Bestselling author Susan Casey was a former competitive swimmer with extensive experience in ocean swimming. So it surprised her when she realized she had never swum with dolphins.
That changed when she unexpectedly encountered a pod of Spinner dolphins during a solo swim off Maui. Casey was so affected by the experience that she spent the next few years researching dolphins around the world. The result is her latest book, “Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins.”
There are 43 species of dolphins in the world, ranging from 3-foot Hector’s dolphins to 25-foot Orcas. They are generally found near coastlines in relatively shallow water.
Casey charts their long evolution, from their origins as wolf-like earth dwellers to life in the ocean. She explains the similarities and differences between dolphin and human brains. And she details the history of human and dolphin interaction, for better and worse.
Dolphins can understand human language, call each other by name, recognize themselves in reflections, count, pull pranks, mourn, throw tantrums, and rescue each other and humans. Casey was struck by how interested dolphins are in humans. She questions how our fascination with them might become more beneficial to these remarkable creatures.
She spoke at the Seattle Public Library Central Library on August 17. Thanks to Anna Tatistcheff for this recording.