The End… for now

If there have been any two days in my life where I have felt such profound highs and lows… it has been the last two days here in Taiji. Words can’t even begin to describe the rollercoaster of emotion we have felt here in Taiji… and having been here for very close to three months, these emotions were amplified tenfold. The anger, frustration, sadness, incredulity and unease of yesterday dissipated almost instantly into utter euphoria this morning… Please read on as I walk you through the emotions and events of the last few days…


Yesterday:

As we woke up to a picture perfect day in Taiji, a sense of dread overcame us all… yesterday was the warmest day I’ve experienced since arriving here in Japan. The warm sun in the clear blue skies beat down on us, as well as the flat, glittering oceans… the worst conditions for passing dolphins.

We discovered that the boats were out, and Libby, Georgia, Annie and I made our way up to the Mountain Pass, as the boys took another car and ventured up to the promontory… Soon after arriving, Pierre came onto the radio and informed us that the boats were out in formation, followed by a call that he had sighted a pod being driven by the 10 banger boats.

No sooner had he declared this, that we sighted the boats and the pod… a large pod of 30 or so Striped dolphins. We left for the cove soon after, just as the boats were making their way closer to the killing cove… Annie and myself climbed Tsunami Hill and hid in the scrub, which overlooks the area right into the killing cove. After the skiffs had started draping nets securing the dolphins inside the killing cove, two men came up behind us and started shouting… one was a fisherman. We were obscured from view as we ventured down into the shrubbery on the side of the cliff to get a better view, however the men spotted us and told us to come out. Even though we were not trespassing whatsoever, we decided to come out and into view so that the men would not become any more heated… as we were kneeling on the side of a cliff! We emerged, but did not make our way down the hill right away. I stayed and filmed by raising my camera over the trees… As we were not doing anything wrong, the men just stood and watched…

We made our way down to the cove shortly after, as they were removing the bodies of the family of dolphins from within the killing cove… I found a spot along the seawall and sat down, looking out at the cove in front of me… As the fishermen finished their day in the cove by pulling their mountain of nets back into the skiffs and returning to the butcher house, I sat and took it all in. I looked out at the cove, so overwhelmed with the morning’s events and the magnitude of what I have been witnessing for the past three months hit me as I watched the waves crashing below my feet… Silent tears fell from my eyes as I looked out at the scene before me, angry with the men that had just stolen a family of beautiful animals from the ocean, and sad at the fact that I would be saying goodbye to a place that has had such a huge impact on my life… putting everything I have into this campaign so far, I can’t help but feel such a strong emotional attachment to the area. At the same time, it felt as though it was the last slaughter I would witness this season… I don’t know exactly why, but when Libby came and sat next to me, I asked, “Does it feel like the last one to you too?”… and she agreed with a sad look.

Later that night, Libby, Georgia and I decided to venture down to the Cove… To take advantage of the warmer weather and sit by the waves and look at the stars. When we arrived however, we were greeted with a sight that made our stomachs turn.

As we walked through the darkness over to the cove, we looked out to the ocean and the killing cove, and saw an ominous gloom coming out of the killing cove… it was a dim light which illuminated the mouth… creating an eerie glow. We sat at the cove, unable to suppress our feelings of unease and apprehension. It is a sight that will never leave me… we believe they mounted a light within the killing cove to possibly catch any night-time intruders.

Today:

Today is the happiest I have been in the past three months here in Japan! It appears that the dolphin fishermen have ‘called it a day’ and ended the dolphin hunting season early! We were quite sceptical at first, however have quite a lot of evidence which strongly suggests that the season is over…

We awoke to another near-perfect morning weatherwise… expecting the banger boats to be out hunting as we reached the harbour, we discovered to our surprise, a full harbour!

Arriving to the Fisheries Union, we discovered that one of the whaling boats had returned to Taiji port, after being away for about two weeks… apparently; it has not yet been hunting offshore. We quickly noticed the bay doors along the Taiji butcher house open, and almost all of the dolphin hunters were meticulously cleaning and scrubbing the floors and all equipment inside… At first we were quite confused, but when Tyler and Annie (both Japanese speaking cove guardians) approached a number of locals asking about what is going on, they replied ‘the dolphin hunting season has ended’.

We continued to question whether this was true or not, but were constantly shown signs that confirmed the locals’ answers. The fishermen scrubbed the floors cleaned with pressurised hoses, they took down all tarpaulins which were used to cover the dolphin transfer into the butcher houses, they packed away the ‘oil booms’ used to contain and hide the blood that would pour out of the slaughterhouse, skiffs arrived with the tarpaulins from the cove which were folded and packed away and as we left the harbour to double-check that all of the tarpaulins had been taken down, we saw the fishermen removing the banging poles from the banger boats…

When we arrived at the cove, we climbed Tsunami Hill to look down over the killing cove- which confirmed that it is now empty of all tarps. I have never seen the killing cove without its’ ugly attire of green, blue and silver tarpaulins before today…

In considering all of this, we are able to safely say that the season appears to be well and truly over…

Libby and my journey to Taiji (this time) is rapidly coming to an end, with only three days remaining here. We will continue to venture to Taiji harbour every morning until our departure, and there will still be a Sea Shepherd presence here after we have left.

It looks like the offshore whaling season will soon begin here in Taiji… a local that we spoke to was not 100% sure exactly when it will begin- but believes within the next month or two. Species of whale such as Minke, as well as smaller cetaceans such as Risso’s dolphins and Pilot whales are the primary targets for this season… The killing of cetaceans has not come to an end here in Taiji, and while we celebrate the end of the dolphin hunting season- we must keep in mind the continuation of whale and dolphin slaughters here, as well as in other parts of Japan, and the world.

