Gentle Jurassic Giant

Largest fish in the ocean

Wonderful piece in the June Smithsonian about whale sharks. If, like me, you are an ocean fanatic (often more than just the armchair variety) and in the throes of revising your middle-grade novel that has everything to do with the ocean and many of her bizarre inhabitants, run to the newstand–or smithsonian.com. Although I feature a whale shark in my novel and have studied pez dama, Ca Ong, Rhincodon typus, I did not know that their gorgeous markings are unique to each individual fish. How did I miss this? Apparently scientists use a computer program “first developed to study star constellations” to identify a fish from its neighbor/cousin/best friend. I did know that whale sharks will descend a mile deep in the ocean and hang out in the dark and that no one knows why. I think they’re sleeping, escaping their increasing fan base, the paparazzi of divers and tourists eager to swim near the Jurassic “gentle giants”. I suppose a swimming paparazzi is better than those igniting flashes behind glass, viewing whale sharks in aquariums–a sight that brings me to tears, no matter the size of that incredible tank at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. I won’t provide the link, I won’t! I will quickly move on to mentioning the Shark Lady,  Eugenie Clark, an icon of mine. I would like to bottle the shark repellent she discovered and smear it all over myself when I flail-snorkel in tropical waters. Dr. Clark is the inspiration for a character in my middle-grade novel’s sequel, which involves sharks, whale sharks and a roving band of super angry eleven-year-old environmentalists slash amateur marine scientists who–hang on. Holy carp eggs! It’s bathtime for the boy. Where does the weekend go… 

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About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, activist, fortunate.
This entry was posted in middle grade, ocean related, Writing, Writing Progress and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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