An Image From Home…

Today has been one of the hardest days I’ve endured at the cove thus far… Today was the first slaughter since December 20th, 18 days ago…

Of our nine strong team of Cove Guardians… this was the very first slaughter most of them had seen, excluding Libby and myself only. Today, 15 bottlenose dolphins were stolen from our seas, their bodies brutally hacked and sent off to supermarkets around Japan. Seven are now sentenced to life in prison… I mean, captivity.

For me, today felt like I was seeing the slaughter for the first time… all over again. Only this time I could predict and know what was going on, and I wasn’t so disorientated.
We all went up to the promontory first thing in the early hours, and had a clear view of the horizon. I was answering questions all about the slaughter for those who had been here for just a couple slaughter-free days… though it continued to feel like my first time experiencing it. It seems like a lifetime ago that I last saw those banger boats in formation out on the horizon, almost like years now.

The reality of it all came crashing into view as we all noticed a large pod of dolphins being herded by the bangers… then there was silence among us, as there always is. We watched with a painful stare, some were peering through the holes of binoculars, some through the lenses of their cameras… for some reason, it always feels a little less real this way. As the sun rose and began beating down on the large group of us at the promontory, Libby, Andy and myself decided to head straight to the Cove- as the dolphins were being herded toward the mouth of Taiji…

The agonising and traumatic wait at the Cove is one of the worst parts of the mornings here… when you know that they have dolphins, and you wait for them to come into sight for that final confirmation… of the nets sealing their fate.

Soon after the dolphins were in the Cove, I identified them as being Bottlenose Dolphins. A species that many sources often deny as being killed in Taiji…
I quickly made my way up Glenda’s Hill with Andy, to get a better look at the dolphins, and to gain footage of the horrors within the killing cove. Every time I walk up the many steep steps of that hill, there is always a sense of dread, and there is always silence… The one place in the world that I would love to never visit again, is the top of that hill. The absolute atrocities I have witnessed, as well as countless others, will no doubt haunt me forever. But, whenever there are dolphins in the killing cove, there is nowhere else I want to be- because I know that filming what goes on inside that cove is the key to helping to unlock the freedom of these animals. These horrors need to be shown to the world in order for them to become aware and help end this- and if that means that I have to bear witness to it in person in order to get this message out there- then that is what I will do. For that is the reason why I came here- to help tell the world what is going on… as well as creating ideas to end the slaughter for good.

I believe that today was almost the hardest day I’ve had up on Glenda’s Hill… and I think it was seeing those bottlenose dolphins that did it.
Anyone who has grown up on the coast of Australia has more than likely had many sightings or close encounters with a bottlenose dolphin… these are the species of dolphin that are iconic to my home country. Many divers, surfers, beach-goers and ocean lovers can tell you at least a few stories about these amazing creatures of our shores… they are a very well loved species of dolphin. Now that I think about it, most Australians develop a love and admiration for these animals by watching them in the wild only… by seeing them free and at peace. Seeing this species of dolphin immediately takes me back home, to the sandy beaches and the coral reefs… I closed my eyes this morning after the slaughter and had a distinct image of my countless hours that I used to spend on beautiful headlands and beaches back home, watching these amazing animals play and surf the waves. I pictured the times when dolphins would surround me whilst snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef… I opened my eyes once more and reality hit. I had to sit down immediately- my head was dizzy, I felt weak and powerless. I put my head in my hands and sobbed on top of that hill. At the same time having to listen to the jeers and laughter of the human beings who had just ripped apart an entire family of sentient beings…

Seeing these wild animals tortured, abused, harassed, injured and slaughtered tore my heart out- it was a complete outrage… When? When did this become something that people considered ok… When did it become something that people took pride in? Well, after seeing this today, it has given me a whole lot more fuel to fight this slaughter to the end… to its’ end.

