Synopses & Reviews
Scientists call them "Inia geoffransin, " an ancient species of toothed whale whose origin dates back about 15 million years. To the local people of the Amazon, pink river dolphins are "botos, " shape shifters that, in the guise of human desire, can claim your soul and take you to the Encante, an enchanted underwater world.
As tributaries braid into a single river, "Journey of the Pink Dolphins" weaves ancient myth and modern science into one woman's search for these clusive creatures. With their melonlike foreheads and tubular snouts, pink dolphins look eerily familiar, like people in watery beginnings. No one knows for certain what gives the dolphins their distinctive coloring they may glow pink with exertion, or with age, or their color might change with the temperature of the water. With their flexible bodies -- stretching to eight feet long and weighing up to four hundred pounds -- and finely tuned echolocation abilities, the pink dolphins perform their water ballet on handlike, five-fingered flippers, in a habitat no other dolphin could colonize.
Since these mysterious creatures appear mostly at dusk and dawn, and their migration patterns are unknown, Sy Montgomery's Amazon quest encompasses four separate journeys. In the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo region, she follows the pink dolphins to the spirit realm, where shamans commune with the powers of the plants and visit the Encante. With paleontologist Gary Galbreath, she follows them back in time, tracing the history of the species. At Mamiraua, the pink dolphins illuminate the Amazon's present-day conservation dilemma. And in a final, glorious burst, Montgomery follows the dolphins back, down, deep, to the watery womb of theworld, touching the very soul of the Amazon.
"There are so many stories of botos, you will die writing, " says one river guide. Ancient legends tell us that dolphins have guided humans for millennia, and in "Journey of the Pink Dolphins" Montgomery answers their call, taking us to that perfect place where the Amazon melts into the forest, dolphins swim among treetops, and the twenty-first century dissolves into the beginning of time.
About the Author
Sy Montgomery, who writes a nature column for The Boston Globe, is a commentator for National Public Radio's Living on Earth and is the author of five heralded books, Spell of the Tiger, Walking with the Great Apes, Nature's Everyday Mysteries, Seasons of the Wild, and The Snake Scientist, a book for young readers. She lives in New Hampshire.
Table of Contents
Map: The Author's Travels Through the Amazon
A Woman Rain
Manaus: The Curtain Rises
Map: Meeting of the Waters,
The Meeting of the Waters
Life in the Rain Forest
Death in the Rain Forest
Vine of the Soul
A Fortress of Orchards
Map: Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Community Reserve
Mamirauá: Calf of the Manatee
Map: Mamirauá Reserve
The Waters Open
The Moon's Tears
Map: Tapajós and Arapiuns Rivers,
Dance of the Dolphin
To Conserve the Pink River Dolphin and Its Habitat and to
Visit the Dolphins' World