A Late Drive…

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The events that occurred this morning goes to show just how much you cannot prepare for or predict here in Taiji… It seems as though the dolphin hunters here do something different every day- which certainly succeeds in confusing us, to the point where you come to expect anything from them.

As we got into the car in the early hours of this morning, we were all dreading what would most likely be in store for us as we reached Taiji harbour… this morning was a ‘perfect day’ weather-wise for the dolphin hunters to go out looking for a migrating pod. The sun was shining, and as we passed the Cove before reaching the harbour, we noticed the seas were also fairly flat.

However, we rounded the corner, and to our surprise the hunters had stayed in… as we passed some of the fishermen at the Fisheries Union, we were perplexed as to why they had ‘wasted’ a good day of hunting. Usually- they head out on the horizon with every opportunity that comes their way.

We drove up to Mountain Pass, and spent a good half an hour there, making sure that there was no movement at the Fisheries Union… after some time, we drove down to the Cove- where we decided to have some down time, to take photographs and be out in the warm sun… It was almost 9am when we chose to head back to our hotel and leave Taiji for the day. However, as we were walking up the steps of the Cove, I noticed something darting across the horizon out of the corner of my eye- it was two boats speeding out of the harbour and out to sea, closely followed by two more!

Not 100% certain as to whether they had been banger boats, we decided to quickly jump in the car and check the harbour… sure enough, we were met with an empty port- and spotted a dozen or so fishermen preparing the gutting barge with nets down near the mouth of the harbour. We went back up to Mountain Pass, and waited for any sign of the banger boats…

After what seemed like forever, we saw eleven dolphin hunting boats slowly move around the point and toward Taiji… it wasn’t long before we spotted something that made all of our stomachs drop. Stretching out across almost all of the boats in formation, was the pod of Pacific White Sided dolphins that they were driving. I had never seen so many dolphins in my life before… easily over one hundred of the beautiful creatures were darting out from the water every few seconds, frantically trying to escape the deafening sounds of the wall of boats behind them…

As the pod drew closer to the harbour, the gutting barge was dragged out to meet the dolphins- with a huge amount of netting in the back. Amazingly, most of the pod escaped the brutal grips of the dolphin hunters, and we saw them speedily swimming back toward the open ocean. A much smaller sub-pod, of just four dolphins, was now the primary target of the Japanese fishermen… they worked almost as if it were orchestrated, and soon the dolphins were netted off just out from the harbour… At this point, they would never again see their family members who had sped off toward freedom, they would never enjoy the chase of a live fish again and they would never be able to speed along surfing the waves of the oceans as far as the eye could see… Their sentence- a life in captivity. Their ‘crime’- swimming past the coast of Taiji.

Within an hour or so, all four dolphins were transported to the ocean pens within Taiji harbour… this is where they will now spend their days- eating a comparatively small amount of dead fish twice per day… We saw amongst the four dolphins, a mother and a young juvenile. In our photos, we noticed that the mothers’ dorsal fin had a trail of blood dripping down, likely due to a cut sustained from a skiff during the drive- one of the fishermen kept running his hand along it to hastily wipe up the blood, but it continued to trickle down its’ remarkably marked body…

Soon, these dolphins will be transported from Taiji. If becoming separated from their families and stressfully forced into an alien environment wasn’t enough, they still have to endure a long journey to their new destination, somewhere in the world… Only a few weeks ago, I witnessed firsthand just how long and stressful this journey is- by following a truck transporting three of the same species of dolphins to an aquarium in Japan. We were with the truck for 24 hours… the dolphins’ total trip resulted in 30 hours in the back of a truck in a shallow crate. This is absolutely no way to treat a self-aware, intelligent and sentient being…

I am determined to motivate young people to raise their voice about protecting our oceans’ wildlife, and letting them know that they can make a difference… with their future at risk. I am hoping to attend this year’s International Whaling Commission meeting in the U.K in July in order to give a voice to the millions of young people who are against the slaughter of cetaceans worldwide. In order to accomplish this, however, I am in need of assistance in order to travel and stay there. Recently I became aware of a competition of sorts that a Queensland-based company is holding; with a prize of $5,000 to the winner… the competition is open to those who are seeking to make a difference- so I submitted my story of aiming to attend the IWC in 2011. My entry was accepted by the company, and now I need your help! Please, have a look at my profile by clicking HERE, and click on ‘Like’ to vote for me… Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this so far, it really does mean a lot!

If you want to stand up and 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! Or send me an email if you wish to get more involved…
To become a Cove Guardian, please email Libby at:
coveguardian@seashepherd.org

I have recently created a page on Twitter, to share my updates a little easier with you all. So please follow the page for more updates and photos during the day from here in Taiji…

Don’t forget to keep emailing your questions and comments to me at pathtoprotect@hotmail.com!

You can follow my videos here on this blogpage 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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2 comments

  1. Wow, talk about keeping you guys on your toes! I have voted for you and will spread the word.
    Thanks for your hard work.
    What ever happened to the school kids in the park and how is your petition going?

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