“Once upon a time, before the sharks were finned, we met at sunset …”
Author Ila France Porcher is known for her wildlife art, her shark activism, and for her new discoveries that illustrate the little-known intelligence and kinder nature of sharks.
For years, the misconception has flourished that sharks are mindless, vicious creatures that we all should fear and avoid. My Sunset Rendezvous debunks these myths.
From 1995 until 2009, the author established never before achieved intimacy with the reef sharks that inhabited the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia. Her thrilling true story takes place underwater and her characters are the sharks, each carefully identified by its unique appearance and markings.Learning about these fascinating creatures of the deep has become a memoir of a different kind in My Sunset Rendezvous. It is also a record in words and drawings that will hopefully save these reef sharks from extinction.
Over years of intensive study, the author made some intriguing discoveries and had many strange and startling experiences. When the Internet became available, she began to connect with other scientists across the world, comparing her observations, while accumulating evidence about sharks that transcends common beliefs. She and a scientific colleague, Arthur A. Myrberg Jr., found the first evidence that sharks can think and the degree to which they are social creatures. Professor Myrberg died before their paper on cognitive thinking in sharks could be published, so she honours him by including his last scientific article in her book.
Contacted by the BBC for her work as a cognitive ethologist, she contributed her findings on shark cognition and social intelligence to the widely seen documentary “Sharks: Size Matters” for the Discovery Channel’s famous Shark Week.
In My Sunset Rendezvous, the author takes you with her into increasing intimacy with each of the lagoon sharks, where new discoveries are laid out for the finding, all in the alien beauty of a coral lagoon. She hopes that animal lovers who had not considered sharks before, will now realize the true nature of this animal that is worth studying and saving.
New Zealand filmmaker Alan Baddock said of her book: “Your clarity of intent is stunning and beautiful. As a wordsmith, I recognise and acknowledge rare mastery. As a traveller who has picked up and cast aside the best of world literature in a thousand hostelries on half a dozen continents and countless islands, I recognise a book I would share with people I considered friends … Three chapters into a subject I am not especially interested in, I am waiting with a low, gnawing hunger for more. That alone tells me I have found something special.”