A Silent Ocean…

This morning, a large family of Risso’s dolphins happily played amongst the small waves of the seas as the sun rose casting a glistening light over the ocean that they called home… Little did they know that within hours, the majority of the family pod will never see another sunrise again…

Tonight, one lonely dolphin will call for its’ family with an eerie silence in return. This one dolphin will now have to learn how to survive on its’ own, without a family of support and communication. This dolphin will now venture out into the open ocean, completely empty of any being it knows and trusts- it now has to fend for itself, against all odds. This dolphins’ family was brutally slaughtered in the killing cove of Taiji at approximately 11:30am this morning…

It was a longer wait than usual this morning, as us Cove Guardians positioned ourselves on the Mountain Pass, monitoring all activity in Taiji Harbour- all the way out to the horizon… Typically, if the dolphin fishermen had not secured dolphins in their sights by about 9 or 10am, they will head back into harbour… and call it a day. This morning, however, it was not until well after this time that we saw the boats appear around the point, having sighted a pod of Risso’s dolphins… They also seemed to have been having trouble driving them into the harbour…

Over about twenty minutes, the pod were being driven by ten or so banger boats, as well as a number of skiffs, straight into the killing cove.

It was by this time that we headed straight toward the Cove, and positioned ourselves in order to see what was going on… Rupert and Nao went up to Glenda’s Hill, to get a better view of the dolphins in the killing cove, and this was when we received word from Rupert that there were a number (approximately five) dolphins which were still being herded near Taiji Harbour… it seemed as though these dolphins had separated from the larger pod of 15 or so which were in the killing cove, and the fishermen had just found them once again…

The dolphin hunters netted off the 15 dolphins in the killing cove, and went to retrieve the remaining handful of dolphins which had become separated… Libby, Rupert and I drove straight to Taiji Harbour to get a better view of what was going on there, whilst Nao, Sheri and Bob remained at the Cove documenting the slaughter.

In the few minutes it took to get to the harbour, it seemed that once we arrived, the banger boats had given up their hunt for the separated dolphins… At first, it looked as though they had all gotten away.

But then, just as we were about to head back to the Cove, Rupert spotted something on the surface deep within Taiji Harbour… a second glance confirmed that it was indeed a Risso’s dolphin!

Seeing this dolphin in the harbour today was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life… as soon as we spotted the dorsal fin, we immediately scanned all over the harbour to see where the fishermen along with their skiffs and banger boats were… they were nowhere to be seen. Regular fishermen passed by this dolphin several times in their vessels, without giving it a second look… The dolphin was swimming in very tight circles, within metres of the captive dolphin holding pens in the harbour… It seemed to be communicating with the dolphins in those pens, or at the very least intrigued at the sounds coming from them… Seeing this dolphin swimming in front of both the captive dolphins and the gutting barge somehow symbolised the Taiji Dolphin Slaughter in one go. The greed for money that the captive trade generates, the brutality of the slaughter, and the disregard for compassion of those involved…

The dolphin was visibly confused… along with the separation from its’ entire family pod, this dolphin would have been under great stress as it discovered the echoes of its’ sonar bouncing off of the harbour walls around it. Risso’s dolphins are cetaceans which spend their lives dwelling in deep waters… boundaries and barriers are very foreign concepts to them.

Then came something which made my heart sink and stomach turn…

One skiff and a banger boat could be seen heading toward the Harbour from the Cove… with the bodies of the Risso’s dolphins dragging alongside both. Both vessels rounded the corner, through the mouth of the harbour, and came within a few metres of the lone dolphin. The only thing running through my mind at that point in time, was how unimaginable it would be to see the bodies of your family- mothers, brothers, children… being dragged along the water right in front of you. The dolphin is truly alone now…

After over an hour of swimming in the same circle near the captive dolphins, the lone dolphin was released back to the open ocean, just out from Taiji… After the dolphin fishermen had finished gutting and slicing up the dolphins’ family… they netted off the dolphin, and released it out to sea. Whether our vigil on this one dolphin in the harbour was the cause for the release, we did not know… However we made sure we were there in that harbour- in plain view of the fishermen. We did not think that they would slaughter the dolphin there in the harbour in front of our watchful cameras, and they would not use up fuel to drive just one dolphin into the cove hundreds of metres away… So the dolphin was loaded onto the side of one skiff, and taken away from the place its’ family were killed.

