SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 17, October 2016 - Page 35

From the first human settlements to the latest marine explorations, ‘The

Golden Shore – California’s Love Affair with the Sea’ tells the tale of the history, culture and changing nature of California’s coasts and ocean. David Helvarg takes the reader on both a geographic and literary journey along the state’s 1,100-mile Pacific coastline, from the Oregon border to the San Diego-Tijuana international border fence and out into its whale-, seal-, and shark-rich waters – diving and gliding through its seamounts, rock isles, and kelp forests. Part history, part travelogue, part love letter, ‘The Golden Shore’ captures the spirit of the California coast and its mythic place in American culture.

“A thrilling read.” – Dr. Sylvia Earle

“It blew my mind.” – Jean-Michel Cousteau

“Helvarg’s passion for the ocean is equaled only by his elegance in writing

about it.” – Susan Casey

“Helvarg just might make you feel optimistic about the future.” – San

Francisco Chronicle.

“Just before I cross over the Russian River into Jenner I pass a large field where a herd of cattle is following a rusty pickup with its tailgate down and a cowboy kicking apart bales of hay for them to feed on. On the other side of the bridge is a sand spit where a dozen harbor seals have hauled up. This is where the old frontier meets the blue frontier.

Beyond Jenner the two-lane highway climbs fast with a few long loops around deep creek beds. Twisting up the road I see red-tailed hawks and then when I can no longer afford to take my eyes off the road, the shadows of hawks gliding across the vertical sunlit cliff face to my right. Just beyond where the road crests I squeeze off the two-lane tarmac at a gravel pullover to take a picture. The mountainside drops away precipitously on a seventy-five to eighty degree incline full of loose scree and a few shrubs down to the blue-green ocean more than one thousand feet below. A couple on touring bikes has also pulled over, dug into their saddlebags, and are eating peanut butter and PowerBars. I tell them they’re close to the top.

Kelly and Emily Marcus are from Maryville, Tennessee, and six weeks into their bicycle trip from northern Washington to San Diego. They’re teachers and recently spent two years running a school in a native Alaskan village north of the Arctic Circle. He’s a red beard and she’s tan and brunet and both are healthy and athletic looking with bulging calf muscles.

“So what do you think of California so far?” I ask.

“Pretty,” he says.

“But very hilly,” she amends, taking another spoonful of peanut butter.”

You can find the new paperback edition of ‘The Golden Shore’ on Amazon

or at your local independent bookstore.

For more information and the book video go to:

The Golden Shore