I saw in an online article today a few quotes from the Mayor of Taiji:

“We will pass down the history of our ancestors to the next generation, preserve it. We have a strong sense of pride about this. So we are not going to change our plans for the town based on the criticism of foreigners.” Mayor Kazutaka Sangen

Well I have something to say about this, and something to say to the Mayor.
I guarantee that this slaughter will end.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow… but it will. If you will not heed to the pleading calls of millions of ‘foreigners’ then we will have to play it your way. I will see to it that the members of your ‘next generation’ see this slaughter for what it is. I will stand up for those in Taiji who are against this slaughter. I will show you that this is something that many of the locals in Taiji and its’ surrounding villages do NOT take pride in any longer… I am starting a movement- tomorrow- which I have been creating and developing for a few weeks now. I will knock on the door of every person in this area if I have to- but I will see to it that you gain the truth from your locals… that you see that it is not just the foreigners who want this to end. I make these promises, and until this slaughter ends I intend to keep them.

Enough is enough. It has got to stop.

Below is a video I found recently and I am including in memory of the 15 dolphins that were brutally slaughtered at the hands of mankind this morning on January 7th, 2011.

Below is the footage from today’s slaughter..

Don’t forget to keep sending in your questions to pathtoprotect@hotmail.com for me to answer in my video blogs! Please also send your videos to get involved with my new Youth Project- you can find out more in my previous blog, or on my Facebook Page…

You can follow my videos here on this blogpage (which I will continue to update every day) as well as my Youtube Channel
Also, don’t forget to add me as a friend on Facebook if you haven’t yet- for regular updates, photos, information and videos from the Cove.

Thankyou everyone for your continued support, and positive feedback! We all really appreciate it!
On the path to protect,
Nicole.

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12 comments

  1. Your words are beautifully written but very very sad to read. I can only imagine the emotional roller coastal that you go through. Thank you, for keeping us updated! My heart is with you!!!

  2. As soon as I played the video,reality set in. The young people are the way to the end of these barbaric acts.The mayor of Taiji needs to disappear off this planet,soon. Karma to the mayor and the fisherman. Clean slate . Killings ended.Dolphins safe to be free forever.Thank you for your updates and writings. I greatly appreciate it.Be safe.God Bless all of you for being there.

  3. Thank you very much for your heartfelt message! I can’t imagine what it must be like to actually be in Taiji watching these horrors take place and can only say that I admire you all for your courage and strength. I appreciate all you do for us and our dolphins. It was a brutal day for everyone….and one day I also believe it will end. Beautiful video! Peace to you all! 🙂

  4. I doubt there is a peaceful solution to genocide of this kind. Sadly sometimes you have to make sacrifices. The killings are, in part, a show of nationalism put on for the world to see. Families are being slaughtered and so many just watch and record.

    You have my deepest respect and sympathy. Carry on Nicole.

  5. This must have been so hard for your after so many days of no blodd in the the waters of the cove. I wish I knew what to say to make it easier for you all. Thank you for keeping us informed.
    Peace

  6. Today checking the daily log, you just had a gut feeling that slaughter free days don’t last forever, not yet anyway. You hesitate to go on because you just know that Dolphins died today. 15 of the planets beautiful souls were taken today, 7 will loose their souls slowly in a life of captivity. God Bless you guys, stay strong. God Bless the Dolphins that died today and those forced into captivity.

  7. Nicole,

    Your words are powerful and beautifully written. Your passion will make the difference. The children of Japan are the dolphins future.

    “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” -From the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

    Stay strong and thank you for standing up for these beautiful, soulful and intelligent creatures.

  8. Dear Nicole
    Thank you for giving your time and energy in this awareness raising cause.
    Also in regards your reaction today to the major of Taiji – so well said!
    Keep it up- I admire you

  9. Dear Nicole, all.

    I have been watching what is going on in Taiji through your postings from there and the Sea Shepherd web site. I am very sad with the situation and lack of sustainable positive results in the fight against dolphin murders and captures. Although I admire your work down there very much and I respect your efforts, I am now on the opinion that your mission is going to fail unless you and your team don’t take further physical measures to stop this bloody massacre. The outcome from today, unfortunately, proves my words. Until today I believed that it was your presence and activity around the cove that stopped the killings during the last 17 days, but it appears that it was actually so because of the local holidays only. After watching your latest footage I am on the opinion that neither the local fishermen, nor the local authorities nor the local people pay any significant respect to you, your team and your activities. As I saw personally on the film, your presence in the area does not influence the murders at all! They do not pay any attention to you and in no way show that they are afraid of you or your activities. Moreover, I have not seen yet any local people to support you in your work, not to try to talk with the killers on your behalf. From my point of view, you look somehow isolated there. Definitely, it is of no good neither for the dolphins, nor for your cause.

