The best place to start a story is at the beginning, and I have a very long and eventful story to tell. Starting with when we woke up.

We woke up at 5am, ate a Japanese style breakfast and hit the road. It took us a total of seven hours to get to Taiji from Wakayama. I love road trips! I have been on more then my fair share over the years, and let me just say that this was the strangest one yet! Nothing bad or weird happened, it was just the fact we were driving through miles and miles of Japan, witnessing a entirely different culture. We stopped at this adorable little bread shop, were they actually made the bread there where you could see. We got some doughnuts and cheese bread and started back on our journey. The cheese bread was amazing! I didn’t know that the Japanese made such amazing bread and doughnuts! You wouldn’t think that, but they do. It’s the best cheese bread I’ve ever had.

About an hour into our drive, Matt Smith, a Sea Shepherd supporter who answered one of Paul’s calls to come and be the eyes and hears of what is happening at The Cove, called us. He said that the Japanese Right-wing Nationalists were screaming his name and information through a bull horn, accusing him of being responsible for the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. He was being accused of something so extremely horrific, because he was an American citizen.

My dad and I got to talking after this conversation. I mentioned that I have never seen a Dolphin in person before, and how the first ones I will see, will either be captured or slaughtered. He said I was very brave for coming here and being prepared to witness that… but what is being brave? I mean, I know the dictionary term for it… but what does it feel like? Right now I can’t tell if I’m brave, or naive and stupid. I am well aware of the danger being here, I can be arrested, deported, banned from the country, or a Japanese fisherman may decided to attack me. I highly doubt they would go to that extreme with me though. I am a minor, I’m American, and I’m a girl. I’ve always been frustrated with my age, because I can’t go and do most of the things I want to at sixteen. But now being a sixteen year old girl … that might just save my butt! I guess I am very brave… or maybe the reality of all this hasn’t hit me yet. I’m realizing more and more every hour, just how greedy the fishermen are. And they do not like it when something gets in the way of that next paycheck.

When we first arrived to Taiji, the first thing we did was drive directly to The Cove. It’s surreal. We pulled into the parking lot, and we walked over to these two fishermen talking with an American man, we figured that was Matt. The hill we were standing on was a perfect view of The Cove (not the slaughtering place, but the body or water itself). 80+ dolphins were being held in a small area that was surrounded with netting. You could see and hear them all panicking. They were slapping their tails against the surface, clicking, and screaming moving around in this small ball they formed in the middle of the net area. It was so hard to watch. And honestly I have absolutely no words for how it made me feel. In my links section of this blog, you will see my youtube “KahakaiGirl” the video is uploaded there. Come up with your own words for it. It’s just wrong.

Within eyes sight, there was the Whale Museum. That was almost sickening. Apparently you can go read about Whales, then walk half a mile to watch one be slaughtered. The fishermen we walked into, were very polite. They shook my hand, and told me I was welcome there… that was unexpected. I was prepared to be spat at, screamed at, and trying to walk around with a bunch of fishermen around me that had no sense of personal space. But it’s a cultural thing, everyone is very polite, and kindness is huge here. (Not always as we have seen from most footage there).

We went into town, and spent the next hour with the information booth trying to find a affordable hotel, with internet and food. We found one… but we are only in this one for two days. A lot of traveling from place to place going on here. It’s good for me though, I’m seeing more and more of Japan everyday, and that will only make my senior project more interesting.

After we got the hotel room, and ditched our stuff and headed for the Shingu city police station. Sea Shepherd had received some very disturbing death threats. They said that any Sea Shepherd member that walked into the country would be killed. I went in recording the conversation, we were both prepared to be arrested. My father being apart of Sea Shepherd, and me because I was with him, and I had lots of cameras. When we first walked in, there were three police officers standing behind the counter, non of them spoke english. One man new enough to call someone else who could help us. In the mean time, we had conversations looking for translations in books etc.

By the time someone was there that spoke enough english to understand what we had to say, there were almost seven police officers, standing behind the counter, staring at us… we must have completely thrown them. Here are two white foreigners reporting threats of death, not what the expected walking into work today. The one man who was able to understand us and helped us out, knew Sea Shepherd really well… and was quite surprised that Sea Shepherd was there. They took our information, photocopied our passports, and told us they would call us because they needed to wait for someone who could translate all the English to move forward in whatever they were planning to do.

