Peter Benchley’s fascination with the sea and its magnificent inhabitants inspired such classic novels as Jaws and The Deep, making him the preeminent author of ocean adventure and suspense. The Girl of the Sea of Cortez was his most heartfelt, cherished story of the relationship between man and the sea, both those that live in it and those who love it.
On an island in the Gulf of California, an intrepid young woman named Paloma carries a special legacy from her father—a deep understanding of the sea and a sixth sense about the need to protect it.
Every day, Paloma paddles her tiny boat into the ocean and anchors over a seamount—a submerged volcanic peak sixty feet underwater that is clustered with spectacular sea animals and a wondrous web of marine life.
It is there that an astonishing event takes place, when on one of her dives Paloma is shadowed by a manta ray—an animal so large it blocks the sun. She develops an extraordinary relationship with this luminous, gentle creature, but instinctively knows its existence is a secret she must fiercely protect.
Benchley’s novel paints a poignant picture of humanity’s precarious relationship with the ocean, which unfolds alongside a heartrending story of familial bonds, often revealing that the ignorance of man is far more dangerous than the sea. Full of beauty, danger, and adventure, The Girl of the Sea of Cortez is triumphant—a novel to fall in love with.
Praise for The Girl of the Sea of Cortez
“It’s hard not to compare Benchley’s tale . . . with Hemingway’s classic The Old Man and the Sea.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Charming.”—The New York Times Book Review
“For a hot summer’s day, The Girl of the Sea of Cortez is the next best thing to looking through a clear face mask into blue water swimming with fish.”—United Press International
Taking me back …
I first read this as a high schooler, spending my summers diving the coves of San Diego. It enthralled me to know that my personal experiences with the ocean where universal. I just finished rereading it now in my 50s. I long to be that child again, one with the sea and her all wonders.
I was raised in La Paz, loving and enjoying the most beautiful sunsets and peaceful evenings by the sea, nevertheless, a bit afraid of the depth and sea creatures. As I got older, I married an avid diver, swimmer and sea lover, He taught me to really enjoy sea life. When I read this book, I was transported in time to my home town, my brothers are fishermen and they always talked about the sea mount. We went diving in the Maldives and I was so lucky to have had a close encounter with Mantas and I could not resist to pick up the book again. Peter Benchley was right with his description of the feeling that you get by being so close to these magestic creatures. I love this book, everyone should read it.