|Sun comes up over Taiji|
When I woke up, I had an awful feeling. I just knew... it would be a bad day. I tried to stay positive, but when the feeling is so strong...what can you do?
Our morning went on as it normally did, Tons of coffee, watch the hunters leave in their boats, go to the look out spots and keep an eye out for boats... but this was as much as we had experienced thus far. We had only been there a few days, and the boats either did not go out, or they came back in port with no dolphins. This day was different. There was activity going on that we had not seen before. Things were different, things looked bad. Today would be the day... Our lives forever changed... Our hearts would break in this place and we would leave part of it here forever...
|Hunters standing around their morning fire|
There are no words to describe the emotions that ran through us. There is no way one can prepare for such a thing. I spoke with my team at our location. There were several meaningful conversations that happened that morning... but nothing could ready us for what was about to take place, we knew this. We both just knew we were there to do a job, and that was all we could think about. A dear friend and passed Cove Guardian had told me to use my camera as a shield...let no emotions get past the lens... and that's what I did, or tried to do.
|Boats and Dolphins reach The Cove|
|Striped dolphins trapped in The Cove|
|Dolphins in sheer panic|
As the dolphins were pushed further in to the killing cove, we could no longer see what was going on. Our view was blocked by the rocks. My heart ached for the rest of my friends, who were seeing the killings from a different angle. I knew, from pictures and video, what they were seeing first hand. I hated not being with them. Anger rushed over me as the hunters screaming and laughing as they murdered these dolphins. How could one do such a thing? How could one take the life of a being that was just as intelligent, if not more intelligent, then themselves? How can they not see how wrong this is? How could they sleep at night or look at themselves in the mirror?
|Live Dolphin on Skiff|
|Skiff full of dead dolphins|
All went quite. The police boat made its exit and the cove was empty again. I looked around and felt nothing. I was numb. I could not have shed a tear if I wanted to. I went by the waters edge and just stood there for awhile. How could this have happened? I looked down and saw something shining up at me. I leaned down to see what it was... a piece of amber sea glass. It was perfect, though little. I would have thought if anything would have made me cry, it would have been this piece of sea glass... but I felt nothing. (There is a story behind the sea glass, a dear friend collects it, and I promised her I would get her a piece, if I found some. That's the very short version) I put the small piece of glass in my pocket and just looked out at the water. A place that was so beautiful, turned red and cold in less then 30 minutes. Stained... forever stained in the blood of the innocent life they take here. We stayed a bit longer, trying to process it all, and then we departed to meet up with the rest of the Cove Guardian team.
We were in Taiji 10 days, and this would be the only slaughter we would see. On this day 34 Striped dolphins were driven into the cove. 31 were murdered and 3 were dumped back into the sea. I will never forget this day, as long as I live. It does not matter if I go back and witness 50 more slaughters. This day will forever be burnt into my soul. Branded forever in the sadness that happens in Taiji Japan. This slaughter must end. We will continue to fight for these dolphins, and will never give up. We will return to Japan next year and every year after that, until the slaughter ends!
Video of the Striped dolphin slaughter...