Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Running through Taiji..racing the clock of death
Yesterday morning, awoke to news that striped dolphins were being driven in to the cove. Was given a ride to Taiji by a friend. Ran up the steps of the cliff which overlooked the pod that were trapped. I could see small fins swimming tightly with their mothers....and could hear them taking panicky breaths. I knew from the last family of dolphns killed...that i would have to act quickly to TRY to save them.
The other night, had a note translated for me from English to Japanese...which read "Please spare the lives of the mothers and babies". Wanted to give this to the fishermen's union in hopes that they would consider my plea. So started to run along the sidewalk...towards the union. A car passed by....passed again...then again. This time i waved. They pulled over....and I approached the car recognizing one of the men as a coast guard who had asked for my passport earlier. He got out of the car...opened the back door...insisting for me to get in. Knew i had done nothing to be arrested for...and do not believe that coast guards arrest anyways. So was not sure why he wanted me in the car. More than likely, he was trying to insist upon me not walking, alone. The second time i said "no"...he said "Please!"..waving me to get in while i was nodding NO...and said "sorry, i do not get in cars with strangers". A Japanese family stopped, looking my way with concern and then they left.
Continued jogging over to the fishermen's union. Running along the sidewalk with my note, passing many local people...almost everyone smiled saying"hello". Almost like running a marathon with people encouraging me to continue. By the time i drew nearer, i was tiring and having trouble getting enough air (it has been awhile since i ran like that). Just before the harbor near the fishermen's union, i had to stop and catch some air, could not breathe...with that, had visions of myself as a dolphin being speared and then dying of suffocation...( later found out that's about when the dolphins were being killed...the fishermen paralyze and then suffocate them by blocking their blow hole).
I found myself running up to someone around the corner of the fishermen's union....and showed him my note. He told me he was only a fishermen...and pointed me in the right direction on where i could drop it off. I went to the other end of a building which ended up being the dolphin slaughter house. Two men came out...and i respectfully approached them with my note. I was standing at the edge of the slaughter house...trying to show my note to two men smoking as they waited the arrival of the dolphin carcasses. Their eyes were glazed over not wanting to look at my note. I found no hope...or consideration in my plea to spare the lives of the mother's and the babies so i left.
On my way back, decided to that i would drop off the note to the Taiji Mayor office. Entered and took a seat beside a lady to await my turn...wanted to be ultra respectful...as the office has been hassled in the past with no result. I was not there to video...to create drama...or confrontation. When someone was available i passed along my note. She and a gentleman took my note...and we all bowed to each other as i left quietly.
When i returned to the cove discoved the entire family of dolphins were killed:( And that two babies were ripped from the family and taken into captivity(but they were at least alive). I also heard that one dolphin jumped the net...and got away...but swam away oddly...it's fin staggering. Another upsetting report was that...one dolphin was so scared...it jumped onto rocks breaching and injuring itself....shaking, then dying on the rocks. Was told that when a fisherman pulled it into the water by the tail, the dolphin sank to the bottom....
Today was a difficult day.
The majority of the people who live here are loving and thoughtful. Taiji would be one of my most favourite places in the world if not for all this bloodshed:(