Cove Guardians - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd's Dolphin Defense Campaign in Taiji, Japan Donate Now

January 3, 2011

Report from Taiji: January 3

A family watches captive dolphins at the Whale MuseumA family watches captive dolphins at the
Whale Museum
The New Year has not yet brought a dolphin hunt, let alone a slaughter. We are now on day 14 of the hunt-free streak. The Cove Guardians are holding their breaths in fear of disrupting this time of calm for the dolphins. Yesterday, the dolphin hunters took four boats out of the harbor and performed a ceremony of giving thanks to the sea by pouring bottles of alcohol into the waters and bowing deeply. It was a pleasant experience to witness such a peaceful act of Japanese culture as opposed to the dolphin slaughter that is often claimed as “cultural.” In respect of this tradition, the Cove Guardians kept our cameras off and at our sides. Standing high on a cliff in Japan while watching these fishermen pray to the sea was a bit surreal and I don’t think I’ll forget it any time soon.

As we spent time outside Misty’s pool today with the Save Japan Dolphins group, we were bombarded by the horrendous stench of the dolphin meat wafting towards us from the kitchen of the Dolphin Base Resort. I don’t know if it was the trainers eating their mercury-laden breakfast before a long day’s work, or if it was hotel guests indulging on some dolphin meat before their big day of sightseeing and swimming with these majestic beings. Either way, the smell of cooking dolphin meat whilst watching dolphins erratically leaping in their tiny pens was a very disturbing experience to say the least.

The entrance to the Whale MuseumThe entrance to the Whale MuseumCaptain Paul Watson and activist Ric O’Barry’s organizations have joined forces again in Taiji in order to find a solution to Misty’s dilemma. The Cove Guardians have a welcomed new addition to the team. Simon joined us yesterday from Helsinki, Finland making the difficult decision to be away from his wife and unborn child for a week in order to serve with us. The passion and dedication of most Cove Guardians is something that never ceases to amaze me and I am proud to be working with such great people.

As Misty’s story continues to circulate the world, it is now more important than ever to continue calling and e-mailing Dolphin Base. Try to encourage your local media to publish a story about Misty. E-mail popular talk show hosts such as Oprah, Ellen, or anyone with some mass influence and ask them to please get involved. The worst that can happen is that you may not get a response. However, the best-case scenario would be that Misty would be saved.

To call Dolphin Base from the United States, dial 81-0735-59-3514 or e-mail:

Here is your opportunity to become a Cove Guardian.  To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write to us at  We will get back to you, but please be patient.  We cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer e-mails at the same time.  Contributions to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to keep our official presence here are needed and welcome.  These contributions cover the costs for transport, telephone, equipment, supplies, food, and lodging for the official Sea Shepherd representative.  We will remain here through the end of March and will return for the next season in September 2011.

Thank you to the citizens of Japan who are weighing these issues and beginning to take a stand to solve them.  Thank you to everyone who is on the frontlines of this war.  This is a war to save ourselves from ourselves.  Without your calling and writing Japanese embassies and your own governments, there will be no change.  Keep it up! Every time dolphins are pushed into the Cove, let them have it.  Every time there is blood in the water, let them have it.  Make good consumer choices.  Inform everyone you know about the tragedy here and how it is linked to the captive dolphin trade.  All who patronize a dolphin show have blood on their hands.

For the dolphins,

Libby Katsinis

Tim and Carrie Burns of Save Japan Dolphins pose with current Cove Guardians Simon, Andy, Nicole and LibbyTim and Carrie Burns of Save Japan Dolphins pose with current Cove Guardians Simon, Andy, Nicole and Libby

Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.