Report from Taiji: December 23
Whale art on the Taiji tunnelToday was the third consecutive day the dolphins were able to swim far, fast and deep in order to escape the dreaded banger boats. No doubt they are loving this little interval from being tormented, tortured and left to slowly suffer to death while hearing the cries of their loved ones around them. Perhaps my words are harsh, but the reality of what is done to these beings is cruel and inhumane.
We are consistently noticing a pattern here in our little corner of the Wakayama Prefecture, the incoming support from the local “average Joe” is beyond belief. When we walk through town, we are more often than not stopped by citizens wanting to talk with us and tell us that they are against the dolphin slaughter. So many times this happens and almost every single time we are also told by this same person that they are afraid to speak out for fear of the repercussions.
Tonight, as Nicole and I walked to the gym, a young man in his car pulled over and asked us if we were with Sea Shepherd. This was interesting because neither of us were wearing any Sea Shepherd merchandise, as we were in our standard gym clothes. However, the locals have come to recognize that if they see a Westerner, they are more than likely involved with Sea Shepherd and if they see a Westerner wearing all black, which we both were, then they are most definitely with Sea Shepherd! This man starting talking so quickly and with such joyous emotion that it was impossible for us to follow what he was saying, but it was obvious that he was ecstatic to have had a Sea Shepherd sighting. He was motioning with his hands that he is very much against the dolphin slaughter and kept pointing to us using words such as “great” and “thank you.” We received many bows of gratitude and an endless supply of smiles, a very universal language.
The mayor's office overlooks the harborThe support of the local citizens can be mind-blowing at times and it’s exactly what this campaign needs in order to completely shut down the dolphin killing industry. People are often upset that we don’t rent boats and try to drive dolphins away from the banger boats or hop into our wetsuits and attempt to cut nets. Instant gratification is not the purpose of our presence and even if we wanted to cut nets and give their boats a run, it is impossible to do this without becoming an unwelcomed, dishonorable guest in a Japanese prison. These dolphins do not need us to break the law, get deported and therefore be banned from the country; they need us to approach this situation with a clear mind in order to find a way to stop it once and for all.
Here is your opportunity to become a Cove Guardian. To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you, but please be patient. We cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer e-mails at the same time. Contributions to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to keep our official presence here are needed and welcome. These contributions cover the costs for transport, telephone, equipment, supplies, food, and lodging for the official Sea Shepherd representative. We will remain here through the end of March and will return for the next season in September 2011.
Thank you to the citizens of Japan who are weighing these issues and beginning to take a stand to solve them. Thank you to everyone who is on the frontlines of this war. This is a war to save ourselves from ourselves. Without your calling and writing Japanese embassies and your own governments, there will be no change. Keep it up! Every time dolphins are pushed into the Cove, let them have it. Every time there is blood in the water, let them have it. Make good consumer choices. Inform everyone you know about the tragedy here and how it is linked to the captive dolphin trade. All who patronize a dolphin show have blood on their hands.
For the dolphins,
The Cove Guardians scan the horizon for banger boats
Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.
Rupert Imhoff, who is also assisting with this campaign, has started a YouTube channel of video taken during his time in Taiji.