Taiji, Japan Blogs

The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat- Jacques Yves Cousteau

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Today I decided to write the beginning of my blog at the Cove. We were there all day and I didn’t want to forget anything… Here is what I wrote at about 2pm.

This morning we were out the door by 6:30. The weather was iffy, it was partly cloudy and the sun was shining through the cracks in the clouds. Once we were reaching Taiga Harbor the sky slowly went from cloudy to empty. All of us knew the boats were probably out… it wasn’t till we were driving near the Whale Museum that we saw how still the water was.

Sure enough, driving into Taiji Harbor all twelve hunting boats were out. The instant reaction you get from seeing the boats missing, is heart wrenching. It’s the feeling of not knowing when or if they will return with a family, that makes this all the more painful. Not to mention the instant rush of hate and anger that courses through your veins, I hate to hate… but you can’t help it.

Rex Ray, Ron Ball, my dad, and I went up to the viewing place up on the promontory. You get a wide and clear view of the Ocean. We don’t like to go up there without at least two other people, because it is in a mostly deserted area, no one we have seen really ever walks down this path.

We weren’t there ten minutes before my dad and Ron spotted something in one direction. I don’t think that the boat ended up being a hunter boat because they never bothered with it again, once they caught eye of the fleet. They were centered in the horizon coming right at us, in their driving formation. This is when I really wish I had a way to update you all from the Cove. We needed your help with the Swim Fast, Swim Deep, Swim Far. For a while it felt like it was working, the boats kept having to circle around, or go twist in and out of each other… then they would all go flying towards the other direction. It’s a wonderful sight seeing the dolphins fight and win. But it didn’t stay so wonderful for very long.

Once they caught up to them and had them trapped pretty well, we rushed down to the trail I was talking about in my last blog post, the one with all of the really amazing rocks.

We set up our cameras there and waited. We watched the white and red boats come closer and closer. Eventually you could see the white water and the dolphins breaking. There must have been 30-50 dolphins running and gasping for their lives.  To be completely honest the first dolphins I have ever seen were locked in the Cove. It only proves that you can learn and love dolphins, without going to a marine park.

I’m getting off track… anyway! All these dolphins were running as fast as they could away from this wall of sound. But apparently, this wasn’t ripping our hearts out enough… we noticed seven hunter boats still on the horizon driving in a completely different pod of something else! It’s like they just don’t stop. The hunters got one good day of weather and decided to get greedy.

Once the 30-50 Bottle-nose dolphins were locked into the Cove, we drove over. It wasn’t long until the hunter boats came along again, this time driving about 10-15 Risso dolphins. The Risso Dolphins were locked into the Cove as well. There is one net that separates the different pods.

After we determined that they probably weren’t going to kill right away, like they did last time… my dad and I drove back to the hotel, did a short update and then picked up some food at the store. We were back about an hour later.

When we got back we dumped everything in the shade and just sat around making ourselves present. The dolphins were thrashing around and jumping… then something happened. A baby dolphin jumped about three feet into the air and then disappeared beneath the surface. I am not talking a small adolescent, I mean an infant. This poor baby was all of three feet long and one foot wide. I think we all stopped breathing for a minute. Just everything that goes through your head, knowing that this innocent young life will be separated from it’s mother and then slaughtered…. I’ll never be the same person. It’s amazing how five seconds can change your life.

Just now I was sitting on the right side of the beach with the sun against my back. The water was so still, with just a small ripple. It almost looked like glass. Air brushed glass. It goes from light brown like rock, to sea foam green, to a light crystal blue and then intense ocean blue meeting the white- skied horizon. Then you look in the middle of all this surreal beauty… and you can see at least 40 different lives locked up and screaming as best they can. Slapping their tails against the water, huffing, jumping and rolling over. Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

The rest of our day was more relaxed then usual. No one talked with us we just sat around, filmed, ate and watched the horror going on in front of us. I am now sitting on my bed eating rice and veggies, uploading videos and mentally preparing for tomorrows early morning.

For the Animals,

Elora Malama

The meeting with the Mayor of Taiji, Scott West, Richard O’barry, Jeff Pantukoff, and me is November 2nd .

