Jim Nollman: The Charged Border, Where Whales and Humans Meet

For 25 years Nollman (Dolphin Dreamtime, etc.) has communicated through music with whales, dolphins and porpoises. Here, he explores our interest with these creatures as they play out along the "charged border." At the place where human "desires and notions" interact with actual cetaceans. Nollman sees this charged border as a meeting place for scientists, environmentalists, mystics and artists, for each group provides insight as to why aquatic mammals hold such attraction for us.

He begins his examination in the Sea of Japan, where in 1980 a diver released hundreds of dolphins that were to be slaughtered by Japanese fishermen who saw the animals as competitors for the area's supply of fish and squid. Nollman also takes readers to a dolphin workshop in Baja California, where he finds his guide's "cosmic rap" about marine life disconcertingly religious. Other experiences recounted here include meeting with scientists on a research vessel in Alaskan waters, using music to lure endangered gray whales to safety and promoting music-making with orcas off the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Nollman clearly relishes the "nonscientific" nature of his work in interspecies communication, which he describes as "more an affair of the heart, the ear, and the gut, than of the mind and the spread sheet." His lyrical, imaginative descriptions of his encounters with cetaceans offer a fresh perspective on these extraordinary seagoing mammals.

Hard cover: 249 pages
Henry Holt & Co; 1st edition, April 1, 1999

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