An award-winning filmmaker describes three decades of work with dolphins.
In this compelling memoir, Jones, best known for his documentaries on marine life, recounts his experience filming and interacting with dolphins. His work initially began in 1978 after he learned about cruel fishing techniques that rely on dolphins to catch tuna, often leading to mass deaths of dolphins. Jones decided to produce a film documenting dolphins underwater in their natural habitat, a feat considered impossible by marine experts, including the esteemed Jacques Cousteau. Fortunately, with the help of treasure diver Bob Marx, Jones learned of an unusually friendly school of dolphins living in the Bahamas. With a small crew, Jones worked with the school to create his first film Dolphin, and thus began his lifelong desire to document and protect these intelligent aquatic animals. Over the next three decades, Jones made several films for PBS, National Geographic, Discovery and more; co-founded Bluevoice.org to protect dolphins and whales; and created film footage that helped spur a public outcry against Starkist Tuna’s fishing techniques (reformed practices and the Starkist “dolphin safe” label were born as a result). Jones writes in an engaging, conversational tone and readers will find the segments describing human interaction with wild dolphins fascinating as they attempt to communicate through an underwater piano and a dolphin call generator. While the book occasionally veers toward sappy descriptions of humans connecting and cavorting with dolphins, accounts of the marine mammals’ sheer intelligence are astounding. In more personal sections, Jones juxtaposes his film work with his battle with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer linked to the same toxic chemicals that affect dolphins. Indeed, a central theme of the book is that the animals face an uncertain future, threatened by destructive fishing techniques and a rising number of ocean contaminants.
A moving, effective tale that urges readers to place greater importance on environmental conservation.