Journey of the Pink Dolphins
An Amazon Quest
By the acclaimed author of The Soul of an Octopus and the bestselling memoir The Good Good Pig.
When Sy Montgomery ventured into the Amazon to unlock the mysteries of the littleknown pink dolphins, she found ancient whales that plied the Amazon River at dawn and dusk, swam through treetops in flooded forests, and performed underwater ballets with their flexible bodies. But she soon found out that to know the botos, as the dolphins are locally called, you must also know the people who live among them.
And so in Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Montgomery—part naturalist, part poet, part Indiana Jones—winds her way through watery tributaries and riverside villages, searching for botos and hearing the tales of locals who believe these ethereal dolphins are shape-shifters—creatures that emerge from the water as splendidly dressed men or women only to enchant their human onlookers, capture their souls, and then carry them away to the Encante, an underwater world. Montgomery takes readers on four separate journeys, exploring the river-dwelling dolphins’ natural history, chronicling their conservation pressures, unraveling their prehistoric roots, and visiting with shamans who delve into the Encante.
Reviews and Praise
In a deeply felt, magical voyage to the tropics, Boston Globe nature columnist Montgomery (Spell of the Tiger) pursues the pink dolphin, a rare freshwater species, in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon. This elusive creature, with bulbous gray forehead, tiny eyes, chameleonlike color changes and pink back or fins, has inspired much local lore. Brazilian natives believe "boto" is a shape-shifter that makes love to humans, embodies spirits and carries people to the Encante, an enchanted underwater city. Combining a journalist's cool objectivity with a dolphin lover's almost mystical ecological consciousness, Montgomery luxuriates in the myths and legends as she swims with pink dolphins or tracks down radio-tagged boto in twisty, dangerous waterways, but she also ably reports the scientific facts. Boto mothers and offspring maintain a close bond, and though hard to spot in the wild, pink dolphins can be boldly playful and interactive with people. The Amazon, notes Montgomery, is polluted with cans, bottles, plastic bags and toxic wastes, yet the region is still an incredible incubator of biodiversity, and she describes her encounters with a veritable Noah's ark of exotic animals. She also mingles with field biologists, expatriates, conservationists, community leaders and a shaman (with whom she ceremonially imbibes ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic potion). Montgomery writes passionately about the destruction of rain forests, the ongoing extinction of Brazil's tribes and her visit to MamirauraABrazil's largest conservation experimentAwhere local residents act as guardians over a vast realm of manatees, dolphins, fish, turtles and timber. Her rhapsodic book winsomely blends travel, reportage, adventure and natural history. Illus. not seen by PW. (Mar.) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"One of the most brilliant books of our time."--Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Tribe of Tiger