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Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  536 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
The story of an ancient sea turtle and what its survival says about our future, from the award-winning writer and naturalist

Though nature is indifferent to the struggles of her creatures, the human effect on them is often premeditated. The distressing decline of sea turtles in Pacific waters and their surprising recovery in the Atlantic illuminate what can go both wrong an
ebook, 400 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published May 30th 2006)
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Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
Turtles are beautiful. Turtles are awesome. Turtles are better than you.

 photo ocean coral_zpslltvsmhn.jpg

They've been around for millions of years. Now that's what I call an achievement.

You CAN make a difference. Stop throwing plastic into the sea.

 photo sea-turtle2B8lo82Bgif2Bbigblue_zps1gjl6vge.gif
Deborah Ideiosepius
After going to see the Loggerheads lay and hatch at Bargara last year I wanted to read more about turtles and I was not disappointed by this elegantly written, beautifully researched book. It was informative, inspiring and drew on the knowledge and experience of lots of dedicated turtle workers around the world. It was also the fascinating rollercoaster of emotions that I knew it would be for me.

Within the covers, the accomplished author and dedicated marine conservationist tells the story of th
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, inspiring and frustrating are but a few words I could use to describe this book. It took me a chapter or two to get used to Safina's punctuation happy writing style but once accustomed I was hooked (no pun intended). As much as this book helped me form a better picture of leatherback populations I perhaps spent equal measure in wonder and outrage when reading it. I was in awe of the animals themselves, their habitats, the journey and the volunteers and scientists working tirelessly ...more
Esmerelda Weatherwax
I absolutely adored this book, I already had an interest in turtles, specifically sea turtles.

I thought I knew a fair deal about them before, but even as someone who's done a lot of research and reading on this topic a good deal of this book was new info.

In classic Safina form this book was gorgeously written and read more like a novel than a non fiction book. I absolutely adored every single page.

I feel like all I do with reviews of books from Carl Safina is gush, but I really can't find muc
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was an awesome overview of the complex, amazing and interesting lives of sea turtles and the many dangers they are facing due to humans. Although it was depressing to read about the countless different ways that we are pushing sea turtles to extinction, it was inspiring to read about the individual people who are dedicating their lives to saving them. It really shows that a few people can make a difference. But it is an ongoing fight, and if you are interested in the subject, this book ...more
Sep 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of natural history. I enjoy it a great deal, and I find it gives me perspective on my own place in the world. I rarely close a natural history book in tears. This one had me weeping numerous times both in despair and in hope. There were times, reading Safina's lucid prose, when I thought perhaps the only thing we could do to save the turtles was to spread some targeted virulent human plague amongst ourselves. There were other times that the stories he told of conservationists made m ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jul 27, 2017 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: turtle-lovers, environmentalists, people interested in the ocean, eco-tourists
Love at first page, and I would give this a four and a half. It was very literary for a non-fiction book, with many memorable and poignant passages. Every time I opened it I felt like I was escaping to another world.

There is no doubt that sea turtles (particularly the dinosaur-like leatherback turtles, which are the only living members of their genus, family, and suborder) qualify as “charismatic megafauna.” They feature in South Pacific legends and fables, were considered sacred to Aphrodite in
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the one hand I'm thrilled about sea turtles. They swim across entire oceans and back again to get between their feeding and nesting areas. Leatherbacks dive deeper than any other vertebrae. And adult leatherbacks can weigh around 800 lbs. I'm struggling to envision a critter that size. I kind of want to fly down to one of these nesting beaches to see sea turtles for myself.

On the other hand, I'm depressed about the turtles' future. It almost seems them avoiding extinction is at human discreti
Yup, sea turtles are one of my favorite animals ever. This book is filled with wonderful, informative sketches of an amazing animal that make you realize just how much poorer our world will be without them in it. The author has a lyrical style that informs without being dry and pedantic. The book is also filled with a wonderfully realized cast of characters that help the author on his quest.

Picked this up for the Guatemala trip. Have I mentioned that sea turtles are one of my fav
Jul 29, 2008 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves Science Fridays
If you don't think this book is AWESOME then we probably can't be friends anymore.

I didn't finish reading this book because 1) it needed to be returned to the library, 2) I had learned a lot about turtles, and 3) I got distracted by another book.

