Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I'll share with everyone the few stories that I have done since I arrived back to Canada. I have not spoken to news stations outside of the reporters who greeted us at the Seattle airport. Contrary to what some may believe, I do indeed care about the Japanese people and do not wish to exploit them in any way by making ourselves look like heroes. 

I have been criticized as of late (no surprise there) for my remark about the dolphin molesters. Yes, my heart does go out to the many families, children, and innocent lost in this tragedy. However, I do not take back my statement about feeling no remorse for the killers. Many lives have been lost, both human and non human. I do not differentiate between the life of a dolphin and the life of a human. Does this make me insensitive? I don't believe so. I simply care about all life equally. A human is no more important than any other animal that inhabits this planet. Billions of animals are slaughtered each year, suffering from a fate that few of us will ever experience or acknowledge. Those who feel the need to criticize have likely never allowed themselves to view the pain and suffering that this planet endures under our hands. It may be time to think about these things. We cannot allow ourselves to stay blind to the plight of both humans and non-humans on planet earth.

Now...to the stories. I have had an interview with a magazine in the UK who were looking for a perspective of a woman, which I have not had the chance to view yet. I was also interviewed by a paper in my hometown of Stoney Creek, Ontario. I did this to spread the news to friends and family who might not have been aware that I had traveled to Japan. Lastly, Lindsay Chung from "The Comox Valley Record", who had helped us numerous times with stories of our fundraising and such, wrote a story based on my blog. 

You can view the story in the Stoney Creek News and the Comox Valley Record here:

For The Oceans,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Travel Back to North America

Upon arriving safely in Tono we breathed a sigh of relief. Our cellular devices received reception and we were now able to make communication with our family members.We took turns using the cell phones, limiting our time. Electrical power was not available at the hotel yet and we had to conserve power in the cell phones. Our families now knew we had survived the Tsunami.

I first contacted Ryan, my partner, to let him know that I was safe in Tono. That night four of us slept in the same room, close to one another to conserve heat. The night rocked with aftershocks as high as 6.0. There was a constant rumble beneath us. The hotel walls were moving, squeaking in the corner of the room above my bed. We only hoped that the building would not collapse. By that point we had experienced over one hundred aftershocks. And although they are deemed "aftershocks", these are real earthquakes.

I realized early on in the morning, around 4am, that we had regained power. There was a halo of light around the hotel room door. Everyone awoke, eager to get online and speak to their loved ones. We we able to get cleaned up then, albeit with very cold water. We were all grateful for the return of power. It is something that is easily taken for granted in our developed world. We headed out in search of food, finding a grocery store that was preparing rations on the side walk. No one was allowed to enter. It finally hit me at that point, how dire this situation was for the Japanese people.

We spent the day after the tsunami skyping with family and friends, trying to work out a solution that would allow us to leave Japan. We were in contact with the Canadian and American Embassies, who, unfortunately were of no help to us. In the time it took them to reply (3 days after returning home), we may have been in danger of radiation poisoning in Japan. After gaining knowledge that trains were not running and there were no rental vehicles, we had to pursue other options. Mike searched the internet, finding an international airport 4 hours northwest of our location. We did not know if planes were in operation, but had to take the risk. Tono was located 60kms north of the radiation evacuation zone. At the train station in Tono we spotted a few taxis. We worked out a deal, costing us $200US each for the four hour trip. The airport was closed when we arrived, so we stayed at a nearby hotel.

In the morning, while Scott was using his phone to negotiate flights, we headed back to the airport. We had secured flights back to Seattle via South Korea for the crew. The flights seemed short, the entire experience surreal. My mind had difficulty comprehending what we had experienced over the past days.

We were greeted in Seattle by our friends and family. News reporters were also awaiting our stories. It was wonderful to be back on North American soil. I am very grateful to have such a wonderful support base for our return.

