Read The Fragile Edge: Diving and Other Adventures in the South Pacific by Julia Whitty Online


In The Fragile Edge, the documentary filmmaker and deep-sea diver Julia Whitty paints a mesmerizing, scientifically rich portrait of teeming coral reefs and sea life in the South Pacific. She takes us literally beneath the surface of the usual travel narrative, in an underwater equivalent of an African big-game safari. Hammerhead sharks rule a cascading chain of extraordinIn The Fragile Edge, the documentary filmmaker and deep-sea diver Julia Whitty paints a mesmerizing, scientifically rich portrait of teeming coral reefs and sea life in the South Pacific. She takes us literally beneath the surface of the usual travel narrative, in an underwater equivalent of an African big-game safari. Hammerhead sharks rule a cascading chain of extraordinary creatures, from eagle rays to reef sharks, as the sound of courting humpback whales reverberates through the deep. Inspiring for both armchair and expert divers, The Fragile Edge reveals how science can extend our understanding of unfathomable waters, opening our eyes to the threats facing coral reefs and explaining why these fragile oases are vital to human survival. In this passionate, spiritual narrative of her adventures in the big blue, Julia Whitty emerges as one of our finest writers on the mystery, beauty, and fragility of the undersea world....

Title : The Fragile Edge: Diving and Other Adventures in the South Pacific
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780618197163
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Fragile Edge: Diving and Other Adventures in the South Pacific Reviews

  • Mary
    2018-11-26 18:48

    Lyrical, if slow-moving, and filled with wondrous insights, Whitty's book introduced me to yet another unfamiliar part of the world. Her descriptions of how the atolls of the Southern Pacific were formed over the eons, and recently poisoned by nuclear testing and overcrowding, are eye-opening, yet it is the world beneath the Pacific that is her true subject. Diving on the coral reefs as part of a film crew, her descriptions likely rival any footage the crew shot, as in the scene in which, watching a camouflaged predator stalk its prey, she nearly fails to see a hidden, venomous stonefish eyeing her. "Everyone is prey to the disguises of the reef," she notes. And then there are all the insights she offers into the creatures of the sea, such as the multiple ways fish "hear" and how we who live predominantly by sight are altering the soundscape of the sea. The only thing that seems a bit off--Whitty's frequent references to Jain philosophy--is eventually explained by family history.

  • No
    2018-11-17 23:33

    Describing what life is like underwater is a really hard thing to do, to write about it is even harder. Julia Whitty's beautiful prose makes you feel like you are there for brief moments and it makes you want to put the book down and go throw on your scuba gear and go under and enjoy that alien world once again."The low frequency active sonar (LFA sonar) used by the military to detect submarines is the loudest sound ever put into the seas. Yet the U.S. Navy is planning to deploy LFA sonar across 80 percent of the world ocean. At an amplitude of two hundred forty decibels, it is loud enough to kill whales and dolphins and already causing mass strandings and deaths in areas where U.S. and/or NATO forces are conducting exercises." - Julia Whitty (Fragile Edge, Pg.50)*SOSUS (Sound Surveillance System)Sounds underwater*Nudibranchs (sea slugs)"Watching a sunset from its beginning until its true end in darkness is one of life's original invitations to meditation - no candle, no lotus position necessary. Because it marks the end of a day, the setting evokes subtle memories of the Big Thing we prefer to forget, and the remembering of this is what lies at the heart of meditation. Buddhist monasteries in China remember it daily in this chant: This day is already done.Our lives are that much less."- Julia Whitty (Fragile Edge, Pg.76)"The one hundred twenty-three books of the Upanishads, the classical Hindu texts on meditation and philosophy, have come down to us in Sanskrit - the oldest of the Indo-European languages, and the mother tongue for virtually all European languages. Yet the Upanishads date much earlier, to an indeterminate span of time when they were transmitted orally in what translator Alistair Shearer calls the "sacred language par excellence, the Vedic." According to Shearer, this ancient language was believed to be'not merely a conventional system of representation based on linear logic but the language of nature herself, composed of the primordial sounds that promote order in the evolving universe. These sounds, like music, communicate preverbally and have a universal meaning that transcends all cultural boundaries.'Among these primordial sounds is that most ancient of mantras, Om, whose vibration is said to continuously generate the universe. According to the Mandukya Upanishad, Om consists of three constituent parts, A-U-M. The A corresponds to the outer world and our waking state; the U to the inner world and our state of dreaming; and the M to the state of dreamless sleep - what the Mandukya Upanishad calls the ocean of silence and bliss." - Julia Whitty (Fragile Edge, Pg.234-235)

