Saturday, November 6, 2010

Testing The Waters

Hello all,

I didn't have an ounce of energy left last night to write this blog post, so i'm sending it to you this morning.

Yesterday was a very intense day at The Cove. Ryan and I started off guarding the area around the Cove in the early morning. We watched the sun rise, and soon saw boats full of trainers come around the corner. We knew they were going to select more for the live dolphin trade. Rex has full video footage and pictures of the process of selecting dolphins. The trainers literally wrestle the dolphins, until they can lift them into slings which they hang from the side of the boats. There was a media crew from Osaka filming the entire time.

The activity started to liven up when we saw dolphins swimming on the public side of the beach. We had originally thought that the buoy line seperating the dolphin area and the beach was a net. Not so. I ran to get my wetsuit, hoping to film the dolphins underwater. As soon as I emerged doning wetsuit and snorkle gear, the police, coast guard, fishermen, and media surrounded me. It was as if they all appeared out of nowhere. I was immediately questioned and told that there was no swimming allowed in the public beach area. After a long drawn out arguement with the local authorities and a translator, I decided that it was safe to go to in the water. I asked repeatedly if I would be arrested, as I was simply exercising my right as a tourist to swim in a public area, but they continued to dance around the question.  I was manhandled by the police as I tried to enter the water. One police officer continued to put his hands on me. I was told it was dangerous to enter the water. Apparently if I were to swim the fishermen  would try to stop me. After approaching me, and possibly harming me I would be charged with obstruction of their business, landing me 2-3 years in prison. As it turns out, this was all a farce. It is infact legal to swim in a public area, and the fishermen currently working could not have cared less about my swimming with the dolphins.

    Media and police circus after emerging from the water. I was told that they simply offered me a "Caution" and took back their earlier statements of arrest.

I was able to get underwater sound of the dolphins. Little did I know that while I was swimming in the cove, trainers were forcing their family members into a life of slavery. The music of the dolphins was quite sad. I will post video and sound footage on my Youtube channel.

Not long after my swimming stunt, the fishermen spent some time in the Cove. We had no idea what they were up to. They started to take the nets down, and bring the banger boats around. We realized that they were going to free the remaining dolphins. We were of course excited for those set free, but after 56 taken for a life of enslavement, it is a little difficult to feel happiness. At this time we also did not know about the dirty work in the killing Cove.

We got word from those in Cove Park that there was blood in the killing cove, and lots of it. We saw the gutting barge moving out of range of everyone's view. Ryan and I rushed up to a high lookout point with Rupert only to witness the horrors of the Gutting barge. We saw at least 26 dolphins slit open, laying in their own blood while the arrogant dolphin molesters lunched beside the dolphin's entrails. It was a disgusting scene which we caught on tape. We watched the dolphins being transferred and took photographs. I will have better photos when my film is developed.

After a long day of witness we debriefed in the hotel lobby. A large group of us went to dinner in Shingu to try and forget the horrors of the day. We work here to support one another through these tough times.

There is a youtube slideshow on the top of this blog, but if you can't access it that way you can view my videos through this link:

For The Oceans,

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