THIS BOOK COULD NOT HAVE BEEN WRITTEN without the help of a great many people--family and friends, scientists and strangers, editors and agent. It's tempting to thank them all by name, from childhood friends and far-flung relatives to college professors, professional colleagues and a thousand-and-one interviewees scattered around the world, all those who shaped my mind, values, interests, and ideas. There isn't the space--in book or memory--to name them all, but I'm grateful all the same.
Like so many people, I owe my parents the most. My father shared with me his love of sea and sails starting well before I can remember. My mother shared her unusual awareness of nature, people, and art, informing and inspiring much that I've done in life, this book included.
I'll always be grateful to my agent, Jill Grinberg, and to William Frucht, my editor at Basic Books, for believing in a first-time writer with an ambitious proposal. Their enthusiasm and support for this project will never be forgotten. Thank you both.
Several people gave generously of their time and knowledge, helping shape the content and efficacy of my manuscript or travel. Tundi Agardy, now at Conservation International, did both, alerting me to valuable places, people, and written improvements. In Washington I owe a great debt to Sam Loewenberg, Wendy Bellion, George Irvine, and Julie Lehrman, dear friends and incisive readers whose suggestions greatly improved the text. Shep Smith, a trusted friend since childhood with whom I have shared many maritime adventures, taught me much about diving; his presence in Belize made my undersea ventures safe, easy, and productive.