Good read as far as I got...
Dec 13, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Meen by: Abigail on True North
Damnit, I'm gonna have to broaden my bookshelves again. I need an nature/environment one.

But yay, turtles! I will stop my car and get out to save a turtle trying to cross a road. I love them.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Work
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book describes the magnificent sea turtles in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans--the sea turtles whose ancestors shared the earth with the now extinct dinosaurs. I was unaware of these ancient animals who travel vast distances. One group of leatherback turtles even lay their eggs in the South Pacific and then travel across the Pacific Ocean to the west coasts of North America, guided by the earth’s gravitational pull and the light from the stars. The same feats are accomplished by the leather ...more
Leah Markum
Carl Safina did a good job on focusing on a travelogue narrative pumped with scientific details on not just the subjects of the book, the leatherbacks, but other sea turtles and organisms related to their livelihood. He traveled to various sites along the Atlantic and Pacific where leatherbacks are known to aggregate for feeding and nesting. He consulted scientists, conservationists, and fisherman and let them speak for themselves. The only sensationalizing here were interjections of poetic scen ...more
Apr 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in turtles, oceans, and nature.
Shelves: 2008, nonfiction, ocean, nature
This book was upsetting and uplifting, but maybe heavier on the upsetting. It brought me to tears several times when Safina detailed the treatment of turtles in nations around the world - but especially in the far East. The author paints a bleak picture for the prospects of sea turtles in much of the Pacific (as well as for many other kinds of turtles in Asia). The turtle hunting there for food and religious sacrifices unsustainable, and many species are already endangered. And then there's fish ...more
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carl Safina writes fluidly - if somewhat floridly - about the extraordinary lives of sea turtles. He takes the reader on a journey throughout the world to all the places turtles nest. From nesting beaches in Trinidad and Costa Rica to New Guinea and up to Cape Breton, he paints a picture so vivid that you often don't notice the steady stream of facts he's peppering you with.

For example: Turtles always return to the beach they were born on to lay their eggs. The bulk of their diet consists of jel
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This turned out to be the perfect book to read on a trip to the Caribbean, the region Safina identifies as the greatest success story among recent efforts to revitalize declining sea turtle populations around the world. The opening chapter in which he recounts watching a turtle nesting and laying eggs on a beach in Trinidad is enchanting. In general, his strategy of presenting facts about turtles--their extraordinary migratory habits, their monumental size and physical abilities, the many threat ...more
I get pretty excited about learning new things and even more so when it is written beautifully like this book and takes you around the world and makes you feel and know you are alive on a wondrous planet. You go from beaches in Florida wall to wall with high rise condos to a dangerous lawless Mexican beach; from the romantic mystery and fog of Monterey Bay to the practical and hardworking fishermen of south Carolina who protest any regulations to protect anything other than themselves (which I g ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I will probably read this again. The author does a great job of making something that could be scientifically heavy and hard to get through and making it light and actually fun to read.

The journey is mostly about the Leatherback Seaturtle but delves into the natural history of the other seaturtles as well. The author travels the world trying to understand the life history of the most ancient reptile on the planet. He follows the journey of the great mothers as they heave their
Beau Yeiser
I liked this book a lot. I learned quite a bit about the extent of movements these turtles make, which includes cross-ocean travels. You'll have a much better grasp of sea turtle distribution when you finish this book.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carl Safina's book is packed with information about sea turtles -- particularly the Leatherback Sea Turtle - and it's told in beautiful prose, mixing natural history and narrative. If you wish to learn more about this incredible animal -- over 65 million years old -- then this is definitely the book to read. Safina travels around the globe seeking to understand how the global migrations of these creatures are linked to their survival -- and human endeavour. What he (and the reader) discover is j ...more
Henrique Capeleiro Maia
The Voyage of the Turtle is more than just a book about turtles. This book is also a voyage throughout the many seas the leatherback sea turtles inhabit. by journeying with the turtles, we get to know the people that try to protect them, their nesting sites, the many problems surrounding their conservation, how fisheries hurt the turtles and the seas with their practices. But, most of all, the Voyage is about getting to know one of nature’s oldest and mysterious creatures, creating an empathy bo ...more
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before reading this book I never gave much thought to a sea turtle. I kind of thought, "ah sea turtles", another thing swimming around the worlds oceans. This book puts the turtles in their own world, and you get to ride along with the turtles. I was amazed to find out that sea turtles are warm blooded and probably the last surviving true dinosaur. Many great stories surrounding the sea turtles and many great ones for the turtles themselves. I think half way through the book I was already search ...more
Stephen Flanagan
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really well written, emotive, and convincing book. Like most large wild species, sea turtles are facing dwindling numbers due mainly to human activities such as line fishing and poaching.

