I never thought the time to say goodbye to this sleepy little town would actually come… as I have said numerous times, the time has flown by- however at the same time, it feels as though I have been here for years. It seems like a whole other world when you’re here in Taiji… you become absolutely encased in the daily life here, and you end up living, breathing and thinking of nothing but dolphin and marine conservation.
There have been some very significant aspects of my time here in Taiji, which has influenced me as a person, as well as my future in marine conservation greatly…
The Cove Guardians:
I want to mention the friendships formed between all the cove guardians, as it is extremely unlikely that I would have been able to withstand the immense emotional, physical and mental toll that living here takes, without them… It is the words of support, the ever listening ears of understanding, and the shoulders to cry on which help each other get through the darkest of days here in Taiji… Everyone seems to bond and connect quicker than I have ever encountered before.
We all shared the same horrible experiences most mornings, and we all understood how each other felt… what we all were going through. Talking with most cove guardians, they all strongly agree that it is virtually impossible to explain to others how it felt being here… what it was like. There are just no words for it- every day we woke up with the aching dread in the back of our minds… wondering whether we would be succumbed to witnessing slaughter of innocent creatures on a mass-scale that day or not. There is such a strong emotional bond that we all share- no matter where we were from, or what demographic we were placed into… we were here, together, in Taiji.
There were a few times after a slaughter where all of us Cove Guardians would just sit in silence on the beach of the Cove- all lost in our own thoughts… These are some of the times that impacted me the most, where I felt so close to every person that was there with me- just sharing that silence, knowing that others were going through the exact same thing, was incredible. On top of this; being together with a group of other people was a great distraction from the horrific scenes of the mornings in Taiji. At mealtimes we joked around, laughed and enjoyed getting to know one another… this was how we got through our days- this was our way of escaping and healing our minds before the next morning came.
One of the first things said to me that stuck in my mind the entire three months, was by Scott on my first slaughter-day… saying that ‘it won’t get any easier’… He was right. Every single time dolphins were driven into that Cove, it was as though it was the first time I had seen it all over again, and I found myself saying the exact same thing to Cove Guardians who would come and go over the course of my stay here…
Every person I have met in these three months has taught me so much- many I now consider to be life-long friends… I would like to thank each and every Cove Guardian that has come to Taiji whilst I was here- you guys made it so much easier to stay focused and stay grounded here… From the moments of grief we all shared, the solace we found in each other’s friendly hugs, the moments of happiness and laughter at mealtimes and the constant support and inspiration we all drew from each other, I will never forget.
Out of the past ninety days I have spent here… the 13th of January was definitely the hardest and most traumatic for me. On this day I witnessed pain, desperation and cruelty on a scale I never could have thought possible. I won’t relay the day’s events here once again, as many of you I’m sure have seen the blogs and videos, but if you would like to read about it, please have a look at the blog I submitted on Jan 13th, 2011. I will add a photo below that I took, which basically needs no description or introduction… I will never be able to understand the total disregard for suffering beings that some humans have, and that was displayed that day…
As my last night in Japan draws to a close, I am stunned at the amount I have learnt and how much I have grown through being here… I will now take these experiences and this knowledge, and implement them as best as I can in order to create as much awareness as possible about the issue here in Japan- as well as worldwide.
Being here has given me the motivation to want to get out there and do so much more for the marine environment- both at home and in other parts of the world… It will be very strange to say the least to wake up tomorrow morning and not to drive to Taiji Harbour, as I have done every single day for almost 90 days straight (apart from the morning I woke up to a blizzard whilst following a truck transporting live dolphins!)… instead, Libby and myself will make our way to the train station- headed for Osaka airport… Being back home will take some getting used to that’s for sure!
I will be returning home on Wednesday morning to Queensland, Australia… and I will continue to post on my blog very frequently. Please make sure you follow the blogs over the coming week to hopefully see some footage and an update about my first project on a local issue affecting marine wildlife… I’m going to get stuck into it as soon as I can upon my return- so stay tuned!
I will also just like to add that I will definitely be returning to Taiji for next season… I have started my lessons in Japanese already! However, all going well, I will be back in Japan a few months before the beginning of next season in September- to do some talks in schools and universities. Of course, I will update you all when I know more!
Once again, I would really love to thank you all for your immensely positive and frequently uplifting support… I have appreciated it so much! I really hope you all will continue with me on my journey…
If you want to stand up and help us end the slaughters of cetaceans in Japan 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…
Don’t forget to keep emailing any questions and comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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!
To find out more information on marine conservation, head to: http://www.seashepherd.org
Thankyou everyone for your continued support, and positive feedback! We all really appreciate it!
On the path to protect,