                                                            Cove Guardians Return
                                                              (Photo from Libby)

I have made the decision to participate in few interviews. I have had two to date with newspapers, one in the UK, and another from my home town in Stoney Creek, Ontario. I do not wish to speak to the media. I have witnessed exploitation from the media towards the Japanese people, and It doesn't leave me with a pleasant feeling. Of course, if any large media outlets such as Ellen were to contact us, I would likely oblige, as I agree with her ethical perspectives.

                                                Speaking to Reporters at Seattle Airport
                                                                      (Photo from Elora)

Thank you to all who supported us in our effort to leave Japan. We are very grateful for the amazing support that we received.

If you have it in your resources, please support the people in Japan who have been devastated by the tsunami. They are in dire need of your help.

For The Oceans,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our Journey Through Tsunami

First off I'd like to apologize for the lack of pictures recently on my blog. The internet security here in Northern Japan will not allow me to upload any images. I will have them available as soon as I arrive back in North America or get a different internet connection.

I run the risk of being repetative with this blog post, as "The Cove Guardians" (Mike, Marley, and Carisa) and Scott West have both written about this same experience. I do have some followers, however, who do not follow either of those blogs so I shall post about our experience over the past few days.

Early afternoon on Friday we headed into Otsuchi with three new Cove Guardians, Carisa, Marley, and Mike from my home on Vancouver Island. They had arrived the night before and we were giving them a tour of the city whilst waiting for harpoon boats to return with Dalls Porpoises. Two boats had left the harbour that morning in search of porpoises to molest. One boat had returned, sans Dalls, and instead carried a load of small fish, and we continued on with our tour. During the tour of Otsuchi we stopped to wait at the inner harbour when we felt an earthquake. Based on the qauke we had experienced the day prior, we realized that this one had a much higher intensity.

Realizing the need to head to higher ground, we immediately jumped in the vehicles and raced through Otsuchi to a nearby mountain road. Workers ran from their workplace in processing plants and factories. Children were riding their bicycles quickly down the streets. Everyone in Otsuchi sensed the need for urgency, as we did. A few minutes later we arrived on higher ground and scouted the area. We were joined on the hill by a firetruck and a few other vehicles. Only minutes later we witnessed the entire city of Otsuchi covered by water. The water receeded and surged again and again into the night.

Boats immediately drove from the harbour, knowing that the only safe refuge was at sea. Many still did not make it. As the water receeded into the Ocean leaving the rock below exposed we anxiously waited, knowing that it had to come back into shore. It was not long before the water came rushing in, an enormous black crashing wave dragging along with it houses, vehicles, bodies, and debris of all kinds. We watched in horror as the entire town of Otsuchi was destroyed by the water. What was not taken by water was taken by flame. We watched and filmed as the Tsunami ripped apart Otsuchi. Oil drums had been overturned and sucked out to sea. The pollution left in the ocean was of a mass scale.

It came time for us to explore our escape options. The firemen and other local residents had headed into the hills to check on family members. We hiked down, traveling the road that had brought us up to the hill. Before long it became evident that we were not going to drive out of Otsuchi. The vehicles would remain there for the long haul. The road was destroyed and a river had taken its place. We could not believe the carnage. Nothing remained of this coastal town. We explored the other end of the mountainside and were met with the same destruction. Boats were scattered over the roadway, debris in all areas, a dead body strewn within.
                                                                The road to our hill 

The cries of a young woman floating on a rooflike structure could soon be heard. We enlisted the help of a young Japanese woman to act as a translator and try to quell her fears. We decided to utilize the Fire truck. Mike and Marley drove it over close to the area of the floating woman. It took some time, but we were able to work the radio, loudspeaker, and search lights. We radioed for help. None came. Both Iuka, our Japanese friend, and myself utilized the loudspeaker, calling to two boats in the harbour. It took two hours before they responded to our calls. By that time we had attempted to throw the young woman a rope, taking a risk by walking on the Tsunami walls. The surge of the water kept her out of reach. The boats headed into the wreckage but ceased searching after only 30 minutes or so. We were very frustrated and felt helpless. We could not hear her cries any more.

