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The Voice of the Dolphins Paperback – May 4, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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. --Kirkus Reviews, June 7, 2011

About the Author

Hardy Jones has been a pioneer in filming dolphins, killer whales and sperm whales underwater in the wild. He began the struggle to end the slaughter of dolphins in Japan in 1979. Jones graduated from New Canaan Country School, Choate School and Tulane University. He was awarded a CBS News Foundation Fellowship to Columbia University where he studied international law. At CBS News, Jones worked as a researcher, writer and in the election and space units. He went on to become news director and on-air anchor at the CBS affiliate in Anchorage, Alaska. Prior to working at CBS Jones served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. In 2003 Hardy Jones was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer connected to chemical pollutants. He has fought to alert the public and governments to the danger of toxins in the marine food chain and their linkage to disease in dolphins and human beings. He was won numerous awards for his films, including Lifetime Achievement Award from International Wildlife Film Festival, A Genesis Award from the Humane Society of the United States, Wildlife Filmmaker of the Year from Wildscreen and an Explorer’s Club Award as well as many others. Currently Jones is executive director of BlueVoice.org. He is on the Ocean Council of Oceana. He and his wife Deborah Cutting live on Anastasia Island just off Saint Augustine, Florida. They share their lives with a Chow named Chou Chou, and two cats - Buddy and Gracie. From a nearby beach they frequently see dolphins and, during the winter, right whales.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456377531
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456377533
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,516,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

From the first moment I saw a dolphin I was enthralled. Unfortunately it was at the Miami SeaQuarium, a facility for captive dolphins. During the 1970s I spent time with Dr. John Lilly, a man who understood the potential for human-dolphin interaction. Being utterly naive, I set out to find free dolphins in the open sea and thanks to a tip from a treasure hunter, I found them in a remote area of the Bahamas. That started a more than 30-year relationship with the spotted dolphins of the western Bahamas. The story is chronicled in The Voice of the Dolphins, my new book.
But learning about the wonders of dolphins led me to understand the horrors they face at the hand of mankind. I have worked in Japan since 1979 to stop the slaughter of dolphins there. My films have appeared on National Geographic and PBS and we have had substantial success stopping these slaughters. But Taiji continues to kill dolphins and there is a huge kill of Dall's Porpoise in northern Japan.
During the spring of 2012 I documented a massive die-off of dolphins in Peru and discovered widespread hunting of dolphins by Peruvian fishermen. We are currently working to test dolphin-eating consumers for mercury levels in hopes of ending the dolphin hunt by proving that eating dolphin meat is not healthful.
The other area in which I work more and more is researching and exploring the contamination in the marine food chain and is threatening both dolphins and now humans.
In my early years as a journalist I worked for CBS News, United Pres International and was news director and anchor at the CBS affiliate in Anchorage, AK. I graduated from Choate School, then Tulane University and did a year at Columbia School of Law.
I live in Saint Augustine, FL with my wife Deborah and our Chow Chou Chou, and cats Gracie and Buddy.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In "The Voice of the Dolphins" filmmaker Hardy Jones reports his story of a life spent working with dolphins--working to understand them and working to save them. Ultimately, and with a sad irony, this dolphin work proves important to his own survival. Jones writes: "This memoir covers three phases of my more than thirty years spent among dolphins and other sea creatures: my initial, exhilarating encounter with friendly dolphins; my subsequent discovery that these creatures are mortally threatened by both slaughter and the chemical contamination of our oceans; and, finally, my diagnosis with a form of blood cancer that has clear links to the same chemical toxins that are causing disastrous consequences among dolphins."

Like all love stories, Jones' story with the dolphins--Atlantic spotted dolphins in the Bahamas, spinner dolphins in Hawaii and Tahiti, orca in the Pacific Northwest and Norway, to name a few--is full of beauty, discovery, and wonder. The book resonates with these passages, ebginning with Jones' description of swimming for the first time in the wild with dolphins who did not flee him... a feat even Jacques Cousteau considered impossible in 1978.

But like many love stories, Jones' with the dolphins is also full of pain and sickness. In 1979 he went to Japan to film the slaughter of dolphins. This was the first of many trips to talk, listen, and argue with the fishermen in defense of the dolphins--all done decades before "The Cove" filmmakers got there. Jones writes of being haunted by the two irreconcilable dolphin worlds he'd come to know: "Again and again, especially in early morning hours when I couldn't sleep, my thoughts returned to the brutal images of dolphins piled on the beaches of Iki...
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This is a fantastic book and I literally couldn't put it down. It's an absolute must read for dolphin and whale lovers and a very important book for everyone who cares about them, the oceans and humanity. It is an incredible story of adventure and communication with dolphins and whales. And a wakeup call to the challenges they face that are now impacting our own fate. Parts of the book will make you feel like you are present in the moment, swimming and communicating with whales and dophins. And others will make you want to join in the fight to protect them, and us. This book is a great combination of adventure, emotion, education and a call to action.
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I must confess right off that I have been Hardy Jones' friend since the early 1950's so I cannot be entirely objective about this book. He sent me an inscribed copy and I read it -- virtually non-stop. Imagine this: you're a teenager from the Connecticut suburbs and you have encountered your life's dream. Sure, we all have had them: I want to be a great athlete, I want to win the Nobel Prize, I want to become wealthy and successful, I want a loving home and family (mine!). Hardy's book is about the fulfillment of his personal dream. Yes he loves dolphins -- passionately -- but he also loves life, and that is what comes through most in his book. This is not the tale of a pie-in-the-sky "sea hugger", but a true, unvarnished story of a fully-lived life from its most beautiful and awe-inspiring to its most tragic and devastating, centered around his beloved dolphins. Everything I know of Hardy -- his sensitivity, his sense of humor, his passion, his insight, his anger, and most of all his humanity -- come through in this wonderful book. I was very moved reading it from beginning to end and you will be also. Guaranteed. My one regret is that I never joined my friend on a trip to dive with his marine family, but reading this book is the next best thing -- almost.
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Dear Hardy -

Your book arrived and I immediately sat down and read it. Of course I flipped to the beginning of your adventure with dolphins and was amazed by your photographic memory of the first DOLPHIN film. It was like being there again. The film has corrupted my sense of continuity so it was a delight to read things in chronological order.

I was very moved to see how your illness lead you to a bigger space of concern and care for dolphins and the pollution they face. Are you sure you are not a dolphin come back as a bodhisattva?

I am also very appreciative of your life long efforts on the behalf of dolphins and the oceans and your magnificent book certainly tells of this extraordinary adventure. I got off the 'dolphin boat' after our first film and went on to a myriad of other interests - kind of skipping the stone over the water - but you dove in and went deep.

I appreciate and admire you Hardy, what you've accomplished, the examples you've set, the high standards you keep, and your devotion to the Earth. I am glad to know you and to have been there at the beginning.

This is a must-read for anyone who cares about dolphins, the oceans, and the fate of the planet.
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THE VOICE OF THE DOLPHINS is an emotional roller coaster ride. Jones writes with compassion, generosity, wisdom and uncommon flair. He goes from an Edenic adventure with spotted dolphins in the waters of the Bahamas to the gruesome murder of cetaceans at the hand of Japanese fishermen and, finally, to the possible lethal fate he and his totem animals face. I devoured this book in one sitting and am unable to banish it from my mind. If you have any affinity for courage, grace and the health of our planet and its inhabitants, neither will you.
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