Author: Nicole McLachlan

Risso’s in Ruins

The rollercoaster continues here in Taiji… Tuesday morning we awoke to one of my favourite sights here in Taiji- a thunderstorm!

Wednesday was not so pleasant, as we bore witness to yet another slaughter within the killing cove, this time, it was a pod of Risso’s Dolphins that had the fatal bad luck of swimming past Taiji, Japan.

The boats left Taiji Harbour just before sunset, and as we would any other dolphin hunting day in Taiji, we set out to monitor their movements. We headed for one of Taiji’s headlands, we nickname the ‘promontory’. This site was once used as a lookout station for whaling in the area, now it is used to help end the destruction in our oceans.

It was only a few short hours into our wait that we noticed the ‘banger’ boats encircling a pod of dolphins, and begin to drive them toward the town of Taiji. During a drive, the atmosphere tightens around us, and all goes silent except for the odd comment on what we see out on the horizon…


The banger boats kept driving, and neared the headland that we had stationed ourselves on. Then, suddenly, we noticed that the pod of dolphins that the boats were chasing had split, and 8 Risso’s Dolphins darted ahead of the larger pod behind. A few banger boats focused on driving the smaller portion of the pod, whilst the remaining majority of boats continued to try and force the larger pod toward Taiji- hours later, those banger boats would fail in their mission as the dolphins continued to outsmart them- those dolphins swam free…

But for the 8 dolphins that were being chased down by fast paced boats, their fate wouldn’t be so fortunate.

After a tireless fight against the dolphin killers that were relying on the terror ensued from their engines and noise from their ‘banging poles’ to drive the dolphins, the pod became trapped and netted off within the killing cove after hours of struggle. Amongst the pod were two very young dolphins, one was just a newborn and still sported ‘birth rings’ along its’ body.

After their struggle, which stretched out over at least four hours, the pod were herded into the killing cove. This is when we see the ‘real’ reason for the slaughter… In come the dolphin trainers.

Two Risso’s dolphins were taken from the pod while they saw their family members being slaughtered in front of them. They were transferred into sea pens at Taiji Harbour, by trainers who work at Dolphin Resort Hotel in Taiji- a facility that profits by capturing and selling dolphins from the Taiji slaughters. This is the sole reason that these dolphins were herded into the killing cove… not for the four dolphins that the hunters kept to slaughter for meat (which will only fetch them up to about $600 per dolphin), but for the tens of thousands of dollars that the Fisheries Union ‘earns’ for capturing the other two. Herein lies one of the many dire problems surrounding the captive marine mammal industry.

Possibly the most horrible part of the day, was that the dolphin killers deemed the two smallest dolphins not profitable enough to slaughter, so they were dumped out at sea to fend for themselves, without the protection of their pod or food from their mothers… This is no display of compassion, as the dolphin killers have a set quota of dolphins that they have to adhere to, so to them, slaughtering and keeping a calf for meat would be cutting the profits by up to ten times. A Risso’s dolphin calf will be born at about 50kgs, they can reach weights of up to 450-500kgs. There is nothing humane, sustainable or traditional about this practice, it is simply about profit and profit alone.

Since Wednesday’s slaughter, we have had three dolphin hunt-free days here in Taiji, where we all enjoyed a much needed relief from the environmental crimes that ensue from the dolphin hunts. However, the captive facilities become a major focal point on these days, and we monitor these areas in order to expose what goes on ‘behind the closed doors’ of the captive trade. People need to know the truth when it comes to supporting captive dolphin facilities.

On Thursday afternoon, I freedived at the Cove. It is a public beach up until the netted area, so there wasn’t anything that the police could do but watch.

I sat on the bottom of the seafloor amongst the sea cucumbers and mullets zooming around and looked up at the wall of netting surrounding me, under about 4m of water. That thick and heavy net gave me the most horrible feeling- seeing the cove from the dolphins’ point of view was harrowing to say the least. I won’t forget that sight for a long time- it made me feel sick to my stomach but gave me even more of an insight into the terror that these dolphins face whilst being cornered by these walls of death.

Over the past three days since the last slaughter in Taiji, we have continued to observe the dolphin killers leave Taiji Harbour and return with nothing! We’re hoping for many more blue days in the cove to come!

