Synopses & Reviews
, travel writer and amateur naturalist Bonnie Henderson traces the stories of wrack washed up on the mile-long stretch of Oregon beach she walked has regularly for more than a decade.
Henderson's writing conveys both a keen attention to the specifics of place and an expansive field of vision. The burned hull of a long-abandoned fishing boat, a glass fishing float, the egg case of a skate, a beached minke whale, an unusual number of dead murres, and an athletic shoe are the starting points for essays that reach across the globe. Henderson takes readers from Coos Bay, Oregon, to Vancouver, B.C.; from the currents circulating through the North Pacific to the "Eastern Garbage Patch" between Hawaii and California; from China's Shenzhen Special Economic Zone to fishing villages on the coast of Hokkaido, Japan.
As Henderson uncovers these odysseys, she meditates on current issues, events, and phenomena oil spills, the proliferation of ocean debris, international trade, the evolution of sharks, and the survival prospects of whales. The characters that emerge range from the world's leading minke whale researchers to the crew of a Coast Guard airbase to a small-town salvager of wrecked fishing boats, glued to the radio and praying for disaster.
Strand offers a thoughtful look at the surprisingly far-ranging journeys of what washes up on our Pacific shores.
"Henderson writes...in the style of John McPhee, Barry Lopez, or perhaps Edward Hoagland....A marvelous book enchanting, illuminating, often surprising, always informative." David Laskin, author of The Children's Blizzard and Braving the Elements: The Stormy History of American Weather
"Subtle in its critique of our destructive impact on marine life, and lush with delight in the marvels of ocean and shore, Henderson's beachcomber tales net a bounty of new knowledge and clarifying perceptions." Booklist
About the Author
A journalist and an avid outdoorswoman, Bonnie Henderson lives in Eugene. She is the author of Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon and Day Hiking: Oregon Coast and has published articles in Backpacker, Women's Sports and Fitness, Coastal Living, and Sunset, among others. In 1995, she began volunteering for CoastWatch, a program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition that monitors changes, natural and unnatural, on every inch of Oregon's shoreline. Strand rose from the experience of routinely walking Mile 157 on the central Oregon coast, puzzling over what she found.