|Monday, September 12, 2011|
Operation Infinite Patience – the Cove Guardians have Arrived!
Report by Captain Paul Watson
Meet Rosie Kunneke - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s official Cove Guardians campaign leader of Operation Infinite Patience in Taiji, Japan. Rosie, a native of South Africa, arrived in Japan this past weekend to continue to document and expose the dolphin slaughter in this small Japanese town without pity for cetacean life. It is here that dolphins are caught and sold into enslavement into marine theme parks all over the world, while the Cove turns scarlet as the dolphins deemed unworthy for human amusement are cruelly slaughtered.
Prior to the arrival of Sea Shepherd’s crewmember in Taiji in 2003, the world was completely unaware of the horrific slaughter of dolphins, but now, that is no longer the case. And nearly eight years later, the campaign aimed at focusing the international spotlight on Taiji has been hugely successful. Now that the world is very much aware of the atrocities against the dolphins in this remote Japanese village, the next task is to actually stop it.
The Beginnings of Operation Infinite Patience
Report by Rosie Kunneke
I arrived in Japan late afternoon on Saturday , September 10, 2011. I was stopped at customs as the agents proceeded to unpack my bag. Looking at my clothes scattered on the table, I was glad I had the forethought to turn all of my Sea Shepherd branded clothing inside out (I was amused just thinking of the chaos this could have caused otherwise). In the background, I could see a senior customs official inspecting my Japanese and Australian visas. After a few seconds, he motioned to the man inspecting my clothes, who was by now trying really hard to get all my clothes back into my bag, over to him. The customs agent returned with a request written, in English, asking me to consent to a full body search. I was extensively questioned regarding the purpose of my return to Japan. Only after this thorough and drawn out process was I allowed to enter their country.
There were no trains running to either Kii Katsura or Shingu in the Wakayama Prefecture due to damaged rails caused by Typhoon Talas. Driving the 200 or so kilometers to Taiji took longer than usual due to the closure of some roads for much-needed repair. There were military vehicles everywhere busy with assistance and clean-up after Talas. I arrived in Taiji by afternoon on the next day.
My original plan was to do some recon before making my presence known. There was still enough daylight left, so I decided to proceed to the Cove to try and establish what changes in barricades, fences, etc. had been made since last season, but within 200 meters of entry, a police vehicle passed me and immediately turned around to follow me. I was pulled over and realized quickly, that as reports suggested, the police really spent a lot of time planning and preparing for this year’s dolphin slaughter. The police now has a form that must be completed indicating why you are visiting Taiji, what you are planning to do, where you are staying, and how long you intend to stay. I informed the police who I was, and as expected, they became really concerned on hearing I am here for Sea Shepherd. The questioniong changed to whether I was alone and when more people from Sea Shepherd would arrive. After taking all of my information, they informed me that I would be questioned again.
I was relieved to find out that water supply to the area has been restored upon arriving to my hotel.
And thus, Operation Infinite Patience has begun…
For the Oceans,