Conversations with Dolphins (2016) – Jerome Julienne and John Jackson

“They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.” – Whales Weep Not! D. H. Lawrece

Airing as part of the CBC’s Nature of Things tonight, is this fascinating documentary about one of my favourite mammals on the planet, dolphins.

From endurance swimmer Adam Walker’s touching, and protective encounter with them during a three hour part of his Cook Strait swim to the Dolphin Research Center in Florida that explores the clicks and whistles that form their intricate and still-puzzling (to us at least) communication, the documentary explores these beautiful creatures that we share the planet with, and wonders if we can ever find a way to communicate with them, and understand one another.

We delve into their ability to reason abstractly and problem solve (often quicker than we do), and the stunning underwater photography takes us into their world. From Florida to Hawaii to South Africa an New Zealand, the oceans are filled with these amazing, and self-aware tool-using beings, who demonstrate the ability to communicate with one another and show an ability to learn new word to interact with the humans around them.

The only thing I didn’t like about the documentary was that it was too short. In all honesty, each of the stops along the way would have been worthy of their own documentary, the subject matter is fascinating, and dolphins are such fascinating subjects.

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Julienne and Jackson give us intriguing glimpses into the lives and wonder of these stunningly intelligent creatures that we share the planet with, and perhaps hint at the understanding between species that draws closer each day through the work of intelligences on both sides.

There are moments, watching these fascinating mammals when you wonder if they are studying us, as we are them, if they have formed their opinions, if they find us as fascinating as we do them, or if they look at us and shake their heads at the atrocities that we commit on ourselves, the planet, and all its inhabitants.

What would they say to us, and how much apologizing would we have to do to them?

We grow closer, each day,  to proving what many of us ‘know’, that these intelligent beings are more likely our equals on the planet as opposed to ‘lesser beings.’

If you have any doubts, or want a gentle reminder, I cannot recommend this episode of David Suzuki’s Nature of Things tonight on CBC. Julienne and Jackson have made an engaging, stunning and thought-provoking documentary, check it out!

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