They sent us on our way… however, when we were walking out of the building another Japanese official (who looked like the guy in charge with his clip bored and everything), was talking to the cops. He saw my dad’s shirt and seemed pissed. His attitude was not friendly at all. It didn’t phase me, I expected behavior like this. But as we were walking to our car, we got a bit of a scare. One of the police men started to call us back. Him and the “in charge looking guy” were standing on the front walkway. Here I am, walking towards this angry looking man trying to mentally prepare myself to be arrested, or try to find my way back to the hotel because my dad was arrested. But the “in charge guy” mumbled something to his officer, and they shooed us away!

We got in our cars, and as we drove off we watch two of the police men get into a White Sedan and start to follow us. They followed us for miles, then we pulled over so I could take some pictures of the water. They kept driving but as we got further down the street they pulled in behind us. It’s official. We are being followed. I guess I can get used to my picture being taken, and all my actions being filmed for the next two months. Thats comforting.

We met back up with Matt and headed straight for The Cove. It was getting really dark… By the time we were at the Cove the sky was black. The moon and stars were shining so brightly though! It was beautiful. The air smelled like a hot day on the beach, and crickets were booming with sound all around us. But in the distance you could hear 80 dolphins screaming for freedom. We walked up to the same hill we were at before, and fought the urge to want to cut all those nets. But that won’t do us any good right now. The fishermen have said they plan on not killing dolphins the entire month of September, but are only driving them into The Cove to sell to swim with dolphin programs. One fishermen even told Matt no dolphins will be killed tomorrow. At least I can sleep tonight knowing that the lucky dolphins will be set free…. the rest will suffer a fate worse then death. Captivity.

We were being spied on by fishermen and a single police officer. But once again, all we did was stand there and do nothing. As the time past, more and more fishermen were arriving to check us out. They were walking up and down the street, shinning lights in the water looking for swimmers, and collecting in the parking lot where are car was.

I’ve never been so scared to walk to my car before, there were so many dark corners I didn’t know who or what was around. Matt was shinning flashlights everywhere to ensure it was safe to walk further, and my dad and I were filming the police and fishermen we could see. I felt like I was in a movie… This whole experience it surreal.

After we left we came back around and I took a picture of all the fishermen standing at the railing, they did not like the flashing camera in there face. But hey.. they had my picture, I have there picture.

We left and headed back to the hotel. We walked a couple blocks and found some yummy soup. I should go now though, I have a early morning. We plan on being at the cove at 6am to document what happens to the dolphins. New pictures should be posted. But we are currently save and ready to document some more.

For the animals,

Elora malama

31 Replies to “Eventful and emotional day…”

  1. Thank you so much for this blog and you are very brave for doing this. Stay safe and I look forward to reading about your journey.

  2. Everyone, be prepared for misleading comments from those who seek to undermine Scott and Elora’s work to save these dolphins.
    Scott IS our Sea Shepherd intelligence officer, his name features prominently on the website, and Elora is his daughter.
    This blog is a 100% genuine portrayal of Elora’s perspective on events in Taiji, and endorsed by Captain Paul Watson on his personal facebook page and fanpage.

  3. Dear Elora,

    I am so proud to learn about you and your Dad, and Matt!, being over there representing SSCS. What a shame there are uninformed people already here thinking they know everything. All the best you you guys & girls, and thanks for helping keep the world posted before the press even knows what happened yet. Good on ya! Long Island, NY is listening =)

  4. Where is your report on the internet DJ? This is a blog and hasn’t been updated yet today (Monday, Japan). Are you with OD? SSCS?

  5. Ignore this pathetic excuse for a human being, if they were actually in Taiji they wouldn’t have time to try and bully a 16 year old girl.

  6. seriously guys, just ignore this total loser. There are only 3 activists in Taijii, this person isn’t one of them.
    Elora, you have the total support of Sea Shepherd and Captain Watson, we love you!!!

  7. I am one more person that knows for a fact that Elora is in Japan and working with Sea Shepard. I am her teacher and helped set up her plan to rejoin classes when she returns. It is very disconcerting to see people on here trying to undermine the work that this student and activist is doing. Very frustrating. I don’t know who you are, but you are obviously working to hurt the dolphin cause. Shame on you. I know Elora, I know her family, and I know what they stand for. We are all proud of you!

