"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."
This is not a horror novel in the tradition of Jaws (also written by Benchley) - no blood, guts or corpses (except the fish). This is a lyrical and beautiful piece of writing. Educational without preaching. The novel is a rather plain story of Paloma, her love of the Sea, her desire to protect it and her relationship with her family - especially her brother who is more interested in the economic benefits to be gained from the sea regardless of how destructive they are to the local ecosystem. The giant manta ray bits were delightful! Benchley makes you feel like you are in the water with Paloma. The author also explores various conflicting themes such as gender roles, conservation, survival, human nature and the relationship between man and ocean life. A lovely book, suitable for younger and older readers.