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Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur Paperback – May 29 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1 edition (May 29 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805083189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805083187
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #214,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. MacArthur fellow and John Burroughs Award–winner Safina (Song for the Blue Ocean) presents an impassioned account of the plight of ocean-dwelling turtles, especially the largest, the leatherback, "the closest thing we have to a living dinosaur." Leatherbacks, which can weigh over a ton, range the oceans to nesting sites on beaches along the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards. Safina travels to many of these sites, bringing the reader into the turtles' world as he describes how the females leave the ocean, cross sandy beaches, dig huge pits using their flippers as spades, lay their eggs and then creep back into the sea. He shows how precarious this world is; nature's dangers are always present, but it's human activities that threaten the turtles with extinction: poaching, longline fishing nets in which the turtles can drown and depletion of the turtles' food supply due to overfishing and global warming. There are remedies, such as intensive nest-saving programs, but these take time to implement, and time is running out for the turtles. Safina's eloquent book is a battle cry in the struggle for the survival of one of the world's most beautiful and endangered creatures. Maps. (June 27)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–This book is Safina's personal journal of the migration of the leatherback, loggerhead, and green turtles. These aquatic creatures of reptilian descent wander throughout the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Eventually they die in captivity because they don't understand boundaries. This limitless ocean life is in jeopardy due to long-line fishing, poaching, and commercial development along the beaches of Trinidad and Mexico, where they nest. The author is passionate about conservation efforts, describing the eco-tourist work of Nature Seekers and the legal efforts of Oceana in protecting the now critically endangered leatherback turtles. More than a chronicle of attempts to save the species, Turtle captures the physical magnitude of these ancient creatures and the repetitive calm of their endless travels. Safina's simple and deeply personal style captures both the mystery of the leatherbacks' life cycle and the need to develop a global understanding of their plight to survive. This title will quickly become a part of the classroom libraries of those teaching life science and ecology.–Brigeen Radoicich, Fresno County Office of Education, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
"Welcome to Matura," the night-darkened sign had said, "Home of the Leatherback Turtles." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on July 16 2007
Format: Paperback
The human diaspora across the planet has been Nature's most jarring event since the Cretaceous. Not since an asteroid slammed into the Caribbean 65 million years ago has anything exceeded what our species has done to upset the diversity of life. A mysterious group of animals, leftovers from that bolide, is revealing its secrets to enquiring scientists. The sea-going turtles, whose peregrinations around the world's oceans, are revealing new information about their enigmatic lives. Carl Safina followed the turtles and the people studying them to describe the findings and what they mean. This brilliant account reveals turtle life and the threats they endure.

After reminding us that only seven species of sea turtle remain, Safina visits the Caribbean to describe the great Leatherbacks coming ashore and nesting. Emerging through the night's surf, she finds a particular spot, one which may require more than one attempt, then with her back to the site, uses her rear flippers to blindly scoop out a hole to drop her eggs. Safina describes his wonder at her ability to do this without seeing the effect of her digging. Not all turtles manage this without mishap, and in a few cases the caring observers do the digging for her. In either case she drops her eggs, covers them with sand in a way to camouflage the spot, then returns to the sea. From the surf line, she swims away to some unknown destination. When the eggs hatch, the surviving young follow her to the sea. For the males, it's the last time they will feel land under their flippers.

The destination long remained a mystery until tagged turtles began appearing thousands of kilometres away. Safina joins a boat seeking Swordfish over the Canadian Grand Banks as a means of finding the giant turtles.
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By AQ on Dec 14 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was a gift from a fellow turtle lover. I was daunted by the length and technical expertise of the book, and as a result I didn't begin to read it for a year after I received the gift. Once I started, I couldn't put it down and read it in a matter of days.

This book is extremely well written and researched. The style breaks down intensive research, data and statistics into a easy to comprehend read. Not only does it describe the state of leatherback turtles around the world in detail, but give the reader a deep understanding of the invaluable function of our oceans. The book links the function of so many aspects of our oceans together in a way that is relevant to the reader and their way of life. I came away with much more knowledge than I anticipated and a sense of urgency to protect this enormous resource.
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Format: Paperback
This summary of knowledge about primarily the endangered Leatherback turtle was immensely valuable for me as I am preparing to go to Costa Rica for a trip to work with various sea turtles, one of which may be the Leatherback - largest reptile of the ocean! Highly recommended reading for anyone wishing to understand sea turtles better and are conservation minded. The book is very well presented and interesting to read.
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By LCHatcher on Sept. 5 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is an amazing story of survival....over thousands of years.
I found this the easiest to read of Carl Safina's books,all of which are extemely well written.
The things that I learned about the leatherbacks in particular were well worth the price of the book.
Carl Safina makes you care about the turtles and feel their struggles even if you've never seen a turtle before.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 34 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Well-written, fascinating accounts July 22 2006
By Enjolras - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is very well-written and entertaining. Mr. Safina knows some interesting people doing interesting work on leatherbacks. He provides a good account of leatherback biology and population statistics (his description of how they stay warm in cold water is particularly good). He covers all of the sea turtle species to some degree, but keeps his focus on leatherbacks.