Please remember to read my Dad’s updates on the SeaShepherd website in my right- hand side bar. —-

To subscribe to my blog please post a comment and ask for email updates.

My Youtube Video should be up tomorrow with the rest of the slaughter footage. I do have a two minute video from today that I am posting on my youtube KahakaiGirl. That is all for tonight. Three AM morning tomorrow.

Check out Rex Ray’s blog at http://23skidoo.org/

35 thoughts on “The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat- Jacques Yves Cousteau”

  1. Wishing you all the strength you will need for the morning, Elora. So many will be there with you in spirit. I think I will make a habit of chanting swim fast, swim deep, swim far beginning every evening around 5 or 6 pm, when it’s 5 or 6 am in Japan. I was so angry when I heard the news today via your Mom that I couldn’t even focus on repeating those 6 words, but I tried to keep it up for a while. I also believe in the power of that kind of energy. I’ve been trying to get them all to jump the nets, or get just one to realize it is possible, do it, and call to the others. There are many of us trying to visualize all kinds of good things for them. On the other hand, many of us can no longer look at a single thing we own that was made in that country and have decided to do a sell-off and a permanent boycott. Blessings to you, your Dad, Rex, Ron, and those dolphins <3<3<3

  2. I have contacted CNN,Autumnwatch uk,all my scuba buddies,the Japanese embassy,the BBC and still the Taiji fishermen are doing what they want,there is no excuse for this killing,it makes me ashamed to be human.

  3. God, Elora, I can’t even imagine how you must have felt to see all this happening right before your eyes. It’s tearing me up, and I’m all the way in California. The part about the infant breaks my heart. I pray they at least spare the babies, pregnant females and at least some mothers. But based on how heartless these people are…not going to say it. Don’t want to jinx it. The driving in two pods at once is so upsetting. I bet they’d drive in more than that if they had more boats. This is so sick. I haven’t been sleeping at all. Just thinking of the dolphins and how hard it must be to be in Taiji right now. I understand when you say it’s lifechanging. Stay strong, Elora. What you’re doing is amazing.

    1. I truly feel the exact same as you do, Ashley. I echo everything that you mentioned. Thinking about what each and every dolphin, especially each and every mom-calf pair, is going through right now truly hurts!

      The fishermen have absolutely NO idea how extremely intelligent, highly sociable, and quite sentient these most precious dolphins are!!!! Wild cetaceans and us, humans, truly share a number of similar characteristics. They are truly non-human persons!!!!

      One day, the fishermen, along with the Taiji mayor and others, are going to wake up and realize that what they’re doing is downright senseless and that they are not going to gain from their most sinister activities much longer.


  4. Tears were rolling down my face as I read your blog entry. Your description of everything that occurred made me feel as if I was actually there. I could really picture so many things in my mind as if I had already seen everything in person. It truly tears me up that these beautiful dolphins had been taken away from their home that you described so vividly in your current entry. Yes, you put it so very well that there is something so very seriously wrong with the picture, since all wild cetaceans are meant to live their precious lives in their beautiful oceanic environments. These most sinister fishermen truly have no concept nor the heart to really appreciate the true meaning of our Earth’s special treasures. They’re so rigid and too narrow-minded to even take anything into consideration that would really help all wild cetaceans in the long run. Their greedy and egotistic attitude is what keeps them from being open minded to changes that would allow them to experience much gain in terms of conservation and education. All wild cetaceans will truly benefit from each and every fisherman’s and whaler’s willingness to change their activities from being involved in the most brutal slaughters to engaging the public in whale- and dolphin-watching excursions, as well as in the conservation of the oceans, wild cetaceans, and other sea life through hands-on activities, advocacy, and education.


