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Friday, November 6, 2009

October 25/09 The Cove at Dawn

Bought a coffee can from a vending machine and put it in my purse.....it was almost 5AM and still very dark. Jumped into a cab.....asked the driver to take me to the "Whale Museum"(close to Cove) inTaiji. The driver seemed "puzzled" as he kept trying to explain to me that the Whale Museum was still "Closed"...given it was somewhat still the middle of the night!. Asked him to take me anyway. After dropping me off, he sped away....can not imagine what he was thinking.

Cab driver taking me to the "Whale Museum"....before first light of day...

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After the taxi driver dropped me off.... looked up at the sky for a helicopter....no such miracle....only a big black cloud looming ominously over the Cove. Knew then that I would have to face the fishermen alone.

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Walked up the stairs towards the Look Out Point....then heard a vehicle pulling into the parking lot just below the stairs, so I started to back track my way down as I did not want to be filming at the edge of the cliff with the fishermen coming up behind me. While walking down the stairs, a fisherman was approaching me up the stairs fast and furiously....so quickly sat down on the steps - not sure why; perhaps because it seemed like a non-threatening gesture. From my interest in Primatology, learned that when confronted by an ape in the wild....it's important to make yourself look smaller and submissive. So there I was sitting on the steps as an angry fisherman approached....started to look through my purse for my phone! But instead, just before the fisherman reached me...I pulled out a coffee can....."Coffee?". He looked confused for a moment then swung his arm for me to "GO!"...Yikes!

Walked over to the cove....it was still dark....and it was agonizing to see the family of Pilot Whales swimming in circles scared...began to go past the barrier again...feeling their cry for help as if they sensed a friend on shore. Unfortunately, our moment disappeared as vehicle headlights began to appear....and soon I was being surrounded by fishermen one by one.

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The Fishermen blocked me from viewing the killing (fortunately, as it was very traumatizing just watching the boats moving in for the kill). One of the fishermen stood very close to me...following my every step as I tried my best to film...wondered if he was my friend's father. Towards the end...bore witness to the gut wrenching struggle of the last Pilot Whale trapped...He was like a "Samurai Warrior"! Nine men in three boats, yelling and screaming at each other took him on.... He swam frantically...but there was no escape...held his breath as long as he could.... heard his gasp for air from afar. This went on for about 10 minutes, then I heard a loud thud from behind the Cove...his valiant struggle to live was over.


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When it was all over...the fishermen collected the netting from the cove. One fishermen kept looking my way. When the boat moved in closer to drop some fishermen off at shore....that is when I noticed that the one fishermen who had been looking my way looked like my friend. Felt sick! That could have been one of the reasons that he did not want me to go..... he was also a part of the slaughter.

Spent the rest of the day in bed with no appetite.

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