Dolphin hunting continues in a few other locations here in Japan- and sees thousands of cetacean deaths per year. The quota in Taiji makes up only roughly 10% of the nation-wide quota… This years’ dolphin hunting quota was not reached, and by our estimates, the fishermen of Taiji have killed a little less than half of their quota of approximately 2,000. Exact counts and numbers will be given on the next Sea Shepherd Taiji update HERE. Although I am happy that there was not a larger number of cetaceans killed in Taiji this season, unfortunately, this low catch is not something to celebrate, as the comparatively small number caught this year is most likely indicative of a decreased population size in the waters off Taiji…

We ended our morning here by sitting on the top of Tsunami Hill… Eight of us Cove Guardians sat in silence and looked over the bare killing cove… ecstatic with the early end of the season, reminiscent of our traumatic and difficult journey here and hopeful for the future of Taiji. We were all lost in our own thoughts- thoughts of the sights we had been exposed to, and thoughts of the future… Sitting up there in the shrubbery on top of that cliff, listening to the peaceful crashing of the waves upon the jagged rocks below as the warm sun beat down upon my face, I envisioned a time when the slaughter would never continue again- when the oceans around Japan would finally become a safe place for dolphins to swim…

The battle for our marine wildlife does not stop here- the whaling ships will continue to set sail across the world, the shark finning boats will persist in their actions, pollution continues to wreak havoc for wildlife everywhere, the sealers will carry on clubbing baby seals worldwide, trawlers will go on wiping every last living thing from the ocean, marine animals will continue to be taken from the wild to entertain humans… the list goes on.

This will all continue in our oceans… until we stop it.

Please keep following my journey here as my time in Taiji comes to an end next Tuesday, but the battle will continue. I would really love to thank every single person who has sent us kind messages of support over the last three months- sometimes; it has been the one thing that has pulled me through some of the darkest hours I’ve endured.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you want to stand up and help us end the slaughter for good: 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 in the future, please email Libby at:
coveguardian@seashepherd.org

Don’t forget to keep emailing any 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!

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

Advertisements

16 comments

  1. I hope you will keep us informed of how you are doing Nicole. I know you have a lot of things planned :). Are you still going to continue your blog? I hope so. You guys have done an amazing thing. We know there is so much more to do and sometimes its overwhelming to think about but at least there are those of us out there that are up to the challenge. Strength in numbers!

  2. Hi Nicole
    Wauw, it’s great to hear that it is over! Hopefully for ever!
    Thanks for the great work you have done there in Taiji!
    Hopefully you have some time now to relax before you go home.
    Have a safe journey back to Australia!
    Regards

  3. Hi Nicole. Thanks to you and the others in the region who have done a great job, hope that with the release of The Cove in Japan, and your work to
    show what happens in Taiji that will be viewed more seriously against these brutal killings of dolphins. And that this year will be the last.

    Also hope you can come to the UK in 2011 two Attends the International Whaling Commission meeting, I have voted and shared, and I cross my fingers for you vil win.
    I know there is much to do yet and that way there will be long.

    Good luck in the future.

  4. Nicole, so thrilled to see your facebook update last night and this blog post this morning. You all have been through so much. Thank you, again, to you…to Libby…to the rest of the Cove Guardians for bearing witness to the slaughter and captivity…for helping Misty…for following the Taiji Three…and for every other thing you have done on behalf of the dolphins. Take good care of yourself and be in touch!

  5. Hola Nicole c est avec beaucoup d emotion que je viens de lire ton message et en te lisant je pouvais ressentir les memes emotions meme si je sais qu elles sont divisées par 1000 pour nous qui sommes derrriere nos écrans, et ce que vous faites est vraiment MAGNIFIQUE et moi je me sens tellement impuissante à etre là, assise à lire tes comptes rendus journaliers…. ALORS UN GRAND MERCI A TOI ET TOUS CEUX QUI SONT SUR PLACE ET SOUFFRENT DE VOIR TANT DE CRUAUTE , ET QUI AVEZ LE COURAGE D ENDURE TOUTES CES HORREURS …………..
    JUSTE UN ESPOIR, C EST QU UN JOUR LE MONDE OUVRE ENFIN LES YEUX……………

  6. Your words are magic to my ears, my heart is overflowing and I am “Misty-eyed”
    Thank you for sharing your stories, your emotions and your soul to the world. You have inspired thousands of people daily, to take action and speak out against the brutality in Taiji. The world is a better place because of you and all of the Cove Guardians. THANK YOU !!
    May you never have to witness death in Taiji again.

  7. Hello Nicole. Thank you for having made us more conscious. You Cove Guardians have done a great job in that evil place. It is a hard fight but one day we will win. I wish your own projects to be successful. Bon courage et bonne chance !

  8. Thank you for keeping us updated and for all the amzing work you, Libby and other cove volunteers have been doing. A great start to a new campaign. Look after yourself.

  9. Dear dear Nicole..I have followed you since the beginning and have supported you in every way possible thru emails freeing Misty from her disgusting habitat to transfer of dolphins and just the ugly truth about the slaughter of our beautiful dolphins…I will surely miss all the information you have collected and passed on to those of us who have no chance to be there physically and I just wanted you to know how very special you are and pray your continued journey will not always be so intrusive emotionally. May you continue to grow in the love of all life…I love you and a million thank yous for making a difference!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s