The GIRL of THE SEA of CORTEZ is my favorite Peter Benchley novel. It's a high-spirited adventure story that speaks to my personal love of the ocean and all its fascinating creatures. The story takes you under the sea to experience the spectacular, but it also shares the threats facing our seas. While this book was written 30 years ago, Peter was prescient about mans complex relationship to the sea. This captivating story is even more relevant today than ever.
--Gregory S. Stone, Ph.D., Chief Scientist for Oceans, Conservation International
"The ocean drives the water cycle, the carbon cycle, the oxygen cycle, the nitrogen cycle … it drives the way the world works. Even if you never touch the ocean, the ocean touches you every day. And it’s only now, as we get into the 21st century, that we’re beginning to put the blue part of the planet on the balance sheet."
"It is our responsibility to preserve and cherish this pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
--Carl Sagan, Astronomer + Author
“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”
--Jacques Cousteau, Oceanographer + Explorer
I am excited to let you know that Peter's favorite novel, The Girl of the Sea of Cortez, has been updated and is being released on August 20th as an eBook and paperback with some wonderful new bonus content. And earlier this year at our sixth annual Peter Benchley Ocean Awards, Sylvia Earle, Her Deepness, gave "The Girl of the Sea of Cortez" a heartfelt recommendation that I thought you would enjoy seeing - https://vimeo.com/72596394
Thirty years ago Peter took a wonderfully strange ride in the deep – a once-in-a-lifetime ride on the back of a giant manta ray that would compel him to write this, his favorite novel, The Girl of the Sea of Cortez.
Peter was filming an American Sportsman segment on the huge schools of hammerhead sharks that used to gather periodically in the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, but the majestic manta ultimately became the center of their cinematic attention and affection.
In truth, manta rays are like floating islands, oasis sanctuaries that host a myriad of animals seeking shelter, protection and sustenance from these grand giants. But they are very shy and almost never permit human contact.
This magical encounter gave Peter the idea for an adventurous and poignant story about the tension between humanity’s ever-growing need for food and the enormous pressure that overfishing and coastal development are are putting on our oceans and its amazing creatures.
The fate of these beautiful mantas is in serious jeopardy. Because of their particular anatomy and the fact that mantas can’t swim backwards, they are prone to getting entangled in fishing lines and nets. As a result, they often turn up as incidental fishing "by-catch" or, worse, they are deliberately hunted down by frustrated fisherman who have lost too many nets. In the past five years there has been an alarming rise in the use of manta gill-rakers for Chinese medicine, which is devastating manta populations globally and putting them at risk of extinction.
The Girl of the Sea of Cortez reminds us that the sea, like everything else on Earth, is finite and fragile. I hope you and your family enjoy reading it as much as Sylvia! The Girl of the Sea of Cortez