Educate yourself on what’s going on in our oceans and make your voice heard! We will be updating live from the cove most days- and you can keep updated on the official Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians’ Facebook Page, Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Official Reports, or follow @seashepherd and #tweet4taiji on Twitter!

I just want to thank everyone that has shown their support over the last few weeks- I really appreciate it and it makes being here in Taiji a lot easier!

Nicole.

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Captivity Kills

A statement that shocks many when hearing it for the first time. But, alas, its’ truth resonates to the very core, and there is no place where this fact is more evident than here in Taiji.

No aquarium, no tank in marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.

-Jacques Yves Cousteau

If there was no captivity industry connected to this town, there would be no bloodshed within the Cove. The captivity industry fuels this slaughter. Here in Taiji, there are numerous facilities that throw their money the way of the slaughter, and we’re not just talking about loose change. The dolphin trainers- however much they urge that they ‘love’ dolphins- still continue to enter the killing cove during most slaughters, selecting the ‘prettiest’ dolphins to enslave, whilst their families are slaughtered around them.

The past few days here in Taiji have been hunt-free! Over the weekend, Taiji held its’ annual ‘whale festival’, which celebrates Taiji’s involvement in whaling and dolphin killing industries. On these days, we are able to spend more time monitoring these above mentioned captive facilities- most of which urge tourists to spend money to watch these dolphin shows, and swim with these animals that have been taken from the wild, usually in their very early years, and forced to learn tricks in order to obtain the very basic necessity of life- food.

Why mankind feels as though these dolphins should be performing day after day in order to survive, in the meantime helping to line the pockets of heartless individuals with considerable amounts of money is beyond me- luckily, though, the tide is turning, and many are waking up to the complete farce that is the captive dolphin trade. Many claim that these shows display the intelligence of these animals to a world that doesn’t quite understand the capacity of the marine mammal brain. They could not be further from the truth.

This referred ‘intelligence’ is only based upon what humans consider as trivially entertaining. These dolphins are merely learning tricks that humans have invented, using signals designed by humans that do not allow for any kind of responsive communication (the use of hand signals). These shows are nothing more than a display of human dominance and the outside physical appearance of these animals is the basic extent to which these shows provide accurate educational information. The notion of keeping marine mammals captive is outdated and frankly, no longer called for in a society that has come to learn of the incredibly intricate brains of these creatures.

Put simply, any of these facilities that house dolphins for display, swim with programs or breeding purposes are there for one reason- to make money. For as long as the captive industry holds dolphins within their walls, there is a need for these companies to take animals from the wild- to replenish the genetic diversity and maintain ‘healthy’ breeding programs. For as long as dolphins are being taken from the wild, there will be dolphin slaughters. It’s as simple as that. Here is a video I put together of the latest drive hunt here in Taiji;

So, I emphasize the need not to support the captive dolphin industry. If you want to encounter a dolphin- go and see one in the wild. If you can’t get to the ocean, well that’s just too bad. Dolphins (or any species of animal) shouldn’t have to be trucked, flown, ferried and kept in the same small tank for years on end just because it’s more convenient for humans to see them there.

It’s not hard not to buy a ticket, but it is impossible to bring back the hundreds of thousands of dolphins and small whales that have perished worldwide at the hands of the captive dolphin trade.

I’d also like to point out, that it is not due to these animals having a high sense of intelligence that raises the argument that they need not be slaughtered- it is due to the unnecessary cruelty and capture of the dolphins and the destruction to the ocean that it ensues. My passion lies with ocean conservation, and I am a strong believer in standing up for what you are most passionate about to achieve the most successful results. Meanwhile I make my best conscious effort not to contribute to other cruel industries in this world as well as to shed light on them. Unfortunately, I learn of more every single day.

Luckily, humans possess the ability to change our ways, we have the power to stand up and say ‘no more’ and we have the compassion embedded deep within our souls to indicate to us that we are doing the right thing by not supporting cruelty and environmental destruction. For, after all, it is the future generations of humankind that will be thanking us for taking a stand and speaking up, and it is definitely not just Taiji that needs to change… every single one of us do.

If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect.
-Jacques Yves Cousteau

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Educate yourself on what’s going on in our oceans and make your voice heard! We will be updating live from the cove most days- and you can keep updated on the official Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians’ Facebook Page, Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Official Reports, or follow #tweet4taiji on Twitter!

