Dolphins: Spy In The Pod - Second episode review
Review by Rob Carnevale
THE second part of the BBC’s Dolphins: Spy In The Pod was every bit as spectacular as the first – maybe even more so given the number of firsts it clocked up.
Casting its net a little wider, this episode not only continued to follow the exploits of the young bottlenose dolphin was was now venturing out on his own for the first time, but also checked in with dolphins in Carolina and other parts of the USA, as well as in Australia. It also dropped in on the ocean’s largest species of dolphin: the orca.
The never-before-captured footage this week delivered such rich visual sights as the male youngster making friends with a rare humpback dolphin and then joining a gang of fellow boys and taking part in a bizarre initiation ceremony, in which he had to display his femine side to be accepted.
Later on, the same dolphin and his new pod were seen ‘playing’ with a puffa fish and becoming intoxicated – or high – on the secretions the fish gave out to stay alive. It was left to jovial narrator David Tennant to deduce that they were one of the only species other than humans to partake in recreational drug use. But then such is their intelligence, they are constantly on the look-out for new experiences to keep their minds occupied.
The spy cameras, as ever, proved highly effective in capturing these rare, up-close and intimate moments, providing fascinating insights into how they communicate and interact, often quite socially but sometimes quite robustly.
The same young male dolphin and his new best friend ducked out of a turf war later on in the episode… a decision that proved beneficial to both when they ran across a pod of females and ‘got lucky’.
Other spectacles included superpods of common dolphins feeding on sardines among sharks, whales and gannet birds (which has previously been seen in another BBC nature extravaganza, but which remained no less spectacular), as well as orcas using their cleverness to catch dolphins and seals.
Spy Dolphin also joined a pod that stranded itself to catch fish… another fascinating behaviour that has previously been seen, but which was – again – no less fascinating by virtue of the close up view it afforded.
And then there was the real dolphin secret agent that carried a camera into the pod on its fin, which took viewers on a ride told solely from the dolphins’ point of view. The highlight of that journey coming when it performed its aerial leaps and took viewers with him.
This week’s episode wasn’t without danger, however. The aforementioned orcas saw to that with their merciless hunting techniques and clinical efficiency, while some of the young male dolphin’s activities carried their own potential peril. Even the spy cameras themselves weren’t entirely safe, as a post-script revealed when showing how spy squid became a rather unfortunate meal!
As ever, though, we just had to tip our hats to the BBC for delivering another two hours of spectacularly captivating television in the company of one of nature’s most intelligent and fun creatures. You could have hung out with them for a great deal more time too.