Report from Taiji: October 2
sea pens for captive dolphins
The dolphin hunters stayed in port today. Great weather is predicted again for the next two days. The forecast calls for heavy rain and thunderstorms.
An unknown number of dolphins continue to be held captive in the pens in Taiji Harbor.
Because the dolphin hunters were thwarted by the weather today, Elora and I decided to take off and see more of Wakayama Prefecture. We made the challenging drive to Doro Kyo Gorge and found it well worth our efforts (and risks on the very narrow winding roads). I have written before about the incredible beauty in this part of Japan: the ocean, hot springs, diving, temples, mountains, and people. I am amazed that this part of Wakayama Prefecture is not even mentioned in popular tourist guidebooks. This part of Japan is a jewel and unfortunately a well-kept secret. The infrastructure is in place here for tourism. Travelers from all over the world should put this eastern area of Wakayama Prefecture on their list of must see destinations.
Doro Kyo Gorge, Japan
Now that having been said, I have to also say that until the insanity of the dolphin capture and slaughter ends in Taiji, only those travelers willing to come here to stand vigil, as Cove Guardians, should come. If you have tourist plans for Japan, go elsewhere. Take your money and spend it in a land that does not allow barbarism and senseless cruelty.
By way of this posting, I am making an offer to the governor of Wakayama Prefecture. As long as there is dolphin capture and slaughter in this prefecture, I will discourage tourists from coming here. However, if you do the right thing and deny all permits for dolphin slaughter and capture, my daughter and I stand ready to participate, without charge, in a tourist advertising campaign. Just think of what that could do for all of the people of your prefecture. Increased tourism will help far more of your constituents than would be helped by stubbornly hanging onto the dolphin trade in Taiji.
Doro Kyo Gorge
Now, what to do about the handful of men in Taiji who make their living off of the dolphin hunt and slaughter once it ends? If they were to use their knowledge of the dolphin migratory routes and take tourists out upon the sea in their boats, they could continue to make a living. There is also a need for a dive shop or two in the area. The Taiji Whale museum could become a proper museum (instead of a trader in misery) and exhibit Taiji’s whaling and dolphin slaughter past. You have an incredible tourist opportunity at Kuijirahama Park in that it is the “set” of the Academy Award wining movie The Cove. There are fans of that movie the world over who would jump at the chance to come to Taiji and attend tours of the area, especially if conducted by the men in the movie. Governor, just let me know if you would like to discuss this idea.
Elora West at Doro Kyo Gorge, Japan
The voters in Wakayama Prefecture have an opportunity to send a message to the governor in the upcoming elections. Here is the chance for the good and sensible Japanese citizens of Wakayama to speak their minds.
We need your help. Spread the word, send donations, join in the international day of protest, and avoid all travel to Japan except to become a Cove Guardian with us here in Taiji. To join us (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk) in Taiji, write to me at email@example.com. I will get back to you, but please be patient. I cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer email at the same time.
Click here to learn more about the international day of protest on October 14, 2010.
Follow my daughter’s blog of these events.
For the Oceans,
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Tarah Millen will be joining us here in November. She has started a blog about her endeavor.
windy coastline in Taiji, Japan
The cove on October 2, 2010