Fingers crossed that the rain that has been drizzling all afternoon will set in well beyond tomorrow morning and there is no hunting! :)

Nicole.

For those of you wanting to know more about the lucrative captive marine mammal trade and its’ history- watch this documentary!

My Favourite Colour!

This morning we were extremely happy to report that all 12 ‘banger’ boats returned empty handed! The cove stayed blue today :)

Although, as we are reminded constantly here in Taiji, there’s always something going on, something to look out for.

Earlier on in the morning, the horrors from the last few days were reinstated when Guilherme saw a skiff with dolphin killers inside, sneaking into the killing cove while most of the other dolphin killers were out at sea. They procured from the killing cove the body of a small pilot whale, which they habitually concealed under tarps and delivered to the butcher house. The fact that it was a smaller whale alludes to the possibility that it was unintentionally killed during the previous days’ slaughter- perhaps they did not want us to expose this, resulting in their secretive movements today.

It was a short wait up on the promontory this morning; myself, B, Harrison and Raphael were stationed at the headland monitoring the horizon for glimpses of banger boats.. a few hours into the wait, Guilherme and Scott joined us from the cove, and as we were waiting, Guilherme took us to check up on the surrounding beaches- where he had spotted a pilot whale that had been washed ashore a few weeks previous. The pilot whale was part of a remaining pod which was ‘released’ after a slaughter in Taiji over a month ago… The trauma incurred within the Cove is quite evidently the cause for the strand.

It was a shocking reminder of the fact that these pods are hugely affected by the hunts, and when released- they will likely not survive without the stable social structure that they have known for generations.. Sitting only a metre away from this rotting carcass- I cast my thoughts to only six weeks ago, when this now decaying body would have been swimming freely in the vast ocean, swimming along with 100 other beautiful pilot whales, learning, teaching and interacting with each other. Then, with a short intake of breath, the putrid smell entered my nostrils and I could not bare to be nearby the body any longer than to take a few quick photos.. It is a smell that I would never have been able to comprehend having never smelt it.. it makes your head spin and your stomach churn.

This is what mankind has done to such a beautiful animal. Actually, it doesn’t matter whether the animal is beautiful at all- simply because it is alive, that gives it the right to continue to live…

As we walked back to the carpark from the promontory with mixed emotions about the day and what we had seen, something caught my eye. It was the single most amazing butterfly I have ever seen, sitting in the middle of the road in front of me. I find nature to be like therapy, you revert back to feeling child-like when you’re around animals, there is so much to gain by understanding and spending time with animals..

Constantly, no matter how hard the day, we all need to take the time to appreciate the beauty that does still exist in this world- for it is the only way to protect it…

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

Educate yourself on what’s going on in our oceans and make your voice heard! We will be updating live from the cove most days- you can keep updated on the official Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians’ Facebook Page. Or follow #tweet4taiji on Twitter!

Here’s hoping for another blue day tomorrow! :)

Nicole.

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The Quota Problem

Over the past three days, there has been a tangible sense of despair lingering around the town of Taiji. Over the past three days, a family of over 100 Pilot Whales was completely torn apart.

On Tuesday morning, these animals were chased down, traumatised and herded together- their captors taking complete advantage of what mankind has come to learn about cetaceans; their use of sound for sight- or, echolocation. In a chaotic and deafening few hours on Tuesday, these majestic creatures fell from freedom and were confined to nets and jagged cliff-faces- in the next few days, they would lose part of their family.

Yesterday, 14 of the most sizable adults were slaughtered within the killing cove, as the others watched and listened- whilst swimming in the blood of their family members. Another 7 large adults were taken from our oceans early this morning… the rest were released hours later.

Now, the reasoning behind the title of this post serves to highlight the extent of greed which is so readily shown here in Taiji. Each season (between the months of Sep-Mar), the dolphin fishermen are allocated set quotas for individual species of dolphins and small whales…

Theoretically, these ‘quotas’ are set to allow for the ‘sustainable fishing‘ of certain species. However, here in Taiji- we can easily see the blatant abuse of these quotas, and the aftereffects are disastrous. During instances where we see huge pods being driven into the cove (just like the one we have seen over the past few days), only the largest and most profitable dolphins will be selected for slaughter, while the smaller adults, subadults and calves with less meat (therefore, less $$) are released with a high risk that they may not survive themselves.

