The true story of long-distance swimmer Lynne Cox's ocean encounter with an 18-foot baby whale and her efforts to reunite "Grayson" with his mother - part mystery, part magical tale.
Grayson is Lynne Cox's first book since
Swimming to Antarctica ("Riveting"Sports
Illustrated; "Pitch-perfect"Outside). In
it she tells the story of a miraculous ocean
encounter that happened to her when she was
seventeen and in training for a big swim (she had
already swum the English Channel, twice, and the
It was the dark of early morning; Lynne was in 55-degree water as smooth as black ice, two hundred yards offshore, outside the wave break. She was swimming her last half-mile back to the pier before heading home for breakfast when she became aware that something was swimming with her. The ocean was charged with energy as if a squall was moving in; thousands of baby anchovy darted through the water like lit sparklers, trying to evade something larger. Whatever it was, it felt large enough to be a white shark coursing beneath her body.
It wasn't a shark. It became clear that it was a baby gray whalefollowing alongside Lynne for a mile or so. Lynne had been swimming for more than an hour; she needed to get out of the water to rest, but she realized that if she did, the young calf would follow her onto shore and die from collapsed lungs.
The baby whaleeighteen feet long!was migrating on a three-month trek to its feeding grounds in the Bering Sea, an eight-thousand-mile journey. It would have to be carried on its mother's back for much of that distance, and was dependent on its mother's milk for foodbaby whales drink up to fifty gallons of milk a day. If Lynne didn't find the mother whale, the baby would suffer from dehydration and starve to death.
Something so enormousthe mother whale was fifty feet longsuddenly seemed very small in the vast Pacific Ocean. How could Lynne possibly find her?
This is the storypart mystery, part magical taleof what happened . . .
There's something frightening, and magical, about being
on the ocean, moving between the heavens and the earth,
knowing that you can encounter anything on your journey.
The stars had set. The sea and sky were inky black, so black I could not see my hands pulling water in front of my face, so black there was no separation between the sea and the sky. They melted together.
It was early March and I was seventeen years old, swimming two hundred yards offshore, outside the line of breaking waves off Seal Beach, California. The water was chilly, fifty-five degrees and as smooth as black ice. And I was swimming on pace, moving at about sixty strokes per minute, etching a small silvery groove across the wide black ocean.
Usually my morning workouts started at 6 a.m., but on this day, I wanted to finish early, get home, complete my ...
I opened this little book (160 small pages) with a certain degree of trepidation because animal stories, whether they be tales of favored pets or encounters in the wild, are a mixed bag. My worries didn't last long - Grayson is a pure delight that reads like a fable but is actually true. At the center of the story is Lynne Cox, now a renowned long-distance swimmer, but then just a 17-years-old out for a practice swim early one morning in the waters off Seal Beach in Southern California.
The whale tale forms the center of the story but, for me, it was the bit players that stole the show - the rays wallowing in the warm water under the pier, the sun fish snoozling close to the legs of the oil rig and the green sea turtles "carrying their homes along with them like aquatic RVs". (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (759 words).
Adult Gray Whales weigh 30-40
tons and measure about 45 feet (14
meters); they have dark skin with gray
patches and white mottling, the calves
are born dark gray to black (sometimes
with distinctive white markings). They
are baleen whales (with a series of
130-180 fringed overlapping plates
hanging from each side of the upper jaw
in lieu of teeth), as such they feed by
drawing sediment and water into their
mouths, expelling the water and sediment
through the baleen plates, leaving the
trapped food ready to be swallowed.
Courtship and mating behavior are ...
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