|Wednesday, April 11, 2012|
Hana Blog 8 English
For the Whales
I have just started a nightly 8pm-12am bridge watch. At our current location it doesn’t get dark until the end of my shift and even then there is still a bit of light lingering in the sky. It was fortunate for me because, just as I was about to knock-off, I spotted a whale gliding majestically beside our ship. I was so happy to see him. I’ve never seen a whale so close! But then a sobering thought crossed my mind, it was possible that just over the horizon, the whalers could be harpooning and dissecting the lifeless bodies of his family and friends. A torrent of images flooded my mind and in that instant, my heart broke. I feel a renewed urgency to track down the Nissin Maru. Only when we’ve stopped their illegal activity and ensured they’ll never return to the whale sanctuary will my heart be healed.
6th March 2012 （Tue）
Hypocrisy on the High Seas
On the 5th of March at 11:30pm（approximately 7：30pm Japan time）I wrote a quick news flash about the Bob Barker finding four of the five Japanese whaling vessels. Those vessels were the Yushin Marus 1,2 and 3 and the ship of cetacean horrors, the Nissin Maru.
I find it really bizarre that the Institute of Cetacean Research would take Sea Shepherd to a Seattle court in an attempt to ban us from traveling 800m of their whaling vessels, then almost two weeks later, we’d find these same ships (that supposedly wanted Sea Shepherd to come nowhere near them), charging toward us and cutting within 10m of our bow.
As the Yushin Maru #2 and #3 careened forward, I attempted to radio them in Japanese but, as expected, I was met with complete silence. Again, I find this ironic considering the ICR had previously stated that they wanted to solve our differences through talk rather than dangerous confrontations on the high seas. After a few frustrating hours with no response I left the bridge. Eventually, one of the kill ships did radio us but not in response to anything I had said or with any intent to listen to anything we had to say. Their transmission was a simple (and again, nonsensical and ironic) statement, “Sea Shepherd ship, Sea Shepherd ship, stops your dangerous action.”
Given its hypocritical nature, I can only assume the true nature of the transmission was to create ICR propaganda that would then be fed to the Japanese people in order to give them the impression that our operations are violent. If you want to know the truth all you need do is compare both sides of the story with open ears, open eyes and open minds.
In a desperate attempt to stop us from chasing the floating abattoir, the harpoon ships continued their reckless swerving around our ship. In a last ditch effort to avoid a potential collision we were forced to fire rocket flares across their bow and into the water to fend them off. We know the harpoon ships are always filming our actions during confrontations so we wouldn’t fire flares unless we deemed there to be a very real threat to our vessel and to the lives of the crew onboard. There is no doubt in my mind that this purely defensive action is now set to become another classic ICR work of fiction
7th March 2012 （Wed）
Incredible news! Sea Shepherd’s persistence and hard work has successfully shut down the Japanese whaling fleet’s season yet again. All whaling vessels are now heading home.
10th March 2012 （Sat）
Sinking Whalers Financially
The ICR have just released their 2011-2012 whaling figures. Sadly, they brought terror and death into the lives of 266 minke whales and one endangered fin whale under their obscene ‘research’ whaling program. But on the other hand, thanks to Sea Shepherd’s efforts, 768 unscathed whales (out of the 1,035 whale quota) will now be swimming up north to start new lives in safer waters.
The whalers needed to kill approximately 50% of the whales in their annual quota just to cover their operational costs. What they got was less than 25%. Once again, Sea Shepherd has move a step closer to sinking the whaling fleet financially.
It’s comforting to know that every year the whalers get weaker while Sea Shepherd and the marine conservation movement grows stronger. With the help of all the incredible Sea Shepherd volunteers, members and supporters, it’s only a matter of time before whaling in the Southern Ocean becomes a thing of the past and we can focus our attention on other extremely important marine conservation matters.
14th March 2012 （Wed）
A New Hope
We’ve just arrived in Hobart, Tasmania to a warm welcome from Sea Shepherd supporters and the media.
I’m so glad Operation Divine Wind has finished and we’ve accomplished yet another huge victory for our oceans.
The Australian Greens Party’s environmental spokesperson, the Honorable Cassey O’Connor, is proposing the creation of a Tasmanian whale sanctuary today. About 20 Sea Shepherd crewmembers (including myself) attend parliament to support the initiative. If the proposal is passed, any vessels involved in whaling operations would not be permitted to enter Tasmanian waters. This would give the federal government of Australia every reason to send out a naval or customs vessel to enforce the law against the whalers should the whalers again choose to trespass into these territorial waters. (See 11th of Jan blog3 entry)
After Cassey O’Connor’s speech, ex-teacher and scientist turned Greens health spokesperson, the Honorable Paul '
For the Oceans, For the Earth
Sometime I look at all the problems in the world and it seems our planet is being destroyed at a speed faster than light. If we don't take responsibility for the destruction we’re causing we’ll need to find another planet to occupy in 30 years time. Many people wouldn’t call themselves thieves but we are. WE ARE STEALING LIFE, BEAUTY AND HAPPINESS FROM THE FUTURE GENERATIONS.
