Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur
"Magnificent . . . A joyful, hopeful book. Safina gives us ample reasons to be enthralled by this astonishing ancient animal―and ample reasons to care."
―Los Angeles Times
As Carl Safina's compelling natural history adventure makes clear, the fate of the leatherback turtle is in our hands. The distressing decline of these ancient sea turtles in Pacific waters and their surprising recovery in the Atlantic illuminate the results―both positive and negative―of our interventions and the lessons that can be applied, globally, to restore the oceans and their creatures.
We accompany award-winning natural history expert Safina and his colleagues as they track leatherbacks across the world's oceans and onto remote beaches of every continent, including a thrilling journey from Monterey, California, to nesting grounds in Papua, New Guinea. Throughout, in his peerless prose, Safina captures the delicate interaction between these gentle giants and the humans who are playing a significant role in their survival.
tents all of us, even after a night of walking with only a few quick catnaps, want to sit on the beach and watch the light. No boats ply the ocean, and when I ask why the locals don’t seem to go fishing, Tetha tells me that the people living here came to the coast from the highlands, and they have no fishing tradition, no seafaring knowledge. Elsewhere it’s a different matter. South of New Guinea, off the Kei Islands (where, like Monterey Bay, deep water runs close to shore and upwelling
straight here to South Carolina, lingered awhile, then headed north. And we know that the population is increasing. Another thing we all know is what Tom now underscores: “This is probably the densest concentration of Leatherbacks anywhere in the world these days.” • • • We get to Georgia’s border, swing out to three miles, then hook back north along the imaginary transect line. Looking shoreward from the invisible line demarcating “state” and “federal” waters, the density of boats is so
for two weeks, for boats that did not voluntarily have a Leatherback-sized TED. What could be simpler, right? In late 1999, Sheryan Epperly and Wendy Teas of the National Marine Fisheries Service published a report, “Evaluation of TED Opening Dimensions Relative to Size of Turtles Stranding in the Western North Atlantic.” (In the arcana of turtle lingo, “stranding” means washing up dead.) It concluded: “A reduction in mortality in exactly the size classes not fitting through the TED openings
also, occasionally, protesting poverty-stricken fishermen pushed out of the place where they’d been scratching out their living. A very few shrimp farms use shrimp-pond water and shrimp waste products to grow an edible vegetable crop. Such models of efficiency should be standard, but they account for a tiny fraction of shrimp produced. Waste is in the eye of the beholder. Even here and now, virtually everything on deck is edible. Virtually no one in America wants to eat virtually any of it.
trying to find that lost piece of himself, and he might have just scared up a ghost. But I can see that optimism is interfering with his vision; the first dorsal is rounded, certainly a shark’s. Most likely here are Blue Sharks, but with the stiff tail I’m seeing, this is no blue dog. The makos, Great White, and the gigantic Basking Shark have stiff tails. Coming upon it, we recognize the latter. This awesome beast is fully fifteen feet long, probably a couple of tons, and Blair says, “That’s