The factor that is not taken into account is that many of these remaining whales cannot survive without the balanced social structures that they have been developing throughout generations. Therefore- there are many more dolphins and small whales silently perishing at the hands of the dolphin killers of Taiji… yet these are not incorporated into what they write down in their daily inventories after ‘work’. Many of the young pilot whales may perish without the presence of their mothers and elders. Pilot whales are considered one of the more socially dependent species of marine mammal (thought to be one reason for mass stranding episodes worldwide)- they never leave their natal pod.

And so, the next time another large pod makes the unfortunate mistake of swimming past Taiji, it will also incur the same fate; the largest whales slaughtered for meat while the less profitable individuals are left to possibly survive with the memory of their traumatic experience within the cove…

This morning, I was shown from a distance the skeleton of a Pilot Whale that was released from the cove after a slaughter in recent weeks- its’ body had washed up on a beach near the ‘Promontory’, nearby the cove and had largely rotted away- leaving its’ bones exposed. It is clearly evident that these animals struggle to survive without a connection between family members, and just this morning as the dolphin killers were chasing the pilot whales out of the cove- two whales had simply given up- they were virtually motionless and not even the dolphin killers’ attempts at running them down with the propellors on their skiffs could move them out at any pace. One of the whales was reluctantly fastened to the side of a skiff and dumped further out to sea.. their fate will remain unknown.

Once again, the bottom line. Greed.

But there is something that you can do to help! Get educated about what’s going on in our oceans and make your voice heard! We will be updating live from the cove every day- you can keep updated on the official Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians’ Facebook Page. Or follow #tweet4taiji on Twitter!

I’ll be updating this blog every day once again for you guys to keep updated on what is going on here in Taiji. Tomorrow we’ll have videos up from the last few days.. Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments etc to pathtoprotect@hotmail.com :)

After a very intense and horrific few days, we are all hoping for a blue cove tomorrow!

Nicole

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A Grim Return

There’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself to witness slaughter on a mass scale.

Returning for my third season here in Taiji, Japan yesterday showed me just that.

Arriving yesterday afternoon, the news that I was greeted with instantly made me sick to my stomach- over 100 Pilot Whales had been captured within the cove that morning, waiting to be slaughtered.

I travelled into Taiji yesterday afternoon for the first time since last season. This time, the first stop was the new ‘Police Box’ where all new activists must report for questioning upon their arrival in the town. When I had left last year, the police station at the cove was newly being built… This year, the police presence has grown immensely!

After talking with the police, I wanted to head straight to the Cove.

The sight that greeted us was one of pure heartbreak. Huddled together and confused, the huge pod of Pilot Whales were barely moving, except for the occasional spy-hop or tail slap. Some members of the pod were enormous and of old age, some were newborn calves; still sporting ‘birth rings’ along their bodies. We remained at the cove for hours until the sun had set. Ever present these days, the police had set up powerful lights which shone out over the whole beach overnight..

After a very restless sleep, we awoke this morning and set out for the cove at 5am. After what would have been a night of absolute terror for these sentient beings, we arrived at the cove to find that the pod had hardly moved at all, still clutching onto each other, huddled up and giving comfort in the form of physical touch. Their stress levels were noticeably increasing, however, with every hour that passed…

We did not have to wait long until the dreaded skiff full of dolphin killers showed up.

They began herding some of the pod into the killing cove- the pod put up quite a valiant struggle against the nets, boats, sounds, engines, propellors and men that were trying so desperately to end their lives… The dolphin killers selected some of the largest pilot whales from the pod and dragged them by a rope harnessed around their tail fluke, into the killing cove. The next time that they emerged, they were lifeless and tied to the side of boats- headed for the butcherhouse.

What teared away at my insides most today was seeing innocence in its’ purest form be greeted with such atrocious acts of indifference and cruelty. This morning, one of the young calves became trapped in a net, and was very visibly struggling to free itself, while its’ mother looked on close by. This went on for a long time, while the dolphin killers stood merely metres away- too busy and transfixed on their money-generating slaughter to even acknowledge the calf, let alone free it. After a while, the calf vanished- it had drowned in the net, with its’ mother by its’ side… helpless.

