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September 17, 2010

Report from Taiji: September 16

The Cove September 16Today we had the best weather.  It was raining this morning, there was some wind, and most importantly, there were choppy seas in the ocean around Taiji.  This means that the dolphin hunters did not take their boats out of the harbor.  We could not have been more thrilled, and hope for a long stretch of perfect weather.  Unfortunately though, the weather turned “bad” late in the day when the seas calmed and the sun came out.  Tomorrow will likely be another opportunity for the dolphin hunters to prowl.

We went into the town of Taiji to see the pens where the captured dolphins are being held.  There is no way for us to get near them, but from across the water we see an occasional fin break the water telling us that there are dolphins held prisoner there.  It is impossible to count how many though.

Word is spreading within Japan about the movie, The Cove, and about our presence here. This afternoon, three different Japanese men came to the cove.  Perhaps more have come while we have been out and about away from the place.  I spoke with each man.  One had traveled all the way from Tokyo, another had been a crewman on a whaling ship in Antarctica, and the third is a photojournalist from Osaka.  None had ever been to Taiji before.  I hope more Japanese come to see this place and to talk with us.

We ended our day with a meal in good company.  The photojournalist with whom we had spoken earlier contacted us and asked to meet with us.  He was able to help us find a delightful traditional Japanese eatery and ordered a full table of vegetarian food.  Because of language barriers, we have had great difficulty finding sustenance in this area known for its seafood, which we do not eat.  We also found that we were able to answer his questions and provide him with insight into the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  He admitted that he discovered that we were not the viscous anti-Japanese radicals he had been led to believe we would be.

We had to say good-bye to Matt Smith this day.  He left Katsuura by train this morning and traveled to the airport at Osaka.  It turns out that when he presented his passport at the airport to check his bags, two uniformed armed men quickly responded.  They escorted him through the airport and remained with him the entire time (some three hours) while he waited for his flight.  They asked him if he were leaving Japan, if he were traveling alone, and if he intended to return.  They stayed with him until he boarded and remained at the gate to ensure that he did not leave the plane.  Matt called me from inside the plane to let me know that he was safely headed home.  We are expecting the arrival of additional observers this weekend.  We are looking forward to their company and hope more observers from all over the world will respond.

If you would like to join us (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk) in Taiji, write to me at inform-us@seashepherd.org.  I will get back to you, but please be patient.  I cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer email at the same time.

For the Oceans,

Scott West
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Follow my daughter’s blog of these events at eloramalama.wordpress.com

 

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