Do you know where copier paper in the printer beside you comes from? How about the millions of sheets of tissue paper we Japanese people use every day? Much of it comes from the Victorian and Tasmanian old growth forests not far from where the Bob Barker is currently docked. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of the most magnificent trees are logged for this paper. This is rich carbon-absorbing native habitat yet still its being ripped from the earth to create paper many of us have probably never thought twice about. I want you to ask yourself now, what kind of relationship do you have with your paper? Do you know what kind of tree it once was? Do you know its age and height? How many days of sun and rain landed on it leaves? Do you know what kind of insects and animals once called it home? How did it end up in front of you? Did it travel thousands of miles across the sea? Do you have a relationship with your paper or is it in your life one second and in the rubbish bin the next.
Do you know about the orangutans and other wild animals that lose their homes and their lives just so you can have an unnecessary ingredient like palm oil in your food, skincare and cosmetic products? Orangutans are facing extinction because of us. We are responsible for their extinction.
100,000,000 sharks are killed every year for their tasteless fins which end up in expensive soups and dishes. They are facing extinction too.
Japan’s favourite fish, the blue fin tuna may be extinct by the end of this year but would you be willing to make a small change in your diet to ensure its survival?
In Canada, over 325,000 (The quota for this year’s ruthless slaughter is 400,000) baby harp seals are killed for their fur every year. The seals are usually only 2 weeks old when their heads and bodies are battered in by the sealers’ clubs. Like a scene taken directly from a horror movie, many seals are skinned alive and left to die a slow and agonizing death.
These annual atrocities led to the European Union banning the import of all seal products in 2009. Recently Russia also made the move to block all seal imports entering into their country.
Japan and China are currently the world’s biggest importers of baby seal skins and furs for the manufacture of coats, scarves, hats and boots. These are products that feature everywhere in Japan. If you’re thinking of buying a new fur products please consider the brutality and suffering behind the fur industry before making a purchase. Seals are not the only ones subjected to this violence. Whether they are farmed or caught in wild, foxes, rabbits, minks, raccoons, ferret, dogs, cats and many other species of animals are the subjected to the same, or similar, acts of cruelty. All these beautiful creatures experience pain, suffering, fear, and the yearning for survival…just like humans.
What is the survival of a species worth to you?
Do we really NEED these products for our everyday life?
Well, in our modern society we need paper, but we can try to reduce the amount we use and switch to Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) approved recycled paper or wheat pulp paper. We can further reduce our paper consumption by receiving our phone, power and water bills online. Together we can save a lot of paper and save our priceless wild places for our children and the animals that inhabit them.
We can read labels in supermarkets and avoid palm oil for the sake of our friends the orangutans. We have so many delicious ethical foods that we don’t need to eat blue fin tuna or shark fins or any other marine life.
Already too many exquisite creatures and plants have disappeared from our beautiful planet. We should never forget these three words: EXTINCTION IS FOREVER! These are the words keep me fighting on. I fight for every unique and wonderful species of animal, bird, insect, plant, tree and fungi on this planet because all life is too beautiful and important to lose.
We don’t have much left for the future generations, so we have to try our best to protect what is in front of us now. The future generations deserve to have what we have and enjoy.
It is all depends on us. What can you leave for your children?
The problems grow day-by-day but it’s only because our inaction is allowing them to.
YOU know when you see something wrong in the world. YOU have a responsibility to the next generation to do something about it. YOU have a responsibility to the earth that has nourished and sustained you, YOU have a responsibility to your friends and family and everyone who has supported you and brought joy and happiness into your life. YOU need to act and YOU need you to act now.
Now that Operation Divine Wind is over, I’d like to thank you so much for reading my blog. I hope you’ve received some insight into Sea Shepherd and the how important our mission is to protect not only our marine eco-systems but also all life on our entire planet.
I would like to end this blog entry with the wise words of Sea Shepherd’s founder, Captain Paul Watson:
“What makes the difference really in the conservation movement is not governments, it’s not big organizations, what really makes the difference is the passion of individuals.”
As a mark of appreciation for assisting me in translating my blog entries into English, I would like to introduce my good friend Michael Beasley
Michael has been a resident onboard the Bob Barker since March 2010, making Operation Divine Wind his 2nd Antarctic whale defence campaign. As well as filling the role as a deckhand, he is also an amazing designer. His work has been used by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society both onshore and off but there’s nowhere his work features more prominently than on the Bob Barker (One of the designs he is best known for is the Bob Barker’s new camouflage paint scheme).
During campaign I would finish my watch at midnight and head to the lounge to work or relax. Despite the fact he had to get up early in the mornings, Michael would always be sitting there in the corner across from my seat designing or doing some other form of work for Sea Shepherd.
He has so much dedication, love and compassion for protecting the environment and ensuring the wellbeing of animals and people that it flows into everything he does. From his vegan lifestyle to his creativity, he is a great inspiration. I couldn’t imagine Michael ever being happy selling his designs to the corporate world, but I know he is truly happy when he can use his talent to make a positive difference for this planet.
When he was a high school student, Michael studied Japanese and his family hosted Japanese home stay students. Through these experiences he has fallen in love with Japanese culture and has come to know a bit of Japanese language. I’m thankful Michael has shown such patience when trying to understand my English and the message I’m trying to convey in my blogs. Using his literary skill, he has transformed my words into the most wonderfully crafted English sentences.
He is an intelligent, talented, kind, gentle trustworthy and sincere human being. I am so happy and proud to have him as a good friend. Thank you for your huge help Michael :D
Sea Shepherd – Pirates of Compassion (with Japanese subtitles)
Sea Shepherd- For the Oceans (with Japanese subtitles)