  • Valerie
    2018-12-12 00:30

    I read Fragile Edge in February in anticipation of meeting Julia Whitty at the Women on Writing Conference in March - she was the key note speaker. I had been a fan since reading A Tortoise for the Queen of Tonga when it first came out. Tortoise was an accidental find as my husband purchased it for me solely on the recommendation of the book store staff and because it had the word Tonga in the title. I was hanging out with some Tongan friends and he thought the book might interest me. Well, it did. But not because of my friends who aren't big readers themselves. Julia Whitty's prose is so well informed and so immaculately accurate that I hestitate to speak because I fear making a misstatement in comparison with her words. While reading the book I was inspired to learn more about sea life and have found a whole new world and way of thinking of living things. Her accuracy extends to human culture and relationships as well. She explores how the changes in world climate are affecting the south sea islanders economically and culturally. The almost certain diaspora of certain island groups grieves me and makes me question my own status on dry land in California. I loved the way she integrated her yoga studies into the work as well. I kept thinking about communion. The community of animals and the community of the people. But also about how she strives for communion with the sealife when diving. The story about how the queen moray eel chooses to follow her around the lagoon one day terrified and excited me. At the same time I felt the powerful sense of communion that Julia Whitty must have felt at being recognized as an individual by this entirely different species. I could go on like this all afternoon. After being so involved in this book I was dismayed at the news that a volcano had erupted in Tonga on March 19. Fortunately no humans were hurt but birds fell dead from the sky and the undersea life couldn't possibly have been spared.As she says in the book though the reefs will come back and do not need people to do so but the same may not be said for the people of the reefs.

  • Jessica Robinson
    2018-11-23 20:46

    Fragile Edge is a beautifully written book with a strong, engaging female narrator and a gentle hint of Eastern philosophy that provides a fascinating subtext to the many vivid underwater scenes. So I didn't like the book very much. I maybe shouldn't have read the book knowing how much I hate underwater creatures but I thought that perhaps if I didn't have to see them I could tolerate it. Well, fuck, I still hate sharks and dolphins and anything that lives in the ocean and could possibly touch its awful little fishy parts against me if I were to go swimming near it. I'm the wrong person to read this book but I will say that if you don't have the irrational hatred of the sea that I do you will almost certainly enjoy Julia Whitty's account of diving in the South Pacific. She's incredibly likable and her genuine love of the ocean and the people she encounters along her journey almost makes me like the novel more. But those fucking awful fish. Jesus.

  • Travis
    2018-11-23 23:26

    Had high expectations due to the South Pacific subject matter (my fav part of the world) along with the reviews and awards the book has received. The book is divided into three sections and I would have given section 1 five stars and the remaining sections both two stars. That's a rough average of three. It got a little too environmentally preachy and her prose was so dramatic, long and unnecessarily extravagant. She needs to read a Hemingway book and then do a rewrite because her stories of the South Pacific do need to be told. You would not believe the things this women has seen in the ocean, truly incredible.

  • Daniel Simmons
    2018-12-05 18:28

    A series of ruminations, half-scientific and half-poetic, about the beauty and vulnerability of the world's oceans, with particular focus on the atolls of the South Pacific. I could have done with fewer references to Rumi and the Mahabharata and Japanese tanka poems, all of which tended to distract from -- rather than reinforce -- her larger narrative. But Whitty's love for the sea is infectious and she won me over. The perfect read to accompany a weekend of scuba diving.

  • Kat
    2018-11-22 01:25

    Full disclosure: Julia is a friend. But regardless, this is an unbelievably great book! Reading it is a vacation for your mind and spirit. Julia travels to (I think) 4 different fragile reefs and shares her personal experiences and observations while mixing in cool science facts. I always read fast (and quicken the pace as I close in on the finish line); but when reading this book, I purposefully slowed down and savored every page, every paragraph, every word.

  • Stephanie Mayo
    2018-12-05 23:42

    An interesting read about a woman's passion for the ocean, it's life and the South Pacific. A strong message throughout is concerning the conservation of coral reefs as well as the horrible things going on that are destroying them."Scientists estimate that a greater density of species exists on coral reefs than in rainforests, and that a greater biodiversity exists within the higher texa on reefs than in any of the earth's other megadiversity ecosystems." quote from Fragile Edge

  • Laura
    2018-11-17 17:42

    I read this in preparation to go diving in the South Pacific. It definitely got me in the mood. There were several quite compelling chapters - I particularly liked the description of the dynamics between cleaner fish and their clientele. That said, I got half way through and got distracted by other books and found I wasn't that drawn to go back and finish it. Maybe another time.

  • Jeri
    2018-12-02 23:50

    having been to Rangiroa and Moorea, I was especially interested in this book. I loved the author's description of underwater life. She brings it to life! Great description of fish behavior, but in an easy-to-read way.This book talks alot about rising water level and potential extinction of current atolls because of this.

  • Stacey
    2018-12-03 00:30

    Loved this book. A strange mix of Jacques Cousteau and Eat, Pray, Love. Did not know that dolphin pods sleep and swim in unison. Very strange.

  • Matt
    2018-11-23 17:36

    This book strikes a nice balance between scientific information and narrative. I like the writing style of the author, but mostly it just makes you want to take a vacation to scuba dive.

  • Karen
    2018-12-08 19:42

    This is one of my favorite books of all time. Julia Whitty's love of our planet and oceans shines through in her writing. I will keep this one forever to enjoy again and again.

  • paula
    2018-11-16 20:36

    A master diver shares her love and extensive knowledge of ocean life. Her attention to detail and nimble command of the written word provide a real treat.

  • Mckenyon2
    2018-11-13 19:34

    This book is informative, philosophical, and poetic. She is an incredible writer and this is a beautiful book about the status of the south Pacific islands.