Hello all! I have so much to tell you about today… so brace yourself and get nice and comfortable, haha! I started documenting sitting at the Cove at 6am this morning. Below is something I wrote watching the Captive dolphins.
Sitting at the Cove now. So far, three dolphins have been chosen for aquariums. I asked the police what they planned to do with the rest, they responded with “I don’t answer”. I am trying to prepare myself to see blood come out of the killing Cove. I don’t know what is going to happen, no one is responding right now.
About a half hour has gone by, I’m just sitting here eating an orange and watching absolute horror in the water and on land. In the water dolphins are jumping, clicking, blowing and thrashing around. On land, two Japanese women were walking down the path, but the fishermen left them alone. We have been harassed all morning about walking down the path (that is not gated off, I feel l should make that clear).
I have been walking alone down walkways to different sections of the beach, the police came up to me and told me I could not film or take pictures. We asked if it was against the law, and they did not answer. So I kept taking pictures.
It’s interesting how upset they get over a picture of a rock… they are not hiding the fact we make them very nervous! My father is on the phone now with someone that police asked him to speak with. Things are getting ugly. The dolphins are so scared. Five fishermen are standing directly behind me, and a police officer is sitting next to me. The guy on the phone is saying we need permission to take pictures of the fishermen. We responded with “the fishermen are taking our pictures, they didn’t ask us if it’s true they need permission”? —–The man on the phone was completely befuddled. After the phone was passed around several times, they man said we could take pictures of the fishing, boats, land, and animals… but not the faces of the fishermen.
About an hour after I wrote that, we went walking to the main beach/rock area. About 12 or 15 dolphins had been separated from their pod, and moved in the big area that is connected to the rock beach. I rolled up my jeans and walked into the warm bath like water, just trying to cool down. I tripped. Of course! Ha-ha, I twisted my toes and down I went, unto my butt now sitting in ribcage level water. I didn’t mind, it felt nice against the wind. I think I sprained my smallest toe though. It was surreal walking around in the water there, about 30 feet away from these amazing animals that should not have been there. About five minutes later, I’m still in the water, and one of the fishermen boats comes flying around the corner of the killing Cove, and straight for the rock beach! I booked it out of the water! It was at that moment things got really crazy….
Anti Sea Shepherd protesters, police, coast guard, and more people who looked all official started to line the sidewalk and come talk to us. There were probably all of three protesters on the sidewalk… I couldn’t help but chuckle. I mean, I’m all for supporting what you believe in, but to support murder is just plain ignorance and hate. They were filming us and taking our pictures. Now wait a minute… They didn’t ask our permission. So we asked the police to tell them to stop. We said that if they want to film us, we get to film them. They had no interest in doing that. The protesters held up signs of Paul but stayed away from us… my dad and I went walking down the beach, out of the sun… We forgot to put on sunscreen. Matt decided to stay and listen in on what was going on.
Sitting on the other side of the beach… I was trying to block out everything around me. Like the dolphins, the fishermen, cops, protesters, and the cameras. I was looking at the water, trees, hills and sky, birds, rocks, even bugs! And realizing how breathtaking this place is! It’s SO beautiful. It’s sickening to think what goes on in such a beautiful place….. but I almost threw up witnessing some of it.
Later this afternoon more protesters showed up. They had very high quality cameras, almost as if they were making a movie. There were about twelve of them now. I would walk by, and they would yell at me in Japanese… Talk about frightening. I felt like the Right-Wingers would kill me in my sleep if they could. And guess who comes into the story next!? Yeah… The Right-Wingers. Screaming about how what they do is okay here in Japan, and if we want to take pictures they will guide us to another location in Japan. They were talking about how they never forget the atomic bombings of Japan and reminding us that America did that. And yes, they were screaming through a bull horn while driving around the small town of Taiji.
Later in the day, keep in mind we had been there since 6am so later was really more like one or two in the afternoon. There is an estimated 15 dolphins that were taken for captivity today. I am not sure on that though. We were trying to count how many boats left with dolphins in slings, but we eventually got used to the sounds of the boats and lost count.
At one 0’clock the dolphins that had been separated, and netted in towards the rock beach, were still there. I figured out I was allowed to climb onto the rocks that were semi below the pathway. I walked all the way to the end of them, closest to the dolphins and sat down. They were probably about ten or 12 feet from me, but they kept moving in circles, so at times they were very close to me. But then they would migrate towards their other pod members in the cove area. I’ve never been more heart broken. I can honestly say that is one of the hardest things I have ever done. They were talking with each other, babies were separated from their mothers, fins were angrily hitting the water, and sometimes they would come up vertically to try and see above the water. I could look them right in the eye when they did that. Their eyes would roll in the back of their heads when they came back down. Now, none of these dolphins had the mysterious “Dolphin Smile”, they were so distressed.
I walked back over to my dad and Matt, when a news-paper reporter came over and interviewed my dad and me. He wanted to know why we are here, if we plan to cut nets or free dolphins, and what our story is. We explained that my father is with Sea Shepherd, and that I am a student in highschool working on my senior project. We told them nothing but the truth. He asked my dad a few questions, he explained that no we do not plan to cut nets or free dolphins, but he is here to let the world know what is happening at the Cove. The reporter asked what my project was on, I told him I am working on my senior project about Japanese culture and daily lifestyle. I told him that I understand the killing of dolphin is a cultural thing the fishermen have been claiming to do for 400 hundred years, so I came to document what I see, because I am interested and I care about dolphins too. We even told him about my blog and how I am writing down everything I see and feel. He was very interested in my project, and he was very nice! He stayed and talked with us for over an hour, and we made a very good connection. He is very curious about Sea Shepherd, has a wife who is also vegetarian, so he understood that.
Soon a TV news reporter took my dad aside and interviewed him. They asked him similar questions.
I am having a hard time wording this section… I don’t want to sound self-absorbed, but I found this very funny and very sweet and it was a part of my day, so why not share it! I share everything else! While we were talking to the news-reporter I mentioned that the Right-Wingers sound like they do not like us very much. He told me that they don’t think I am Sea Shepherd, because I am too pretty. I don’t know who from Sea Shepherd they have met, but everyone I have is very pretty! So I don’t know what they mean by that… But one man standing on top of one of the hills, I believe he was a Right-Winger, screamed several times asking me to marry him. It’s very funny… but extremely awkward!
I started to realize that the police will send one of their men to follow me when I walk around the park. They are protecting me from fishermen and right-wingers, they do not want any problem at all! They realize if something happens to me it will be a huge national scandal… So they keep a close eye on me. It’s comforting knowing that the police are there for me, instead of spitting on the ground I walk on. Only because I am with my dad, and he is Sea Shepherd, Sea Shepherd is not welcome here.
GOOD NEWS FOR THE DOLPHINS! It’s unfortunate for the dolphins that were taken in captivity. I won’t be able to sleep tonight. The sounds of theire tails hitting the water and those boats driving them off to their holding pens, will just haunt me.
However, the rest were let go today! It took them about an hour to drive them out of the Cove and into the ocean, but they did! Seeing them jump and swim towards freedom was amazing! IT was worth the hours of waiting in the HOT sunlight. I have to say though… if it weren’t for the fact we were there (we being all activists from any group) those dolphins would have suffered a terrible fate! I will post the videos of them being let go later tonight. It will take a while.
Leaving, we had everyone that was on the police squad follow us to our car, the Right-wingers were filming us, and the news reporters taking our pictures. I felt famous. I really didn’t enjoy it, but if it gets the word out about the Cove, I’ll do anything.
Today was rough. But it had a happy ending!
For the Animals,