In my opinion, the development of human indifference has been the most dangerous thing that has ever occurred on this planet. When we’re children, we are taught right from wrong. In school, we are constantly urged to show respect for others, compassion and kindness. We know when we are doing the wrong thing, we know when our words or actions hurt another- we have been instructed how to live a life of peace from an early age.

But, somewhere along the path of growing up, we lose all of this kindness and compassion- we become indifferent and apathetic to the problems in this world, always leaving it for another to take responsibility.

We are ALL responsible for what goes on in this world, and it is up to every single one of us to make the conscious change to live a compassionate life and to stand up for those without a voice. For if we do not do so quickly, there may not be many more generations to teach this compassion to. This is YOUR time to stand up, have your voice counted and do something that will change the world.

Just consider; what kind of a world do you want your kids and grandkids to see? What kind of legacy would YOU like to leave behind?

At the end of the day, 15 Pilot Whales were killed during the slaughter, including the calf that drowned. The remaining 80-90 whales are still currently within the cove, awaiting their fate tomorrow morning…

We will be updating live from the cove in the morning- you can keep updated on the official Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians’ Facebook Page. Or follow #tweet4taiji on Twitter!

I’ll be updating this blog as well as my Facebook every day whilst I’m here in Taiji! A huge thank you to those of you who have already sent such kind words of support, I really do appreciate it and it helps to get through the days here knowing that we have such a strong network of support worldwide!

Until tomorrow…
Nicole.

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Pristine, for now..

The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week on Lady Elliot! There’s nothing better than to wake up every morning and walk only 20 metres from the big old house I live in here to check the conditions out on the reef and be greeted with a sight of pure serenity and beauty. Astonishingly white sand and coral rubble and crystal light blue waters with areas of reef underneath. For me- the best part is picturing all the wildlife below- the Sea Turtles suspended in the deep blue, or tucked under a coral ledge having a snooze, Manta Rays gliding along effortlessly against a zooming current…

Spring is here! :) and below is my next weekly video instalment about life underwater here on the reef!

This place is so pristine… it’s 80 kms from the mainland and 40 kms from the nearest island north along the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Musgrave. It is completely protected by law, a Green Zone in the GBR Marine Park, which enforces a ban on the taking of wildlife within a 15km radius (commercial and recreational fishing and spearfishing). The island’s eco resort runs with an almost 70% reduced carbon footprint, with the aim of a 100% reduction in the near future! (I will tell you guys all about our eco initiatives in a blog soon :)

Even out here though, we see the effects of what is going on in our oceans all over the world.

This morning I was absolutely devastated to hear about the first drive in Taiji, Japan this morning- a pod of Pilot Whales are in the cove right now awaiting their fate. They will either be stolen from our oceans to live a dismal life in captivity or they will be slaughtered mercilessly… Make your voice heard to stop this, email your concerns to your nearest Japanese Embassy today!


However, of course, it is never just one or even a few governments behind the complete devastation effecting our oceans.. Even in Australia right now we are facing a potentially catastrophic commercial fishing disaster with the monster Super Trawler, the Margiris, entering Australian waters. This is a vessel with the capacity to fit 13 large planes within it’s nets… We do, however, have the power to stop it- send an email to joe.ludwig@maff.gov.au and urge him to stop the Super Trawler set to decimate marine ecosystems along the Australian coastline!

My next blog set to be uploaded within the next few days with another video will go into the progress and future of my In Our Hands campaign- with some pics of a recent presentation I gave for a big school group that came out to Lady Elliot for a visit! :)

Sorry I’ve been a little quiet out here lately- but be sure that I have been working hard and saving for my conservation projects! :) I’ll soon be able to get a new underwater video camera, so I’m excited to show you all what I witness out here on the reef everyday in much better quality!

As always, please feel free to contact me anytime with any questions or comments at pathtoprotect@hotmail.com

Nic :)

 

Life on the Reef!

Hello Hello all :)

Well, I have been so busy over the past few weeks that this is the first time I have been able to sit put and write on here! I really miss keeping you all up to date- and there is so much to tell!

