The Devil’s Teeth
Nature guards the Farallon Islands, just off the coast of San Francisco, with rough waters, punishing weather, and shrouds of fog and mystery. Susan Casey’s book gets past the guard to explore the soul of the place, through its inhabitants— voluminous bird populations, fleeting human populations and, of course, the great white sharks that show up in droves for approximately three months a year. Casey accompanied the Farallon White Shark Project biologists as they investigated the enormous creatures’ feeding habits and other unknown behaviors. Fascinating stuff by itself, but what makes the book a page turner is the longer story of the Farallones themselves, dubbed the Devil’s Teeth by mariners of the 1850s. Here, despite secret toxic dumping, shark tourism and other episodes of human folly (including the author’s own risky research), nature’s brutal beauty still rules.