Report from Taiji: February 3
Cove Guardians Libby, Nicole, and Andy enjoy coffee with the local cafe owners and employeesAs the dolphin hunters filed back into harbor this morning after an uneventful day at sea, the Cove Guardians breathed a sigh of relief as we watched from the Mountain Pass. Although today was a fortunate day for dolphins, it was a very tragic day personally as I received an early morning Skype call to inform me that a very close friend had been killed the night before in a car accident. Life, as every living being knows it, can change in an instant or as in the case in Taiji, can be brutally torn away from us. It’s true when they say that life is short, not only for humans but for anything living, and every moment should be lived like it is your last.
Today we also said an early goodbye to Cove Guardian Jared, who had to head home early due to cyclone Yasi that is wreaking havoc on Australia. Saying goodbye to people that you have grown close to here in Taiji, Japan is simply part of the job, and being a Cove Guardian consists of emotional difficulties that typically do not exist in the real world. But the support of likeminded people and the amazing friendships that come out of this experience are well worth the tears.
Andy enjoys a quiet moment at the CoveAfter returning from the Cove and dropping Jared off at the train station, Nicole, Andy, and I went for a walk, and ended up at a small outdoor coffee shop. As we sat together, enjoying each other’s company and fondly remembering my friend that has passed, the café owner brought us each a pastry on the house. His English was decent and we chatted about where we were from. The ladies working at the café asked if they could take their picture with us and we ended up taking a large group photo and sharing a laugh. The owner asked for our names and we even exchanged e-mail addresses and promised to return often. This unbelievably warm hospitality from complete strangers was something that made a sickeningly horrible day turn into one that will forever be a cherished memory.
Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.
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,
Cove Guardians Sheri, Andy, Nicole, Libby, and Jared share a happy moment on the beach of the Cove. Photo: Sheri Hargrove
Nicole, who will be assisting me during my time in Taiji, will share her experiences on her blog.