specific question did show up a time or two: "Why don't you ever say anything bad about a place?"

Lots of magazines hear that one, and there are a number of answers, depending upon the magazine's goals and mission. I read an interesting editorial recently in a ski magazine, where the editor had received the same question. His answer, which I really enjoyed, was that he had been skiing once when the snow was bad, and it was too cold and the wind was blowing, and just about the time he thought he would quit skiing, he discovered a run where there was no one else, and on the hard-packed snow his skis just took off and he felt like he was flying, and the wind in his face smelled so good and fresh, carrying the scent of fir trees... He finished by saying, "Now, what was the question?"

His point is applicable to our sport as well. It's really pretty hard to find a bona fide dive destination that is simply bad, and those places that don't measure up, that can't provide a satisfying experience, simply don't get written about. To twist the popular bumper sticker line, "There are so many places and so little time (and so few pages)." There are also days when the weather isn't great, and there are days when the water isn't that clear or the fish don't seem to be there like they usually are, even in the best places. At those times you can usually still find a special something, a special experience-the sea has no shortage of them; sometimes you just have to open your mind and take a different look.

Now, Skin Diver isn't a "consumer reports" style of book, and we won't be. We won't pan a destination or resort; if it doesn't measure up, we simply won't write about it. On the other hand, you should-and can-expect that the reporting you get will be honest and informative. We'll talk about the excitement of a place or the qualities of a product, but we also will aim to provide reality, with information that is accurate and useful, to help you make decisions that bring satisfaction, not regret.

Like I said before, please continue to let us know how we do in the months ahead. You have our number.