However, if you are looking just for a few facts and figures on sea turtles, you are missing much of what this book has to offer. Mr. Safina spends much time showing readers the insides of the industries, fishermen, coastal villages, and other people who affect sea turtles. For someone who does not live near the sea, having a narrator sailing with real American fishermen in the 21st century, giving voice to their views, was a real eye-opener. Furthermore, Mr. Safina touched upon the role of other institutions, from law to religion, that affect the sea turtles. Fortunately, Mr. Safina understands these people and various aspects of society, something that makes him a better conservationist and better author.

If you want to learn a lot and be awed by the leatherbacks, read this book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Yet Another Winner! June 7 2006
By Dr. Steven L. DC - Published on
Format: Hardcover
For those of you interested in learning more about life on our planet this book is MUST read. As in his previous books, Dr. Safina is able to once again meld science and natural history in understandable layman's terms. The jouney of the Leatherback Turtle will both astound and mystify the reader. Many sea turtle species are on the verge of extinction including the Pacific Leatherback. Reading this book will open your eyes to the many facets of how scientist around the globe are trying to prevent this from happening. So, prepare to travel along with Dr. Safina & these magnificant creatures to far away places that most of us can only dream about!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Around the World with a Living Fossil June 28 2006
By David B Richman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
When I first opened Carl Safina's new book, "Voyage of the Turtle : In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur," I felt a sense of being with him on the beach at Matura, Trinidad. This was not just because of his description of the area, which was quite accurate and very well done, but because I was with a group of biologists on this same beach seven years ago at night under a waning gibbous moon and in view of the Atlantic waves. We, like Safina and his group, were waiting for the signal that would indicate that one of the Nature Seeker scouts had discovered a female leatherback turtle coming ashore. We were drenched by two tropical rainstorms before the light down the beach brought us to our feet and, following our guide, to the sight of the boulder-like turtle maneuvering on the beach sand until she found the right spot to settle in and lay her eggs. What followed is well described by Safina. It was a night and early morning I'll never forget. I even got to touch the 800 lb monster! To add to the tropical atmosphere, the fireflies in the forest that edged the beach were mirrored in the sky by Alpha and Beta Centauri and the Southern Cross, the latter just visible in the moonlight during the early part of the night. Finally, as we walked back along the beach, we nearly stumbled over a second female.

Safina has captured the magic of that Trinidadian beach, and he goes on to describe further wonders relating to this largest of all living turtles and the other sea turtles. The leatherback is a huge turtle (males are even larger than females) that ranges whole oceans and is found in virtually all of the Atlantic and Pacific. Only recently have the movements of individual turtles been well documented and this has revealed an astonishing fact- they can easily cross the Pacific or travel from Trinidad to the North Atlantic off Canada and then to Africa! Once more these giant leatherbacks feed on jellyfish! Thus the very solid turtles are sustained by the most unsubstantial seeming large organisms on the planet!

Safina has written a wonderful book on the leatherback and other sea turtles. All of these giants have suffered at man's hands- directly and indirectly. Yet in some areas conservation efforts have paid off. Leatherback numbers are increasing along Florida and on Trinidad beaches. Still, the battle is far from won, for this and the other sea turtles. If you would taste the wonders of these fascinating sea creatures and understand why they should be protected, this great book is a good place to start.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An informative and deeply moving masterpiece June 30 2006
By Cynthia Tuthill - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This third book of Carl Safina's is every bit as magical and enthralling as his first two. Once again we are taken on a journey throughout the world, with stop-overs in places that I thought I understood (Florida, Trinidad, Costa Rica, New Guinea) but that are clearly filled with fascinating persons and practices that are strikingly new -- and uplifting -- to me. I was moved by the plight of turtles, such glorious beings, and saddened to realize how their only real danger are human practices ... and yet Safina probes each situation deeply enough to find the wildly varied knots of dedicated people who are succeeding in helping to bring these deserving creatures back from the edge of extinction. I was thrilled to find that Safina had written another book -- his other two are amonsgt my favorites of all time -- and this one was just as intriquing and poetic and important as I could have hoped.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Informed conservation and hope for the future are the key May 9 2007
By AvidReader04 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I finally had the chance to meet the author in person, after reading this and some of his other publications. I don't think there is anyone who is more serious yet also more full of hope than Carl about protecting our world's oceans and all beings dependent on them. Read this book and you will learn why it is important that we pay attention to the plight of animals that are endangered or which we humans are taking to the brink of extinction because we do not know all the facts. We have only one Earth and we need to preserve it for the generations to come. This book will bring you close enough to the life of these amazing relics from the dinosaur age to imagine you are right there on the beach, witnessing a clutch of eggs hatching, observing the hatchlings' attempts at survival. Learn about the migration of these animals, and follow their path with the help of state-of-the-art tools or old-fashioned hands-on research. The book focuses mainly on leatherbacks, but also deals with the greater picture of ocean conservation. An interesting read, a mixture of story-telling and scientific report which will keep any conservation-minded reader entertained as well as informed.