    Also, I cannot understand why you stay so far away from the cove? Is it really so impossible to go to the shore? Is it really a private and so well kept place? I cannot get a very good “big picture”, but as far as I know, the seashore, and the sand itself, should be a public property, so the access to the cove should not be legally limited, unless there is a military base or something similar there. As far as I understand, actually in that cove there is nothing but just one green tarp. Is it in a possession of the dolphin base and do they keep it safe legally? This is a matter that I suggest you to investigate with the help of your native fellows.

    Here is the place to admit that it is of a crucial importance for the success of your, and of any other foreigner’s, mission that is carried-on in a hostile, totalitarian foreign country such as Japan, to have a reliable support from some local people, through a network (team) of NATIVES. Believe me, the opinion of the local groups in Taiji to the problems you are fighting against, will be very different if they are introduced to them by native Japanese activists. I am sure that the locals treat you as an insolent foreigner that is interfering in their own affairs. Consider the fact that you are a white girl, from another continent and with another religion and culture. From my personal experience I know that people usually do not like foreigners to tell them what to do. They just do not want to listen to them even it might be very correct and right. The ordinary people are just like that. This is why the local mayor told you that you are not the one who will change their traditional behavior and will ban things that they have been doing for decades… You should not expect that simple-minded mayor to consider the political issues that you guys are involved in. In his eyes you are a youngster from that white race which dropped the 2 baby bombs that killed so many …. etc., and who wants to stop the business of the local community. Everybody with a diploma knows that this is bad, but this is the reality – he is a local mayor and he aims at protecting the local people’ interests, not your nor mine interests. Therefore, do not expect that this guy will help you. But here is your chance. Since he is a political persona, he definitely has some political opponents. So, try to contact them, and explain to them how this current policy worsens the image of the town and the country. For example, after watching your films I have decided not to go ever to Japan, nor to support any their cause, product or company until they stop commercial killing of whales, tuna and dolphins. Tell them that the tourists will avoid this place if this war continues. Then you might get any local political support that will be very useful, because more local people will better understand your ideas. You will also probably get access to meetings and media, where your ideas will be presented by local politicians (or religious leaders, priests…) as their ideas, but not of foreigners. It is very important to have some natives to advertise your goals. Even in my country, Bulgaria, which is a member of the European Union, the things happen in that way. If you come to my country and start an initiative to stop killing geese for Christmas, you will be hooted. But if you come and convince me, and my community, and then we start together the initiative, the results will be completely different. Actually, I do not believe it is possible the Christmas geese killing to be stopped at all, but at least the people will consider the ideas and the media will vastly cover it. Something that unfortunately I do not see to be happening with your campaign.