Snow had set in and it was becoming very cold. We could only hope that the boats had found the young woman as she was swept out by the powerful current. Diving into the freezing, powerful water would have only created more death. We had to settle in for the night. The 7 of us packed into our two small vehicles, keeping warm by periodically starting the engine. We awoke in the morning to thick smoke rising out of what was once the town of Otsuchi.

The firemen and local residents appeared from the hills, creating a plan of escape. We loaded into the Fire tuck and drove to the base of the hill. From there we hiked through the debris and upwards on a very steep mountain. Our resolve was strong and assisted us in climbing the mountainside. We came down the other side into an area filled with locals. Their lives had been destroyed, left with nothing, dead family members piled in beds, yet still food and fire was generously offered to the Westerners in their midst. Great kindness was shown to us. An offer was placed for us to stay, but we knew that we would simply be a burden to them. We went on our way.

We spent the next hours of the day hiking through unimaginable wreckage. Hiking over burned houses, crushed vehicles, family photographs, black, oily sludge, and personal belongings. We repeatedly saw footprints from small companion animals. Propane tanks exploded around us as helicopters rescued locals off of burning buildings. The town of Otsuchi was a desolate wasteland, an image taken from a horror movie of war. Smells of death and burning asaulted us as we tore through the town, experiencing aftershocks all the while.

After our ascent from the wreckage we arrived on a bridge. Speaking to the Police we realized that we would receive no assistance. We started walking. We were a long ways from our hotel in Tono, farther inland. We walked for miles before happening upon a very generous man. He walked us into a village and got us a lift to a bus station in the mountains. We were left there wondering what was to come next. Not long after, he arrived back with a woman and her van. She had lost everything, but offered what little she had to us. She got us safely back to Tono.

We have come farther since this, and have been told of the plight of dolphins in Taiji. Around 20 dolphins were left in the pens in the Taiji harbour during the Tsunami. The fishermen did not set them free. Instead they were left to the force of nature, thrown violently against the rocks by the surging water, screaming in pain as they lay dying.

My heart goes out to the innocent families and individuals in Japan affected by this Tsunami. But I can feel no remorse for those who kill so needlessly. The time has come for change. The damage done to this earth by humans can no longer be denied. I hope that through this time of sorrow we can rise above and right the wrongs of the past. It is time for us to respect our mother earth, hopefully allowing us to avoid destruction of this magnitude in the future.

For The Oceans,

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Hello everyone,

As many of you know, a devastating tsunami hit japan the day before last. We were in Otsuchi, waiting for boats to come into port with porpoises. We felt the earthquake and headed for higher ground immediately.
It is a very long story and one that should not be told until we have rested and are back safely in North America.
I'd like everyone to know that we are safe after trekking through through unimaginable devastation.

We are currently in Tono, Iwate Prefecture awaiting help from outside sources.

All of the Cove Guardians are in need of monetary support to leave Japan. A large portion of funds went towards renting vehicles that we had to abandon on a mountainside. Please, if you can offer any support, we are in need of it now!

I will have updates as soon as possible.

For The Oceans,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Iwate Prefecture, Japan

I'd like to introduce everyone to the Dalls Porpoise slaughter that occurs year round in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. If you thought the molestation of cetaceans in Japan ended in Taiji, you were mistaken. The slaughter of Dalls Porpoises is the largest slaughter of cetaceans around in the world today. The Japanese Government cannot be satiated by simply molesting the dolphins that pass by Taiji, they feel the need to mercilessly rape our oceans until the bitter end in every coastal area in the nation. Japanese fishermen slaughter around 15,000 Dalls Porpoises each year and it doesn't end there. An additional 8,000-10,000 Dalls become entangled in the nets from the Japanese Salmon fishery, and die. The majority of those who suffer from the entanglement and death are pregnant females. Fortunately, Dalls Porpoises live a very short time if kept in captivity, allowing them to escape one horror that other dolphins are often subjected to. For further detailed information please visit http://www.dallsporpoise.org/ and http://www.eiainternational.org/campaigns/species/cetaceans/

