Wonders of the Sea: North Central California's Living Marine Riches by Marc Shargel is an elegant coffee-table book that takes its readers on a visual voyage beneath California's coastal ocean. Wonders of the Sea takes you beneath the surface on a voyage of discovery from Point Arena in Mendocino County, to Pescadero in San Mateo County, and out to the Farallon Islands beyond the Golden Gate. Primarily, it is a photographic essay on north central California's marine life. Augmenting the book's imagery are tales of the author's underwater adventures in capturing the photographs found in the book. You'll also find notes on the ecology of ten of California's coastal "jewels," underwater equivalents of Yosemite or Big Basin.
Created by award-winning marine life photographer Marc Shargel, the book is a window onto the diverse marine life of California's north central coast. The images allow you to embark upon a voyage of imagination, beyond the crash of waves on rocky shores and long arcing beaches, into the world of life beneath the sea. There you'll find a rainbow of color and a diversity of forms on a par with the most wondrous biospheres on Earth. It is a world of life so different from what we find on land that it seems like another world. Yet it is a part of California.
Each of the ten areas described in the book has been eligible to become a marine protected area through California's Marine Life Protection Act. This state law is a visionary plan to set aside areas in the sea for enjoyment rather than exploitation, just as we did with state and national parks over a century ago. One the book's goals is to increase public awareness of just what lies beyond our shores and the incomplete, ongoing efforts to assure its conservation.
The value of Wonders of the Sea: North Central California's Living Marine Riches transcends the beautiful images and compelling tales found on its pages. There are extensive reference notes, which can be explored online, providing a wealth of information and education about conservation biology, natural history, and human history.