Whether this dolphin, who (by the looks of its’ markings) appears only a few years older than a juvenile age, finds those few other dolphins of its’ pod which we believe escaped earlier in the morning, or unless it joins onto another pod of dolphins… it could be facing a tough battle of survival. Many species of dolphin do not venture out alone- however it has been documented in the past that lone Risso’s have been sighted. What will determine this dolphins’ fate is how well it can implement the survival techniques it learnt from its’ mother during the first few years of its life. But there is no doubt that this dolphin’s life has changed forever.

It will face a lifetime of trauma… in a silent ocean.

If you want to help us end the slaughter: Please help us put pressure upon the Japanese government and embassys worldwide- let them know that you oppose the slaughter by calling and emailing. Also, please become involved in my ‘Youth Project’ and tell your friends!

Don’t forget to keep sending in your questions to pathtoprotect@hotmail.com for me to answer in my video blogs!

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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10 comments

  1. I understand you guys work on the land, but what would keep, you or me from buying a boat, or bringing a boat there and just power back in forth in front of that inlet and never allow this to happen, I don’t know the laws and rules, I’m sure I missing that but, it seems that would make a difference.

    Capt. Mikey
    Florida

  2. I have the $$$ to go there now but SO scared to witness it, not sure what to do..
    I would go BALLISTIC the 1st time I saw them hurting a Dolphin!! 😦
    Confused..

  3. I’m with Mike. What would stop someone from renting a boat and just patrolling the harbour – not directly interfering (as to avoid not to break any laws) but to be on the waters and documenting, watching. It is a “public” waters – hmmm. Wouldn’t this tactic surprise the fishermen. There would be no place to hide then….just an interesting thought.

  4. Thank you for being there, thank you for making a difference, thank you for the sacrifices you are making to be there. This matters, this is something that counts, and you are doing the world a service, though a lot of people might not care, there are plenty that do, and I for one owe you gratitude for your work. It is appreciated, I want you to know that.

  5. Reading this story in particular, leaves me with a lump in my throat every time. I hope that not only will this one dolphin find a new family, try to burry the pain and trauma from its experiences but also be the one who goes about herding all the other dolphins away from Taiji and the waters of Japan. We can only hope with their intellect and communications they will tell the story of horror that awaits if any of their kind near this location.

    Thank you Nicole and everyone there who is standing watch and sharing with the world what happens in this tiny town. Thank you just does not seem enough.

  6. Thanks Nicole, I try to visit soon the cove. Thanks for all what are you doing. My heart is heavy and many tears are falling . Send you a FB-request. Ocean hugs, blessings and protections

    ´¯`•.¸¸> ¸.•´¯`•.¸¸>. . . . . . . . . . . . . LET’S SAVE THE OCEANS
    (¯`v´¯)
    `*.¸.*´. . To Save The Planet WE Must First Save The Oceans.
    ¸.•´¸.•~♥♥♥~•.¸If We Protect The Oceans We Protect Ourselves.
    …… . . . . * . . . . * . . . . * . . . . * . . . . * . . . . * . . . . * . . . .
    (¯`v´¯). . . .Without The Oceans There Is No Life.
    `*.¸.*´ . . . . . . . The Oceans Are The Lungs Of The Earth!
    ¸.•´¸.•~♥♥♥~•.¸ . . . . . Lets save our oceans!!!
    . . . . * . . . . * . . . . * . . . . * . . . . * . . . . * . . . . * . . . .
    (¯`v´¯)
    `*.¸.*´…………….AWARENESS
    ¸.•´¸.•~♥♥♥¸.•¨¯`•ღஜღ •` ~ BLESSINGS ~ ☮ ٩ (̾●̮̮̃̾•̃̾)۶ ❤

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