So I am back out on Lady Elliot Island, working as an island/marine wildlife tour guide- the best part about the island is the Green Zone that protects it for about 15km around! It’s a sanctuary for many species of marine life! So my job is to show people the beauty of it! (Not a hard task if you ask me ;)


I’ll be out here for a while- luckily I have plenty of manta rays, sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales to keep me company! I will be using this time to gain underwater footage and to plan my In Our Hands campaign. Over here on the island I will also be developing my talks and presentations to give at schools and universities around Australia next year!

Back to life on the reef… about a week and a half ago I had the incredible joy to witness two wild bottlenose dolphins hunting along the reef during a snorkelling tour! There was an adult female, and her juvenile young. I lay motionless on top of the ocean surface as the beautiful dolphins surfaced near me over and over- meanwhile retreating to their game of ‘cat and mouse’ with a nearby school of big eyed trevally… The last time I witnessed dolphins underwater was through nets in the notorious dolphin hunting village of Taiji last January.. you can imagine how different this experience was for me. It was a day I will always remember! :)

Here’s a video I put together of last week’s dolphin encounter as well as some other friends I made along the way here! I’ll be uploading a video every week to the Lady Elliot Island Youtube channel updating on some of the nature encounters we have here :)

Last night I had the amazing honour to watch another of John Meech’s presentations on his work with Sea Turtles. John is a leading contributor to vital sea turtle research based in Australia- I’ve been learning so much about these amazing sea creatures during his visits out to Lady Elliot- since 2009! :)

So I plan on updating here all about my time on the reef much more often from now on! I’ll be uploading my second Lady Elliot Youtube video with footage I gained this week here on the reef freediving with turtles and being amongst a 10+ Manta Ray feeding frenzy!

I’ll also have some updates on the In Our Hands campaign shortly :)
You’ll be seeing me back here very soon ;)

Nicole

The Big Adventure!

Ok… so I know I’ve been pretty quiet on here for a while, but I’ve been spending a little while brainstorming for the In Our Hands Campaign- and am going to let you know all about what I’ve come up with!! :)
So, in order to reach as MANY Australian youth as possible, I’ve begun planning a huge road trip/marine education tour around the coast of Australia! Set for the beginning of the school year in 2013 and running over a few months! At this stage I plan to go from North QLD around the East Coast (e.g. Cairns,Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron, Coffs, Newcastle Sydney etc etc). I’m hoping (it will depend on sponsorship) to end up in Western Australia’s Broome (Taiji, Japan’s ‘sister city’ in Australia) or in the Kimberlies! The map above shows a possible route for the road trip!
I will be stopping by at towns and cities along the way and talking at schools, universities and events about the issues impacting on our oceans and environment, why it affects us and why it is SO important for young people to know that they can have a brighter future with a healthier ocean, and they can make their voice heard to urge the leaders of today to rectify the mistakes of the past… so here’s where YOU can help! :)
Do you know anyone who’d like to be a part of the big adventure to support the education of the youth on marine conservation issues/solutions? I’m looking for:

* Teachers/lecturers/university and school students who are interested in me coming to talk about ‘marine conservation/following your dream and having your voice heard’ to their classes or whole school/university. (See map to see if I will be in your area). Includes: 1 HR Audio Visual/ Spoken Presentation and 30mins for students to optionally get involved with the In Our Hands Project. Click HERE to find out more about this project.

* Event co-ordinators for stalls, fundraising events, festivals, school fetes etc etc that may want to have me talk at, organise an ‘Eco Warrior for a Day Kid’s Club’ or make an In Our Hands banner with guests at their event.. I would love to get in contact with Sea Shepherd Chapters all around the coast Australia to maybe tee something up in your town or with a local school :)

* Also anyone with any media contacts to get the word out there to individuals around Australia to get involved! Especially media that targets youth :)  

Remember, I am still on my mission for 100,000 handprints! Hopefully this tour will help me reach my aim! :) I will also be filming this adventure for my documentary so you/your school or event could be in it :)

Let me know if you can help the IN OUR HANDS EDUCATIONAL ROAD TRIP! … I need to come up with a better title :P

Also I thought I’d mention that it is now less than 70 days until the commencement of the six-month dolphin hunting season in Taiji, Japan.