    One more idea for you at the end. You say many times that you are a follower of Paul Watson. But why then you do not really follow him? Why don’t you do what he does? Why don’t you use his methods, tactics and scope? He is chasing and ramming ships, fighting with bombs and boats, and showing this on the TV worldwide in a way that is attractive not only to the eco-warriors, but also to the ordinary people like me. What he is doing with Animal Planet has such a big impact on the public opinion that it is even more important for the cause than saving a single whale life. Even without showing much blood, just with the tools of the TV cameras these guys are attracting many and many people to their cause every day. So, try to really follow Paul. I do not mean that you should become a terrorist or to do a stupid thing that will send you to jail, but think about doing some real “on-site” active work that will make difference and will attract the media attention. Obviously, taking photos and footages from the daily slaughters is too passive and is not very interesting. I do not believe that I will be able to keep on watching your films if they show every day one and the same – captured dolphins, blood and dead bodies. I just do not have nerves for that. And if you do not change our behavior to a more actively-engaged one, your stay in Taiji will be wasted. If you keep on doing only filming and do not really stop the killings somehow within the next 2 weeks, I would suggest you to start calling your campaign “Cove Statisticians” rather than “Cove Guardians”. How actually do you guys GUARD the COVE? During the last 17 days it was OK, you “guarded” it somehow, because there was no activity from the foes. But today? What did you do to save those dolphins? Do you believe that Paul Watson would just stay like you and make photos from a remote distance? Obviously nobody there cares of your photos and if the “guarding” remains the same, they will keep on killing animals until April, and you will keep on posting similar bloody and disgusting films that I do not need to watch anymore! I have watched enough and I have made my decision, for myself. Unfortunately, I cannot come to join you because I do not have a visa, nor enough money, and I have 2 small kids. But if I were you, here is what I would initiate:
    I will focus on the contacts with the natives and spend most of the day talking to them rather staying in isolation far away from the cove. When I find a dozen local citizen on my party, I would ask them to engage a dozen of small boats, even inflating ones that can be bought from the shop, and would organize a peaceful sea swim. As far as I see, the cove is blocked by nets. Be careful – DO NOT DESTROY OR TOUCH THE NETS. I read that these are private property and you could be arrested if you destroy them. You really do not need to do that. You can just swim with your boats nearby the cove entry very early in the morning. Think about it, I have not found any argument this private and peaceful morning swim to be illegal! Do not try to chain your boats. Just stay in the neutral waters very close to the cove entry and do nothing, just film and watch. Do not quarrel with the fishermen. Just stay and wait for their reaction. If you manage to keep it secret, then they will be very surprised to meet you there at the cove entrance, driving the dolphins to it. They will have to react quickly and so they will either release the dolphins, or will engage you somehow. Then definitely it will be an offence from them, because you are “peacefully enjoying the morning sea… when your boats were attacked by those fishermen”… and you could file claims in the police. Then the local police will need to be on your site, because you will appear to be an innocent victim and they will have to investigate. When you file the claim, you will disseminate the footage from it as evidence, so Japan media will engage. The wheel will start turning. What you need is to be calm, peaceful and in no way to provoke the fishermen so that they do not have any arguments for attacking your drifting boats. Also, let the natives check if any consents are needed for you to go in the close sea with small boats. Everything should be VERY legal. I personally believe that in the beginning the fishermen will be so surprised that they will let the dolphins escape. Then this will be your FIRST victory, because you, also like Paul, could claim couple of saved lives. Once again, that result filmed and disseminated will have a bigger impact on the people opinion rather that showing them murders day after day.
    Once again, the most important things are:
    *engaged natives in the “on-field” operations because they will be treated and respected by the local citizens better than the foreigners like you are now
    *doing the on-site protests peacefully and legally
    *engaging the local (not only the world, mostly the Japanese) media in your campaign
    *attracting a political support from a local party / group / movement, opposing to the mayor (Do not they have a Green party there???)
    *spending some money wisely on diving and boat equipment (that should be easy – Paul is spending millions, you should have access to some money anyway – you represent his organization)
    *and finally, you personally should concentrate more on the management work there, and stop wasting your time in making films from remote distance – let that easy job to be done by some rookies.

    You can, and you should be engaged in more important tasks.

    I strongly believe that if you really follow your patron’s way, you will possibly start saving dolphins lives really.

    I wish you good luck and I am looking forward to receiving your opinion on my recommendations that will be decisive for my future engagement in your cause.

    Best regards,

    Ivan
    Bulgaria, EU

    P.S. I just remember the slogan of a student organization I worked for long time ago: “Think globally, act locally”. It is to tell you that you should focus your work on the local community using your global support, and not what you are doing now – thinking locally and acting globally…

  10. Dear Nicole: I wish I was there. Though I cannot be I’m in front of the screen spreading the plight of the dolphins. I send you many blessings and a spiritual hug to help you and the other Guardians. Please take care of yourself and meditate and cleanse your soul and mind of these horrible visions and sounds. I send you much love. Keep safe and strong.
    For the Dolphins, For the Whales, For the World and for the Children of Japan, her future. May they rise up against these actions. I too wait with patience for the day that these slaughters stop.

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