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A Message from Laguna San Ignacio/Five Year Anniversaryby Serge Dedina, Wildcoast
March 1, 2005
The Sea Life of Orca Whales
PRAISE FOR "EYE OF THE WHALE"
Dick Russell has done for the gray whale what he did for the striped bass taught us to love both the fish and the fishermen. In a riveting tale that celebrates the history and culture of the whale fishery, Russell guides us gently to a consciousness of the critical importance of the gray whale's struggle and survival to modern civilization.
An environmental story with at least the glimmer of a happy ending! Dick Russell's marvelous accounts of the human attempts to decimate and then to protect the great gray whale makes for a wonderful tale a tale we need to tell over and over and over, so we don't slip back into the bad old habits, so that we extend our compassion and activism toward other less charismatic corners of creation.
A book as grand in its breadth and vision as the scale of its magnificent subject, "Eye of the Whale" is fitting tribute to the trials and tribulations of our troubled truce with one of the world's most moving and magnificent and instructive fellow creatures. Listen carefully. Ponder the implications of the compassion that these beings have shown us, and you will grow enriched by the splendor of this sprawling tale.
If there is an Ishmael for our time, it is Dick Russell. As Ishmael told the story of the sperm whales in the killing time of the great whaling fleets, Russell paints the panorama of gray whales today from their persecution to their amazing comeback, from their extraordinary migration to their engaging lifeways, from our love affair with whales to the peril we place them in with modern commerce. Dick Russell is our Ishmael all right, and Captain Scammon is his Ahab, in a magnificent yarn of human and natural history that Melville himself would read with gusto and praise to the skies like a whale's high blow. Look into this big bright eye, and prepare to be struck to the heart.
The story of humanity's involvement with gray whales is long and extraordinarily intricate. Russell has researched his subject well and is a grand storyteller. He enriches his text with information that is new even to those of us who work with whales daily. Although I lacked the time to read it all, I dipped into Russell's book many times and kept coming upon rich and rewarding accounts of events about which I knew little. It's an excellent read... get it.
Anyone who's been held rapt in a whale's presence will find this a delight and those who haven't will find it an inspiration.
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