I do plan to head back to Taiji again sometime this season, as I said during my first 3 month campaign in Dec 2010- it is something that has deeply touched and stirred my soul, I will continue to strive to be in Taiji assisting with the campaign to end the dolphin hunt and captive trade every year until it is over.. It is so important to have people on the ground there, and I can tell you from experience that it is so much better for the campaign when we are there in higher number. If you have always thought about it or are in a position to go over I urge that you do (maybe you’re already planning a trip to Japan between September-March?)… Every person counts. Contact Scott West to apply to become a Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian in Taiji coveguardians@seashepherd.org

As always, thank you to everyone’s support and kind words! :) Please send an email to pathtoprotect@hotmail.com if you’d like to help!

Nicole :)

Paddle Out for Whales on the Gold Coast, Australia!

Come down to Kirra Surf Life Saving Club, QLD, and join in the celebrations for this year’s National Whale Day 2012 Paddle Out.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) are proud to present this national event to help raise awareness for the protection of whales and to encourage responsible behaviour on our waters around whales and dolphins. Recently we have seen a rise in incidents involving deliberate or accidental harassment of whales and dolphins in our waters from boats, boards and jet skis.

The Paddle out encourages the use of wind, wave and paddle powered craft (such as sail boats, surf boards, kayaks and stand up paddle boards) – the quietest, most environmentally friendly and peaceful way to enjoy the water. There will also be bands, speakers, food, and merchandise stalls and information about local wildlife and eco friendly organisations as well as the local surf and board riding clubs.

                                                             Speakers Include
Nicole McLachlan
Madison Stewart – Young Australian shark conservationist from Byron Bay.
Lin Sutherland – conservationist and adventurist, host and creator of Travel Wild Tv.
Isabel Dow – On the Sea Shepherd Board of Advisors on Children’s Activities and Education.
Rachel Kathriner – Project Coordinator at IFAW.
Tony Barry – Australian Actor
Howie Cooke – Co-founder of Surfers for Cetaceans, and artist
Simon Ager – Sea Shepherd Crew Member 

COST: Every person wishing to participate in the Paddle Out will need to register with a gold coin donation – spectators FREE

WHEN: (approx) 8:30am-2:30pm, Saturday 2nd June

WHERE: Kirra Surf Life Saving Club – 15 Marine Parade, Kirra

CONTACT: Suzan Corbett on 0428 244 009 or Julie Ansell julieansellqld@gmail.com

Hope to see you there if you’re in the area! :)

Send your video to free Paul Watson!

There is big business in destroying the oceans… big businesses with powerful connections.

Big businesses that underestimate the power of compassion.

One of the most important and influential people in marine conservation today, Captain Paul Watson (founder and Director of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and co-founder of Greenpeace) has been held in Germany due to a ‘navigational violation’ in Costa Rica ten years ago whilst Sea Shepherd were escorting an illegal shark finning boat back to port to be prosecuted.

The entire incident was caught on film by Rob Stewart for his award winning shark conservation  documentary, Sharkwater. Watch the it all below (scene from the documentary, Sharkwater):

He faces extradition to Costa Rica from Frankfurt, Germany and what proves to be a very uncertain fate: Paul personally feels that extradition to Costa Rica would be a death sentence- given the fact that the arrest is politically motivated (even Interpol refused to associate with Costa Rica’s demands) as well as the Costa Rican Mafia’s tight connections within the shark fin trade.  Farley Mowat feels the same: ‘I have a dim view of this conspiracy and if we allow Germany to extradite him, he will likely disappear, it will be equivalent to nailing him to the cross.’

There is only one more day to tell the only two people in the world that can overturn the decision to extradite Paul, the German Minister for Justice and Minister for Foreign Affairs that Paul Watson should be freed! When governments take up the side of illegal shark fin poachers over Interpol, you know something’s up.
Here is your chance to help make your voice heard! Send ME your 5-10s video urging officials to ‘Free Captain Paul Watson!’. I will combine them all and produce a video to show international media, governments and thus the world that we will not stand by and watch as Paul is sent to a Costa Rican jail!

SEND YOUR SHORT VIDEOS TO: pathtoprotect@hotmail.com
Please get them in by Saturday 19th May, 8pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Please share this around! The more people that get involved, the more impact this video will have! :)

Watch and share this video I made upon the day of his arrest!

Nicole