  5. Elora..thank you so much for your blogs..im one of the many who chant for the dolphins and i pray a lot too. I have been trying to raise media attention here in New Zealand tonight for the captive Dolphins..i do have the NZ Heralds night editor interested in what is going on…I sent her Environmending offits blog with their blessing…and while i had their attention followed it up with yours..Im now thinking i should have had your permission to do this, sorry i acted in haste just so desperate to do anything to save the dolphins tonight. If the newspaper comes back to me interested can they print your blog or pictures? what would you like me to do?..at this stage i have heard nothing about to go to bed here its 1am…just trying desperately to raise awareness..let me know what you think, and again sorry..i should have run it past you first. Sending all my love and blessings to you all there and always for the Dolphins.. Kerry O’Brien xxx

    1. Kerry~ Yes, you can certainly let your reporter contact know of Elora’s blog and the Sea Shepherd website also has much information about the activities of The Cove Guardians. Many people have contacted me directly and/or posted questions about sharing the blog or photos etc.
      The answer is YES, you may share all you like just be sure to credit Elora or the source of whatever you are using. It is vital that this information be seen far and wide.
      While when Elora began this blog and journey, she never intended for this to be so far reaching… not because it was not needed, just hard to imagine that what you are passionate about would reach so many…. But, as her time in Taiji continues, it is clear that she has a story to share for the dolphins who cannot speak for themselves in human ways. This will not change until the voices of the innocents are truly heard by the world… Please share and thank you for you efforts.
      (Elora’s mom)

      1. We have contacted the AP, CNN, 60 Minutes, CNN Japan and several other international news organizations who are all covering this – believe the world will watch this particular event with keen interest.

  6. I wish you all the courage you need for tomorrow, hope something changes in the minds of these fisherman before slaughtering these animals.. but i”m afraid that will never happen. By killing these animals, we’re literally committing suicide.. I feel ashamed.

  7. I try very hard to imagine the rationale of the hunters that do this, but I always come back to feeling that there is something seriously missing in the hearts and minds of these people and this culture. No one wants this dolphin hunting but a precious few who have convinced themselves that this is acceptable – mostly on the grounds that they don’t want outsiders telling them what to do. This is intrinsically an argument that stems from the ego and not intelligent thought.

    Meanwhile in Nagoya there is an international conference on biodiversity happening. Countries are deciding on ways to best protect the oceans for the future – this particular dolphin hunt is a magnificent argument for creating more and more sanctuaries that are created specifically to protect sea life from Japan. I would hate to live in a country that has such little respect for the ocean that the entire world is compelled to organize and create large zones that eject their ultra aggressive hunting and fishing practices. In just a few years, when the eco system in Japanese waters completely collapses and the world tightens the noose on their poaching and overfishing on the open seas, Japan will look back and wish they hadn’t acted so recklessly, (as they always do). They’ll rue their decisions, as they currently rue the fact that they have paved and built over all their ancestral farmland leaving them little resources for food other than imports. They’ll wish they had practiced a bit of restraint. But for today – stupid barbaric behavior will advertise to the people of the world what idiots they truly are.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better myself! Thank you! I also believe they should convert the 50 PLUS DOLPHINARIUMS IN JAPAN (A state the size of California) to fish farms for sustainable living- freeing the dolphins that were no doubt caught in Taiji, of course! They have already over-fished the sea’s and now are at a serious risk of running out of food. Their eco-system is so screwed up that giant jellyfish are taking over their coastal areas. Don’t need to be a scientist to figure out that they have really messed things up (for everyone, not JUST them!)

      1. Do you realize that Japan has 6 new dolphinariums on the books currently slated to be built over the next few years? The next one is in Kyoto – they simply have no facility for understanding the full picture here.

  8. Elora, after reading your post I hung my head and cried. This should not be happening. I have never found myself wishing for the deaths of another human being until now. I pray these men wlll meet there untimely demise soon.They live with no heart or soul. They are not of our world and don’t deserve to share the same air. I feel you are becoming stronger everyday you spend there.Prayers for strength as you go through this horrible experience. It is truly a Sad day for all that care. God’s Speed to all the Cove Guardians.

  9. I feel so weak and sad after reading your blog today. Every morning here in Florida I look forward to reading your blog and this one is the most devastating….. I am a professional freelance journalist and I’m trying to figure a way to make what is happening there make sense here for the paper I work for to publish a story about the massacre. I also just got back from the Yucatan of Mexico and was completely so shocked on how much they advertise for the whole swim with dolphins thing, its like its the number one tourist income for them.

    There has to be something you, them, US can do for ALL of those dolphins right now, they can’t all die that’s too many. Its hard to even comment right now. Where is Black Fish when you need them??? Where is hope, and goodness…………………………………….