I traveled up from Taiji with Scott West and Brian from SJD, spending two days on the road in our efforts to travel to Ostuchi to document the slaughter of Dalls Porpoises. We spent our time driving through the beautiful mountainous regions of Northern Japan, wishing that our purpose were mere tourism. Japan is a beautiful nation surrounded by glorious coasts perfect for whale and dolphin watching. It really is too bad that the Government brings such shame upon its country. This is a nation that could and should be a leader in conservation.
                                                     A stop in the snowy mountains
During our first day in Otsuchi we were immediately greeted by "terrorist security". We also experienced a 7.2 earthquake that had an epicentre a few hours away, where we had been driving only the day before We had not yet announced that Sea Shepherd was in the area, but we were being closely watched. We were followed on our way back to the hotel but turned the tables and lost our tail. We arrived early this morning and realized that the Dalls from the previous day had already been butchered. We announced our arrival and were again greeted by the police and fishermen. We are currently figuring out the hunt schedule and will be spending every moment documenting this horrific slaughter.


                                                                  Butcher House

Otsuchi, Japan has a sister city none other than Fort Bragg California. I can`t help but wonder what Califorians will think of this sister city relationship in regards to the largest slaughter of porpoises in the world. I can`t imagine they will be too happy with the information. Maybe this connection is one that is better broken.

We will soon be joined by three fellow Vancouver Islanders and close friends of mine.

For The Oceans,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More to Come

After a long flight to Osaka, Japan via Seattle, Scott and I arrived in Nachi-Katsuura late last night.

It's surreal being back in Taiji. The constant stress of wondering how many dolphins will be slaughtered next has disappeared. Walking through the small coastal town, one experiences an aura of expectency. What creature is next? In only one month the Taiji molesters will set out to resume Coastal whaling targeting false killer whales, pilot whales, and risso dolphins. No cetacean can escape their molestation.

                                                             Coastal Whaling Ships

The dolphin slaughter may have ceased for this season, but the end is nowhere in sight. There are 20-30 dolphins remaining in the pens inside the Taiji harbour. The slaughter of 2010-2011 will never be forgotten. The images will play over again in their minds, families slaughtered, cries of their friends and children ruthlessly murdered before their eyes. They will be forced to endure these painful memories while they perform for passer-bys after being transported around the world. They will live out the rest of their lives in pain, dying when they can endure it no more. We focused on the cetacean slaughter here in Taiji due to horrors of this live slave trade.

We will continue to place pressure on Taiji, ensuring that the molesters are not bluffing. Change must come from within the Japanese Government. We are here to take our stand against all atrocities committed towards cetaceans in Japan.

We have a few tricks up our sleeve yet.
There is some exciting news that will be unfolding in the next two weeks.

Stay tuned.

For The Oceans,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hey everyone,

I will be leaving for Japan tomorrow morning via Seattle. I will be arriving in Osaka at 4:30pm on March 3rd and will be traveling to Taiji from there.

I will not be traveling alone, and although I cannot provide more information at this time, I will post updates as soon as I am in Japan. We will be spending a few days in Taiji to assess the situation and will be traveling from there.

I apologize for the vagueness of this blog post, and I will be providing you with more information as to what I will be working on while I am in Japan. I will be staying a duration of two weeks unless I am needed for a longer period of time.

I want to thank every individual who has provided support for me to travel to Japan a second time to work on progressive tactics. I have been able to raise enough money for the flight costs and some hotel. I am still in need of support, and am remaining hopeful that I will have no problem affording food, hotel and travel costs. If you would like to contribute you can do so through paypal with the "donate" button on the right hand side. Any support is welcome, though, especially the form of positive thoughts and kind remarks! I am very grateful to all of you!

For The Oceans,