Although all sea turtle species are mentioned, Carl Safina mainly writes about Leathetback turtles, and visits most of the major nesting grounds around the world, to catalog the driving factors behind their declining numbers. Although in many parts of the world Safina concludes that thing's don't look
Christopher Griffen
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Carl Safina travels the world mostly in search of the elusive leatherback turtle. If you weren't a conservationist before you read this book you will be afterward. The stories of human carelessness toward our environment and the species that share it with us are both fascinating and poignant.

Safina is mostly cautious not to strike an accusatory tone but there are moments in which he eloquently calls human brutality and neglect on the carpet.

I really enjoyed Safina's accounts of his voyages, par
May 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natural-world
I'm not very patient with puzzles. However, each chapter in Safina's book, interesting as a stand-alone, builds upon the next to create an "earth from space" view of the whole sea turtle story and I came to appreciate the pace and the way the pieces fit together. I really liked his descriptions of extraordinary nesting beaches and how local cultures affect the future of sea turtles. The writing goes a little flowery at times, but not so much to make me put the book down. Safina makes a strong ca ...more
Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: green-ish
Sea turtles are far different than pond turtles--and infinitely cooler. They are gigantic and seriously endangered and they live mostly in the water, making them truly incredible. Safina highlights their plight, their incredible lives and staying power (they've been around since the dinosaurs) although once in awhile he gets very poetic about how much we as humans have done wrong.

Fortunately, there's enough focus on what we're doing right to save the turtles, and enough information about how coo
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carl Safina is a spirited and engaging ecologist who is enamored by language and aquatic life in equal measure. His examination of the habitat and history of sea turtles is also a personal travelogue, including diversions into the worlds of swordfishing, egg poaching, real estate development, longline regulations, and conservation advocacy. Sanfina seeks to draw a compelling portrait of the status of sea turtle populations as they currently exist in relation to the continuing threats to their su ...more
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What this book made me realize is that if I'm going to be an environmentalist, I've gotta care about the global population, world hunger, poverty... all that stuff. It always seemed like only human greed was killing the environment, but seeing the perspective of illegal and legal fishermen and those who eat turtle eggs made me see that there's a lot more too it than that.

And of course, I learned some interesting things about turtles as well. I was definitely not familiar with leatherback turtles
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Science and Natur...: October 2015: Voyage of the Turtle by Carl Safina 26 20 Oct 25, 2015 01:25PM  
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Carl Safina’s work has been recognized with MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his writing has won Orion, Lannan, and National Academies literary awards and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. He has a PhD in ecology from Rutgers University. Safina is the inaugural holder of the endowed chair for nature and humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs th ...more
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“People have been on earth in our present form for only about 100,000 years, and in so many ways we’re still ironing out our kinks. These turtles we’ve been traveling with, they outrank us in longevity, having earned three more zeros than we. They’ve got one hundred million years of success on their resume, and they’ve learned something about how to survive in the world. And this, I think, is part of it: they have settled upon peaceful career paths, with a stable rhythm. If humans could survive another one hundred million years, I expect we would no longer find ourselves riding bulls. It’s not so much that I think animals have rights; it’s more that I believe humans have hearts and minds- though I’ve yet to see consistent, convincing proof of either. Turtles may seem to lack sense, but they don’t do senseless things. They’re not terribly energetic, yet they do not waste energy… turtles cannot consider what might happen yet nothing turtles do threatens anyone’s future. Turtles don’t think about the next generation, but they risk and provide all they can to ensure that there will be one. Meanwhile, we profess to love our own offspring above all else, yet above all else it is they from whom we daily steal. We cannot learn to be more like turtles, but from turtles we could learn to be more human. That is the wisdom carried within one hundred million years of survival. What turtles could learn from us, I can’t quite imagine.” 9 likes
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