Blog Tour: Ocean by Sabrina Weiss and Giulia De Amicis
About Ocean – Secrets Of The Deep.
Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the ocean?
With new technologies, scientists are learning more about the watery world every day. And what a world it is, with coral reefs and kelp forests and zones so deep that only four humans have ever explored them before.
Written by science communicator Sabrina Weiss and illustrated with graphics from Giulia De Amicis, this volume is packed with facts and information about the oceans.
As part of the blog tour to celebrate the book’s release, Sabrina Weiss has written a guest post about manatees, the stunning animals who inspired legends of mermaids.
A huge thanks to Sabrina for your time.
Swimming with the animals that inspired the mermaid myths
By Sabrina Weiss
I have always had a love for the marine world and learned to scuba dive at the age of 11. I have since travelled extensively across the world and dived in various places: from Mexico and Colombia, to Eastern Africa, the Red Sea, and Southeast Asia. But it was a recent trip to northern Florida that gave me a glimpse into the lives of one of the most elusive marine creatures.
During the winter months, large numbers of manatees gather in the Three Sisters Springs to relax and keep warm. The water in this lagoon is crystal clear so it was easy to float on the surface and watch them go about their daily lives. Some of the calves, which are born at an astonishing 30kg or so, are curious by nature and will often initiate playful interactions with snorkellers.
Manatee in Three Sisters Springs, Florida © Sabrina Weiss
Manatees are the only vegetarian marine mammals (along with their cousins, the dugongs). They love to graze on fields of seagrass and algae. And they need lots of it to grow to 400 kg in weight. Their short, paddle-shaped flippers and horizontal tail fluke help them to power through the water, at a comparably slow 5-8 km per hour, although they can go faster in short bursts.
Manatees are sometimes called sea cows, but their closest relatives on land are actually the elephant and hyrax (a small rodent-like mammal). What is even more extraordinary about these slow, bulky animals is their history. On his voyage to what is now the Dominican Republic, the explorer Christopher Columbus supposedly saw three mermaids from his ship. In his journal, Columbus described the mythical creatures as ‘not half as beautiful as they are painted’, and historians believe that he actually mistook manatees for mermaids.
Manatee mother and calf in Three Sisters Springs, Florida © Sabrina Weiss
That was reason enough for us to include this amazing animal in our OCEAN: Secrets of the Deep book. As well as beautiful illustrations of mermaids and manatees, we tell the tale of the fearsome Kraken: a ferocious, tentacled beast that was believed to pull ships down to the murky depths of the seabed and devour the sailors on board. Young adventurers will also enjoy our map that explores the possible locations of the legendary lost civilisation of Atlantis. Scientists are still scouring the ocean floor, from the Mediterranean to the North Sea and even the Caribbean but are yet to find evidence of this peaceful utopia.
OCEAN: Secrets of the Deep by Sabrina Weiss, illustrated by Giulia De Amicis (£14.99, What on Earth Books)
Follow Sabrina on twitter @sabrinamweiss and Giulia @giulia_de_amicis
Find out more at www.whatonearthbooks.com
Thanks to Laura Smythe PR and What On Earth Books for my gifted copy of OCEAN: Secrets of the Deep. Opinions my own.