Atlantic seabirds , Volume 4 - Issue 1 p. 39- 40
There is a new book, with an old title: Whales & Dolphins, how many books carry that name? But this, this is different. Here we have an incredible musthave for anyone sailing the North Atlantic every once in a while and for anyone with an interest in cetaceans. It is handy and small, it is informative and authoritative, it is glossy and colourful, it is a breakthrough using modem digital artwork, it is an extraordinary collection of photographs at the same time and, oh wonder, it’s cheap too! Just buy this little identification guide, you will never regret it and you support this young organisation manning Bay of Biscay ferries with skilled observers, collecting highly valuable data. Don’t hesitate, ignore the rest of this review for my sake, but make sure you place the order. With nearly a metre of cetacean field guides on my bookshelf, I was never able to pick my choice when I went to sea again, being arrogant enough to know better than what was depicted or what was described. Photo collections were always incomplete, or better examples should have been chosen. Images showed the entire beast rather than what was actually visible ‘in the field’. As a tourist guide, you had to hold your hand over 90% of the image to try and explain what was to be seen and how it looked in real life. Graeme Cresswell and Dylan Walker must have had the same experience, but better still, they did solve the problem by producing the ultimate little guide for their working area! With pages of photo’s facing text pages, they did not accept the problem of having to pick one picture out of a selection to show what they wished to show. Instead, they manipulated the available images to such an extend that you now have for example “a pod” of blue whales at the surface, with all individuals in a different and highly informative pose: blowing, showing blowhole, showing the back, from the side and from an angle, and lobtailing. No suitable shot of Pygmy Sperm Whale available? Just make one! A shot of some calm sea, a little artwork implanted and there we are: perfectly comparable with a genuine shot of the Dwarf Sperm Whale in the same pose on the same page! I have only one wish, Graeme and Dylan: do give us the entire North Atlantic in a guide, including the (sub-)tropical whales and dolphins and with the Narwhal and Beluga. I can not wait to buy that one!!
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