The Grandest of Lives - Book Review
Eye To Eye With Whales by Douglas H. Chadwick - a Sierra Club Book
From the first pages where the author describes a whale breaching, a leap from the sea, through his encounters of the various species of whales and the scientists who study them, I found this book interesting, engaging, educational and sometimes depressing. He describes his first opportunity to meet a singing humpback whale - up close. "I know this enormity, this sentient presence with a body about seven times my length and four hundred times my weight … turned and came directly toward me … closing the distance much too fast for me to react."
As the author moves from Maui to Nova Scotia, Alaska to Scotland, to California, he covers humpback, northern bottlenose, orca, minke, and blue whales. I learned about the many ways whales hunt for food: bubble netting, cooperative hunting, flick feeding and more. All whales dive, but some dive so deep that they store oxygen in their blood and muscle proteins because at the depth of 850 meters or twenty-eight hundred feet the lungs are virtually flattened. I read about residents and transients and countries that still kill whales.
The Team consisted of the author, and wildlife biologist, Douglas Chadwick, Flip Nicklin, photographer/ researcher who could "free-dive" to eighty feet without a tank, and Jim Darling, scientist and the director of the West Coast Whale Research Foundation - and Jim's twenty-four foot speed boat, "Never Satisfied." This team's assignments quite often come from Bill Graves, the chief editor of National Geographic magazine.
I had never been interested in whale-watching before, but now I will look at these amazing creatures in a much more enlightened way.
– by Donna Hriljac
– Photo by Tim Nooteboom
Note: The book itself contains a minimum of 50% post-consumer waste.
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