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Swimming with Orca: My Life with New Zealand's Killer Whales [Paperback]

Ingrid Visser
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (27 Dec 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014301983X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143019831
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,176,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I was born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand in February 1966. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book- buy it now! 3 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
We were lucky enough to meet this amazing lady who works tirelessly for these fantastic and usually misunderstood creatures. The book is an insight into her early years and what made her want to care for these amazing creatures. Very well written and worth buying. Visit the [...] foundation to see her latest campaign to free a badly treated orca at seaworld and sign petition please!
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5.0 out of 5 stars loved it 24 Dec 2013
By sage
Format:Kindle Edition
Great read start to finish, I absolutely loved it! She describes orcas & how they are studied & also provided amazing pictures of these beautiful creatures. I'm not much of a reader but couldn't put this book down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awe inspiring 22 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The inspirational story of Ingrid's journey to study the unique behaviours of New Zealand orca, amazing woman and fascinating story, she really brings the creatures to life in this book, I loved it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good source for learning about cetacean research 2 Sep 2006
By C. S. Weinberg - Published on Amazon.com
Dr. Visser is obviously a person who loves her work. She is a scientist specializing in cetacean research. In particular, she studies the behavior of orca, or killer whales. If you have been lucky enough to meet Visser in her native New Zealand or on an expedition to the South Pacific or Antarctica, you know how passionate she is about the creatures to which she has dedicated her life.

The book, "Swimming with Orca," is semi-autobiographical, tracing the 40 years of Visser's remarkably rich life from that of a child growing up in New Zealand and sailing around the world with her father, to that of a scientist observing orca in their natural habitat. It is the story of a young woman with a dream and the obstacles she surmounts to attain that dream. As such, the book is both educational and inspirational. The writing is unpretentious, honest and easily accessible, and is illustrated by excellent pictures, in black and white and color. It is good reading for young and old alike.

The title of the book reflects Dr. Visser's courage in the face of animals with a reputation as the deadliest in the ocean. Even more so, it reveals the mutual trust that has come to exist between Visser and the orca who know her: she literally does swim with the orca, unafraid and without the use of protective devices. And individual orca do recognize Visser and her boat, and come to play, communicate, and seek affection. Dr. Visser lovingly describes these encounters.

Important issues of wildlife management also get their due. Dr. Visser addresses some of the situations which endanger orca and other marine mammals including industrial pollution; keeping animals in captivity; and irresponsible boat handling and fishing practices. She also describes efforts to protect the N.Z. orca, including an interesting discussion of the process of rescuing beached whales.

The book is a good resource for learning about cetacean research. It documents Visser's observations of orca behavior, and it describes the scientific methodology required to do work in this field. Additionally, Visser addresses the issue: should field research among animals be of the hands-off, observation-only kind, or can a more humane and interactive approach be as valid? Visser comes squarely down on the side of the humane and interactive, citing the work of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey. This is fortunate for the reader: a tale about a whale named Ben is entirely more enjoyable and memorable than one about a scientific specimen labeled NZ101.

Although Swimming with Orca is her first book intended for a general audience, Dr. Visser has also helped produce a video for The Discovery Channel titled "Orca - Killers I have Known," has written several books for the children's market, and has published articles in scientific journals.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful balance of science and emotion 16 Jan 2007
By Kirsten W - Published on Amazon.com
This book strikes a wonderful balance between straight science and the more emotional stories of interaction with the orcas. She discusses her own work, researching the orcas of New Zealand and Antarctica under more rigid scientific situations. But at the same time, she also discusses the more emotional side of her fascination with killer whales. The stories she tells of coming face-to-face with killer whales in their own element are wonderful. It's also interesting to see her acknowledge the possibility that these interactions could affect scientific data, but then also look at what she's been able to learn because of them. This book can appeal to both the more scientific-thinking public as well as the laymen - it does a wonderful job of bridging the gap between the two, a critical factor in today's world of translational science. Highly recommended for anyone with a love of wildlife!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! 21 Jan 2013
By Kristin Cruise - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a great read for anyone who is passionate about whales, dolphins, or nature in general. Once I started the book, I could not put it down. Dr. Visser is very passionate about these animals, and her writing conveys that to the reader. The personal stories on her interactions with specific whales brings the book to life. I completely recommend reading this book!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book was too short 25 Aug 2013
By Chanelgirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I admire Dr. Visser and her "hands on" approach to orca research. She has shown the world that you can swim with wild killer whales without harm or aggression from them. Some of them actually appear to enjoy human interaction and seek it out, just as much as we do. While Dr. Visser feels or has been told she is not scientific enough in her research, I feel she is a better researcher because she observes them close up in the water, instead of from a distance. In fact, those "other" researchers are only getting a part of what orcas are capable of because they are entirely leaving out wild orca interaction with people and their emotional capability, intelligence, etc. They just want to observe them with their pods in the wild and that is only a part of what orca is about.

The first chapter of Dr. Visser's book was boring, but once she began talking about orcas, I couldn't put the book down. I read it in 3 days while on a business trip. I am only giving it 3 stars because it was too short and wish she had written about her experience with Keiko. She left that completely out and only focused on New Zealand and Antarctic orcas. Several times I was in tears, once tears of joy and the other tears of sorrow. One was her first personal interaction with an orca and how the orca went slow in her approach so as not to frighten Dr. Visser, who reached out to touch the orca. It was a beautiful moment the way she described it. I loved reading about each orca and it's personality and uniqueness and the various interactions she had with them. The other teary moment was her discovering a lone orca calf with gunshot wounds and how the orca kept swimming to her for help. The baby orca was abandoned, alone, wounded, malnourished. It was heart breaking and sickening to think someone would shoot this baby whale. Dr. Visser made a terrible mistake leaving the orca because when she went back another day to look for it it was gone, likely dead. There is no way it could have survived without help. As an orca researcher she should have called for help to get this baby in to an above ground pool where it could have received medical treatment and be fed and nursed back to health. Here in the US it would have been rescued. She had the capability to call for help and did nothing. I would have never left that whale and called for help. She knows she did wrong and I'm sure will never forgive herself. Reading about that baby whale will haunt me for the rest of my life.
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read 6 Jun 2014
By Sue8 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book kind of after the fact many years after it was written. I would like to see a follow up book from Dr. Ingrid Visser.
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