Journalist Susan Casey was in her living room when she first glimpsed this strange place and its resident sharks, their dark fins swirling around a tiny boat in a documentary. These great whites were the alphas among alphas, the narrator said, some of them topping 18 feet in length, and each fall they congregated here off the northern California coast. That so many of these magnificent and elusive animals lived in the 415 area code, crisscrossing each other under the surface like jets stacked in a holding pattern, seemed stunningly improbable and irresistible. Casey knew she had to see them for herself.
Within a matter of months she was in a 17-foot Boston Whaler, being hoisted up a cliff to face onto the barren surface of Southeast Farallon Island, part of the group known to 19th-century sailors as the "Devil's Teeth". There she joined the two biologists who study the sharks, bunking down in the island's one habitable building, a haunted, 120-year-old house spackled with lichen and gull guano. Less than 48 hours later she had her first encounter with the famous, terrifying jaws and was instantly hooked. Curiosity yielded to obsession, and when the opportunity arose to return for a longer stay she jumped at it. But as Casey readied herself for shark season, she had no way of preparing for what she would find among the dangerous, forgotten islands.
The Devil's Teeth offers a rare glimpse into the lives of nature's most mysterious predators, and of those who follow them. Here is a vivid dispatch from an otherworldly outpost, a story of crossing the boundary between society and an untamed place where humans are neither wanted nor needed.
©2005 Susan Casey; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.
I have reccommendated this book to many people, including by college-aged sons. They loved it! It reads like fiction, keeping you on the edge of your seat at times. This style of writing is very friendly and comfortable, like sitting down for coffee with a friend, a really smart friend. The narration is excellent.
The history of the Farallon Islands is compelling and remarkable. It is woven into the story of the sharks and the people who study them in a way that makes you care about this austere place in a new way.
The sharks are, of course, the most fascinating creatures to behold. They are the stars of the show and do not disappoint!
The crazy scientist on staff that wanted to surf the perfect break that was in the heart of the shark-infested waters!
The only thing that was a small problem was viewing the photography. I went to the library to check out the book so that I could see them. Definitely worth the effort.
The interplay with the biologists and the sharks was the most engaging part of the story to me. I found it fascinating and wished there was more of it in the book (couldn't get enough of it)
The history of the islands was fascinating. It is well served to be intertwined with the story than presented separately
I enjoyed the reader's voice. I found it engaging and conveyed the timbre of the story without over dramatizing.
I was left with a mixed reaction to the book. The results and consequences presented at the end changed my view of the author I had held for most all of the book. I would still recommend this listen to my friends that are interested in sharks or nature.
Being a huge shark fan (DVR has stopped the rolled eyes during Shark Week from my wife), I thought this would be a great experience of the author learning about the sharks and guiding the reader through that learning. But it was more of her experience on the islands, while I do appreciate, just let me down. I wanted more shark knowledge, more notes of what the researchers did on the island about the sharks and I really didn't get that. So, to you reading this review, not bad, but it needed more for us Shark Fans.
I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile
This is an excellent author ,and prior to this I read the book the Wave, about the ocean and the giant waves that sometimes swell in the murky depths.The ocean is a very powerful and sometimes deadly place.The author has a great style and although she is a great swimmer in her own right,she delivers a fresh perspective from a layman's point of view in both volumes.The thing that impressed me most was that even as much as we have studied many things extensively in this world the ocean and its creatures,the sharks in this case,are still not fully understood.Sharks live a long time and don't suffer from cancer.There isn't much money going into the research of these magnificent lions of the ocean.This particular area off the coast of San Fransisco is chock full of these wonders of nature.The study while on board a small yacht was very austere.The author often had trouble getting her land legs back after being tossed about in the rough seas.The island where the researchers studied the sharks was very remote despite its proximity to civilization.Very few people have been granted the privilege that Susan was granted and she describes the whole experience very clearly for those of us not as lucky as she was.
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