The Return Home…

Well, I have finally been able to take the time to update you all on my experiences over the past few days… Leaving Taiji and returning home.

It has been more than difficult to get back to ‘reality’. In saying that, I don’t think I have ever felt as real, I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I was seeing the ‘real’ world and what is ‘really’ happening than when I am in Taiji. It certainly is an eye-opener, a way to make you wake up and realise that there is more happening to our world and our oceans than you think.

Last season, I stayed in Taiji for three months- I would see Cove guardians and other activists come and go, and would always hear of their hardships in trying to ‘get used’ to normal life, trying to think about anything else other than life here in Taiji and the beautiful animals we all travel so far to protect with all we have…

Last time, I was lucky enough to leave after the dolphin hunting season had ceased in early March this year- two days later, in fact. I know that this helped a great deal in enabling myself to become a little more settled in everyday life, I was able to leave knowing that there would not be bloodshed for at least a little while in the Cove.

This time however, I left Taiji in possibly the worst circumstances imaginable…

For the second time in two days, we stood at the promontory and saw the dolphin hunting boats returning to harbour, and for a second time, they made a quick turn around and raced out toward a located pod of dolphins… To know that those dolphins were literally about 15 minutes short of freedom is absolutely heartbreaking. To see the big black puffs of smoke from the ‘banger’ boats driving straight toward the most innocent creatures ever to grace the oceans is truly harrowing.

It was a large pod of Striped dolphins, located at around 9:30am… I had to leave Taiji at 12 noon, and be on my train by 1pm.

It looked as though I would be leaving on a very dark morning…

And sure enough, it turned out to be a horrific slaughter- not that every slaughter day is absolutely nightmarish, but there are certain days where you see suffering on an incomprehensible scale, you see desperation and frantic terror that leaves you shocked to your very core. This was one of those days..

Something that I will never be able to convey in videos, photos and even through describing a slaughter- is the sound… Of course, these days the dolphin hunters in Taiji now hide and conceal their ‘proud tradition’ wherever possible, so it is virtually impossible to glimpse the actual slaughter, however, for me attest, the sounds that bellow out from underneath those tarpaulins is torturous enough in itself… Standing up on the overlooking cliff, only minutes before I would have to leave Taiji, I witnessed, yet again, distress, suffering and pain that should not be taking place in this world…

The walk down from that cliff is always the worst part of a slaughter day for me… You’re coming to the realisation that the animals you saw merely an hour or two ago would never be coming out of that cove alive, your whole body is shaking- sometimes from anger, stress or even in pain if you spent your time filming on your toes trying to get over the vegetation- to top everything off on that walk down to the car, I realised I had to leave, and that what I had just witnessed was going to continue possibly the very next day whether I was there or not… I fought back tears the whole way ‘home’ to our hotel.

And what better way to add to one of the worst mornings imaginable than to have two dozen police storm up the stairs into your rooms and have them raid and go through all of your belongings…

The lengths that the Japanese Government has gone to to thwart the efforts of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and other organisations here is incredible- first, they had their media vendetta against us last season and they have spent millions of dollars to keep dozens of police officers here in Taiji during this years’ campaign. They know, however, that none of this has worked… So, they have stepped it up again, by not only arresting and holding a seemingly innocent man with no witnesses or evidence of the alleged crime, but by also sending in all of their police crew and more for a raid of our personal belongings…

They are getting desperate, and they know it. They know that we are having a huge impact and they know that this dolphin slaughter will soon come to an end if Sea Shepherd and other activists maintain their presence on the ground here…

I had to leave during the raid- they began by going through my already-packed bag which was ready and waiting for me to take it and leave for the train… They looked through everything imaginable, my camera and computer etc. But, of course, found nothing. I did take the time to quickly show them a video from the day’s slaughter- the policeman rummaging through my belongings sat transfixed for a moment, watching a small, innocent and helpless Striped dolphin frantically fighting for its’ life while wrapped up in one of the fisherman’s’ net, then showing a diver coming up and attempting to drown it…

I hope that he understood that we are only here trying to stop something that is nothing short of criminal in itself… maybe not in the legal sense, but in the sense of the ecological destruction it ensues.

One day, the world will realise, and maybe, just maybe, it may have enough time to reverse the mistakes of the past…

Since returning to Australia, I spent the next day at Byron Bay, where I witnessed a pod of Bottlenose dolphins happily playing in the waves amongst surfers, just as it should be… Just to sit and watch these animals living a free life alongside humankind- hearing kids all around me excitedly exclaim things like “Look mum! Can you see those dolphins!?” show me that we’re not too late to save much of the ocean ecosystems…

 

My next focus will be on what is happening to the wildlife in my OWN backyard- Australia… I want to really get involved in creating awareness and educating people in my home country about the destruction that is happening right under our noses- of course, my other big focus will be on getting my In Our Hands project coming together in preparation for next June! Hopefully in that time I may be able to schedule a return trip to Taiji also…

Make sure you keep updated here and on my Facebook! 🙂

Sending all of you a huge Merry Christmas! I can’t tell you how much your support over the past year has meant to me, and I will continue to help protect our oceans for as long as they need protection. So it seems as though I will be busy for a few years to come still… I am absolutely thrilled to say that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society flagship the Steve Irwin has successfully located the Japanese Whaling Fleet- before they not only had a chance to kill a single whale, but before they had even reached the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary! What an amazing Christmas Present for the oceans! 🙂 Read about the pursuit HERE.

The dolphin slaughter still continues in Taiji and greater Japan, continue your support for the Cove Guardians there- call and email embassies, take notice of any Call To Action and donate, if you can! 🙂 Every little bit helps, and as I’ve seen on this recent return trip, the pressure is working!

To read an article on my recent return to Australia that was in my local paper, click HERE.

For those of you who want to help us make a difference and have a hand at stopping the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, click here! Also- to help me in my mission to give a voice to the youth of the world, read all about my ‘In Our Hands’ project and PLEASE get involved!

Now, more than ever, we need people to stand amongst us here in Taiji as Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians- for an application, email Scott West at: coveguardian@seashepherd.org

You can follow my Facebook for more updates from Taiji and my journey… Also email me at pathtoprotect@hotmail.com with any comments or questions!
Thanks again for all the support guys!

On the path to protect,
Nicole.

 

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4 comments

  1. Thank you for being there. I think it’s time for Occupy Taiji to join the Occupy protests around the world. We need more people there who can protest and block the slaughters. Occupy Wall St has raised tons of money for their causes and if the same was done for Taiji, possibly more people could join the physical occupation in Taiji. These dolphins belong to the world and the world needs to end this. I think it’s time for activists in boats to block the cove so no dolphins can be driven into it. It’s time for drastic measures to save these precious souls.

  2. Dear girl you are so very brave. What you have done and what you will continue to do will have and impact on the world in a great way. If i were your mother I would e very proud. I wish you peace in the coming days. You need to renew your spirit after the horrors of the cove. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  3. dear Nicole, thank you for being our defer referring all these monstrous dead .the ‘ Ocean need of us all… to us to show the world it. Merry Christmas to you and happy holidays for new year.

  4. Nicole, you are a blessed soul for the work you do. We are so sorry for the painful departure from Taiji and we wish you a very Merry Christmas. The Werdegar Family.

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