The Wild Shores of Patagonia: The Valdes Peninsula and Punta Tombo Hardcover – 16 Oct 2000
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
romance to me: a remote, little-peopled area
south of civilization, beyond the reaches of
normal travel routes; a place where nature
still exists without statues and monuments
and histories of kings and great empires.
After reading Jasmine Rossi's picture book of
the area, the mystery of Patagonia has been
revealed, but the romance continues. My eyes
enjoyed a feast of nature as I made my way
through the book. I had difficulty reading
this straight through because I kept wanting
to shower my mind with the beauty and sheer
rawness of the photographs, and I kept
flipping through to discover what else
Ms. Rossi was witness to in the wild.
As hard as it was, I did read through the
book sequentially, and I appreciated how
well-organized the book turned out to
be. Each major creature had its own section,
starting with the peaceful, friendly southern
right whale, then the awesome and terrible
orca, then the seals and dolphins, penguins
and flight birds, and small land animals.
After each section I could close my eyes and
still see and understand these marvelous
animals. I could do this because Ms. Rossi
included not only understandable descriptions
but also descriptions of how she felt, for
example, when she first encountered a right
whale in the water, or when she tried to
photograph dusky dolphins.
Animals of the sea have always fascinated me,
but Ms. Rossi took me on a land trip and
showed me many other curious animals, some
familiar, like the skunk, but others
completely unknown until this book, like
My favorite tidbit about the book is that
Jasmine Rossi is not a professional marine
biologist who spent years among her objects
of study; she was simply an observer with a
camera and notebook. Who says that great
discoveries are of the past of Magellan and
I may not ever get to visit Patagonia, but
when I'm sipping a hot drink on a cold winter
day, I can pull out the book, look at the
pictures, and take a trip to a land far away
As this area is now one of the major eco-tourist destinations in all of Latin America, this book was badly needed. Graham Harris's A GUIDE TO THE BIRDS AND MAMMALS OF COASTAL PATAGONIA is hard to find and is considerably more dry.
Although she skimps a bit on the bird life, Rossi wrote a wonderful chapter on the Magellanic Penguins which obviously owed a lot to close observation. Particularly affecting was the story of a penguin couple whom she names José and Maria who hatch two eggs. The chick born first grows more quickly and has better access to food, forcing his younger and smaller sibling to attempt to steal food from an adjoining couple, at which point the interloper is pecked to death by the offended mother.
Other particularly detailed chapters deal with the whales, sea lions, elephant seals, and orcas that make the peninsula their home. Also of interest is the last chapter, in which the author describes her experiences in the writing of this book.
This book provides not only a superb set of photographs of Patagonian wildlife, but vignettes on their behavior, breeding habits, enemies, and the toll, if any, that human tourism takes on the species.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely interested in the subject.