3.5 out of 5 stars
I have only seen dolphins once briefly in the wild. We were coming back from holiday in Jersey and as the ferry eased its way into the narrow harbour of St Peter Port in Guernsey behind the boat there were some leaping in the wake. It was a magical moment in that brief glimpse. There are often off the coast of Dorset and we have been out to Durlston Head to see if we can see them, but haven’t been fortunate yet.
They are highly intelligent creatures, they can recognise themselves in the mirror, are capable of empathy, grief and teamwork. They are excellent communicators, their clicks and whistles are almost continuous as they zip through the ocean. The more that we discover of their abilities the more amazed we become. They are almost human-like in some ways.
However, these magnificent creatures though are under threat. Being an apex predator they accumulate all the toxins and plastics that are contained within their prey. Those that we haven’t killed accidentally are frequently killed in nets and there are communities in the world that see them as a threat to their fishing stocks and kill thousands each year. On top of all that the world’s oceans are now a noisy place with a constant drone from propellers and super loud sonar from military manoeuvres. Dolphin carcases wash up on all the shores around the world, but if that part of the ocean is polluted then the numbers dying grows enormously.
Casey falls in love with these amazing animals and heads to various places around the world to meet those that love dolphins such as Dolphinville on Hawaii’s Big Island where people spend time swimming with the spinner dolphins, as well as taking more harrowing trips to Japan, and seeing where hundreds are slaughtered. On her travels, she discovers more about the trade in live creatures and how a creature that needs the whole of the ocean to live in ends up in marinas and private collections. Her descriptions of her visits to see the animals that are held in captivity are shocking and heart-wrenching. We are rapidly approaching the tipping point where we may not have any dolphins left in the seas. If that ever happens we as a species will be much poorer for it. Not quite as good as her book on waves, but still makes for compelling reading.