  8. Elora is a close family friend and is there in Taiji to help!! She is with SSCS and is telling her story through her eyes. She is doing absolutely nothing hurtful to the cause. She is documenting what is happening. The point is to make our presents know to the fishermen and to stop the hunt. So in NO WAY is she making the problem worse!! if you don’t like that she is truly involved with SSCS and you aren’t I am sorry, but please let her and her supporters be!!

    WE All love and support you!! keep up this amazing blog and keep us updated! You know what you are doing and we will back you up, but it is only you that matters in this whole blog anyway!!

  9. Don’t feed the troll, it’s likely someone who is in favor of the slaughters and by replying to his/her posts only makes it worse. We all know he/she is lying about being SSCS and being in Taji in the first place. Just ignore it and it will stop. Hopefully.

    Keep up the good work Elora! You’re doing an amazing thing by bringing this to the peoples attention and i’m sure the dolphins are gratefull for you being there for them! Also, it must be incredibly hard to keep yourself from cutting those nets.

    Stay safe!

  10. People, Michael Dalton is my local SSCS chapter head and he has no idea who this idiot liar is. Definately someone who isn’t there, because right at this moment there is so much noise and chaos with rightwing protesters that nobody has time to write updates.
    This person is a fake, trying to take credit for something they haven’t done. Ignore them. I’m waking up my fiance, he can call Ric O’Barry, and we can move the releases along to end this confusion.
    DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS PERSON, ‘DJ CETACEA’. They’re just fake. End of story.

    1. Thank you everyone for sharing this information @ DJ Cetacea. I’ve reposted the link to Capt Watson’s FB page– and re-confirmed the video is TRUE.

      Trying to share all information as accurate– apparently some (including myself) have fallen prey to this falsity. Very sad someone would go to these lengths to sidetrack Elora. Bless you dear Elora and all of SSCS.

  11. The video from Scott & Elora is 100% genuine – I have been in constant contact with Scott and Matt (both in the video). I do not know the motives of DJCetacea – maybe this person should contact me and not hide behind a Twitter account and faceless messages on this blogsite.

  12. Elora you are amazing. I am so into this blog! I feel like I’m with you right now. Keep up the good work. There are disgustingly ignorant people out there. You rise above the ignorance beautifully. I would sock them in the throat. Shows your control. I love you. Stay safe… But not too safe! 😛

  13. dear elora, you make my heart burst with love and pride. i am so honored to be related to you. you are the perfect choice for this mission-stay strong for your dad and dolohins

  14. Well, I’m very happy to see that everything is now posted on the Sea Shepard website, everything is verified, and these idiots are now exposed as fakes. Elora, Scott and the rest of the REAL Sea Shepard folks can do the work that they need to do without interference from posers.

  15. finn
    hi i’ve seen the movie called the cove. it is a very disturbing movie how all the dolphins are being so violently killed. i think you are very brave because you went to japan and faced being arrested slapped and lots more dangerous things. and i will be following your blog very closely.


    finn whish-wilson 10 years old 🙂

    hi, i was hit real hard when i watched the cove
    i cryed for ages. just thinking of the dolphins and the poles they banged into the water to violenty disturb them gives me chills. i am scared of semptember and have been wishing it would never come. i have wished ever since i watched the cove to do what you’re doing in Japan. although i don’t know if i would last long with the sounds of the dolphins thrashing in pain and despair to get out. you are very brave to be doing this and i shall be watching you and reading your blog the whole way through your journey. i wish you luck when facing the dangers the Japanese may bring to you and your father. you are living my dream! good luck and be careful of private space. (i think he may have been fired) dolphins are living creatures are as smart as us and don’t deserve to be killed this way by gready fishermen. we should be conserving them not doing this. so lets help them!
    bronte 11 yrs old 🙂

  16. Elora, your blog is incredible. Like Victoria said, “I feel like I am there with you.” It is so great to here from you and hope everything is going smoothly. Know that your friends back home are strongly supporting you and thinking about the wonderful work you are doing. I have always felt the right to stand up for what what believe in and show the truth and that is why you are a dear friend of mine. Because you too stand up for what you believe and show the truth…when given this opportunity you took it even with all of the risk factors. I am so proud to know you as a friend and am glad someone is stepping up. Stay safe Elora West!

    “Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.”
    — Standing Bear

    – Dakota D.

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