The Undersea World of Wyland

By Michelle Danner

The Undersea World of Wyland, forward by Sylvia A. Earle, Time Life Books. (800) WYLAND-0,

There is no need to say anything but “Wyland,” and divers around the world can identify what this pictorial book is all about. Pages of the artist’s beautiful and unique work fill The Undersea World of Wyland from front to back. Wyland combines his whale paintings, dolphins, manatees and other sea life with collaboration pieces, and finally, his famous Whaling Walls.

One of the best things about this book, as with most artists’ books, is its diversity. Allowing the reader to enjoy all aspects of Wyland’s tremendous talent, the book is a tribute to Wyland’s work and appreciation for sealife. As stated by the artist: “…to be eye to eye with a Humpback Whale is the epitome of spirituality.”

Finally, with Whaling Walls, the book captures the artist at work. The first Whaling Wall was completed in 1981 in Laguna Beach. It is Wyland’s goal to complete 100 Whaling Walls throughout the world by the year 2011. Touring throughout the world, Wyland’s “greatest mission is to inspire children.” He has done more than that: He has inspired divers and adults worldwide.

ORCA, The Sacred Whale, produced by Dr. Randall Eaton and Tim Gauthier; An Active Production Presentation, $17.99.

The attempt to inform any audience should be applauded. How that information is provided is another story. In ORCA, The Sacred Whale, whale lovers come together to tell tales of whale mythology and sightings. The running theme is the relationship between man and whale. Professional whale watchers sit around sharing stories, genuinely admiring these beautiful creatures, but boring their audience to tears.

Throughout the video, the audience is bombarded with the same image repetitively: whale fins diving in and out of the ocean’s surface. The only underwater shot is footage taken at an animal water park. An exciting moment is when the video takes a turn into computer graphics. For 30 seconds the viewer is shown the communication skills of whales with vibrating white circles.

The message of the video is that the spirituality of whales and their interaction with humans is a fascinating phenomenon. The video succeeds at relaying this message. However, its tiresome documentary format sent me searching for the remote.

OceanLife, Vol III, Hawaii, Second Edition, Sumeria Inc., $49.95. (415) 586-3820,, E-mail:

The computer and the ocean seem like an unlikely pair. Throw one in the other and the partnership doesn’t work. With OceanLife, Vol. III, Hawaii, Second Edition, a CD-ROM, the two worlds unite in harmony. Part of the award-winning OceanLife Series, the CD-ROM boasts 96 movies and is compatible with Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Macintosh.

Throw out those encyclopedias-CD-ROM is easier and more fun. Complete with video graphics, the CD-ROM takes diving enthusiasts into the underwater world with the click of a mouse. It offers contents such as Family Index, Morphology, Reef Life and Charts & Maps. Simply click on the Family Index icon and you can explore any of the numerous fish (via realistic fish icons) that thrive in Hawaiian waters.

The fish icons lead to a map locator and a narrated video. The visuals are colorful and the interaction is fun. Each time you go into a different link, you experience a virtual lesson. One of the best features is the Fish Morphology link. Simply click on the different parts of the fish and learn about the anatomical variations, which is helpful for identification when diving.

So, if you’re land-locked and can’t get a dive in soon, try this virtual ocean experience. It’s a stay-at-home link to the underwater world.

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