  10. Elora, PLEASE CONTACT ME via Email… a CNN iReporter staff member has emailed me for details. I told her I would try to reach you to get a contact email or phone number. I am on Facebook, Karrie Dennis. Add me please and I will send you her email address and the questions she is wanting answers to. I will check periodically throughout the day.

    1. Karrie,
      They will be very busy this morning when they finally get heading over to The Cove. It is now about 1 am there in Taiji.
      I suggest you provide the reporter with the media contact information for Sea Shepherd. They are probably just getting in at Friday Harbor and can deal with this much better than Elora and Scott can in the middle of the night on a potential slaughter day.
      Call 1-360-370-5650 media@seashepherd.org
      You can look at the contact list on the website for additional information and numbers.
      (Elora’s mom)

      1. Thank you Suzanne, I did send the media information but the reporter wrote back saying she wants Elora to iReport from Taiji as she can’t use anything from other blogs.

        There is a lot of interest in the story so far so hopefully if Elora herself posts the Video, the reporter will contact her. She contacted me thinking I was there. I referred her to Sea Shepherd and all the links but she wants Elora to personally post her iReport.

  11. I just saw “The Cove” yesteryday and since then have been online following the issue constantly. I have read many of your recent blogs, I just wish I knew about all of this earlier. You are doing such a good thing, you are accomplishing things that people don’t even consider in a lifetime. I am 19 and find this truly inspiring. I wish you all the luck and safety in the world and will continue to follow your blogs closely.


  12. Hi Elora,

    My heart sank when I read your post. Those poor dolphins. I’ve been watching the news of this years hunting season closely and I’m glad for the meeting that will take place between your group and the Mayor on the 2nd. Hopefully something can be accomplished or even a compromise can be made.

    I was reading some stuff online, especially some PDF articles by the EIA (Environmental investigation Agency) and I think they prove a good point about these dolphin hunts in that they are so unregulated and unsustainable. I know that is always a major argument the fisherman always use. That what they are doing is a “Sustainable use of ocean resources” but there is good evidence to suggest that several populations of dolphin species have already been hunted to near extinction in Japan. Yet, the quotas don’t change, they are usually set out of economic need not by population counts of the animals. If they stubbornly keep this up, they will eventually have no dolphins left. Perhaps this can be good ammo you can bring to the meeting?

    Sources: http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/reports/reports.cgi?t=template&a=18

    I hope one day they will be able open their eyes and realize that this is nothing more than a greedy needless slaughter. Why bother continuing a “tradition” if the hunters outlive the prey species?

    You are doing such an amazing job! Good luck with the meeting, and I hope for the best for the dolphins in the cove right now.


  13. They slaughtered them all including the mothers and babies per Suzanne’s post on Elora’s FB page. Can anyone say that these fishermen deserve to be called human now?

    1. No. They’re MONSTERS. Disgusting excuses for human beings. But we will prevail. The dolphins will be able to swim freely in THEIR ocean without these murderers chasing them. Everyone must keep up the fight. Keep calling, emailing, writing, faxing, blogging, donating–anything to keep this going. They must be feeling the heat- they killed the babies to hurt Elora, Scott and the other activists and us. I think they’re trying to test them and push their buttons. Elora- you have SO many people backing you. As hard as it must be, you’re a HUGE part of keeping this alive. Thank you soooooo much! I honestly can’t thank you enough. And I know everyone else here feels the same.

  14. I really feel sorry for the dolphins just slaughtered in Taiji. We should stop this by educating people through dialogue. I just wonder why the people who are so concerned about dolphins, as myself, don’t notice that the dolphins caught and slaughtered today are actually SPOTTED DOLPHINS, not Bottlenose dolphins? Yes they are sometimes difficult to distinguish but there are differences. Spotted dolphins are smaller and have white beaks as you can see in the video Elora uploaded. Though Elora’s father claims on the SS website that most of the dolphins were juveniles and calves, they seem to be in fact adult spotted dolphins.


  15. I think you are so brave and strong for doing this. As well as extremely blessed to have this opportunity no matter how hard it can get. There are so many people who would do anything to be in your shoes ( I am one of them) but I don’t think I would have as much self control and restraint as you. That’s why I think you are so brave and strong. You keep on going no matter how hard it is our how much it hearts. I commend you.

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