zaterdag 12 januari 2013

Welcome to Taij

My first day in Taiji was a good day. The cove stayed blue.
But yesterday was different...

We went out early in the morning, we saw the banger-boats leave port and we moved to our lookout point, from were you have an exellent view of the ocean. There the waiting began, anxiously tracing the horizon with binoculars, to see if anyone could catch a glimp of the hunting boats and if they were in a drive-formation or not. Usually the killers hunt until 9.30 in the morning. If they didn't find anything by that time, they return to port and call it a day.

Boats in driving formation
At around 9.25 the first boat was just about to enter the harbour, maybe a hundred meters away, followed in a distance by the rest. The cove would stay blue for yet another day !! We were all excited, joking and making plans for the afternoon. We would go out for noodles !
But then, right in front of us, the first boat stopped and layed motionless in the water. We all stopped breathing. Then it slowly turned around, throttled up and speeded back to the ocean when at the same time, all the other boats changed course and headed in the same direction. They were tipped off by a small fishingboat that was laying right in front of us, not more then maybe a mile off shore. The had spotted dolphins.

The bangerboats hurried to get into a driving formation behind the pod. This time it was tóó easy for the killers, this close to the cove...

We all went to another position, high above the cove, from where you have a clear view of the drama that's unfolding in front of you. In my life i have seen dolphins twice. The first time was at a dolphin show in Harderwijk (Netherlands). I was maybe 8 or 9 years old and i really thought the dolphins were happy because they were "smiling". How little did i know....

22 Risso dolphins
The second time i saw them, so many years later, they were surrounded by 12 banger boats, with men who were banging on steal poles in the water, creating a wall of sound making the dolphins franticly flea in the other direction. Everytime a dolphin tried to escape, one of the fast killerboats throttled up, blowing a black puff of smoke from it's diesel engine, driving it back to the pod. Dispite the tragedy, the thing that struck me seeing them in real live again, was the power and grace in which they glided trough the water. What a beautiful creatures !

Once in the cove, it was quickly netted off by men in skiffs. No escape anymore. Right after that, the murderers started to cover the killing zone with tarps. They don't want the world to see their dirty little secret. Covering the cove, only means one thing...The sound of the steal rings scraping over the metal cabels, meter by meter, still haunts me.
2 Taken captive

First 2 Risso's were taken captive by dolphin trainers, to spent the rest of their lives in a concrete tank, doing silly tricks for a human audience. All the other family members had to die.
Yes we see what you do !

So soon, the killing began by ramming a steel rod into the spinal cord, paralizing the animal, but not killing it. Then a wooden plug is jammed into the wound to stop the bleeding. No blood in the water for the world to see ! But they don't always succeed and also this time, slowly the cove turned red... When the animal is tied with it's tail to a skiff for transportation to the butcherhouse, it usually drowns. Usually...

Killed dolphin
Transfering to the butcher
During one of the transports, a killer desperately trying to hide his dirty bloody business, looked up at me, straight in the eyes. Caught like a thief in the night.

It was all over so quickly. Only a few hours ago this dolphin family was happy and free. Now, 18 of them were killed and 2 were kidnapped, never to see their family and the ocean again. All because they made one mistake: They came to close to Japanese shores.

Words can hardly discribe what i felt yesterday and it still is so surreal.
But it made me even more determined to do whatever i can to stop this cruelty. And even if you can not come to Taiji, you can share the news. Let the world know what is going on. Together we are strong !!

But the day wasn't over yet. Shortly after the killing and butchering, a crane was positioned to lift 2 bottlenose dolphins, who had spent weeks in the harbour pens, from their small prisons into a waiting truck to be transported to a dolphinarium somewhere in the world.
Lifted into a waiting truck

We jumped into the car and followed the truck for several hours, only to loose it at some point unfortunately. That's why i didn't had the energy to wright my blog yesterday, we were só tired.

Sunrise at the cove
But today there is no hunting !! All the boats stayed in. So all the time in the world to make up and write a decent update from my blog, as i  promissed.
Coming back from the harbour, we stopped at the cove to wittness an incredible sunrise. Strange that such a horrific place can be so beautiful as well.
So today is my day off. All the others are out for lunch and i think i'm gonna bring some order in the      mess i made of my hotelroom ;)

Thanks for all your support and thanks for reading my blog.

Until soon.


6 opmerkingen:

  1. Mooi geschreven Willem! Give them dolphins a voice!

  2. Woorden schieten tekort, wat kan jij de situatie goed verwoorden zeg........

  3. Ik wens je heel veel sterkte toe Willem, je zult het nodig hebben, want je zult nog veel meer ellende te zien krijgen en het zal je voor altijd vervolgen. Maar houd voor ogen dat het aantal vermoorde dolfijnen dit jaar al gedaald is door alle publiciteit die we er allemaal aan geven. Ik zou het niet kunnen want ik zou die mensen het liefst aan de haaien voeren... zodat ze eens weten wat het is om een onschuldig slachtoffer te zijn. Ik zelf zit bijna dagelijks op zee en breng veel tijd door met Fungie de wilde tuimelaar in Dingle in Ierland, waar ik ook woon, samen met mijn man Ruud. We hebben een pagina die helaas niet in Nederland te zien is, maar die jij in Japan wel kunt zien. We komen zelf uit Nederland en zijn verhuisd naar Ierland and hebben al 22 jaar een band met deze dolfijn en we gebruiken hem als ambassadeur voor vrije dolfijnen. Ik mix mijn photo's en video's (al over 3000) met zoveel mogelijk info over Japan, the Faroes and dolfijnen in gevangenschap en andere dolfijnen/walvissen zaken.... De pagina gaat in principe over Fungie, maar deze combinatie werkt goed. Als je het moeilijk hebt daar bij de Cove en je kunt kijken, snuffel dan maar eens door de vele albums. Fungie is hier 30 jaar, wild en vrij en heeft de harten veroverd van honderd duizenden op vele manieren. En hij zal je hoe dan ook laten glimlachen. Dank je voor je aanwezigheid daar. Houd vol en nogmaals veel sterkte. De wereld kijkt toe en ik weet hoe frustrerend het is om niets te kunnen doen, want iedere dolfijn is er een...... en een te veel....

  4. Ik lees het alsof ik naast je sta.... wat herkenbaar...
    How i wish i could be there again :(


  5. Bless you and all the other guardians. it is truly stomach churning what you have to witness on a daily basis. But without you as s witness the world would not know what is happening, and the young people of Japan have found their voice inspirational that is what you all are. Stand tall and proud we are all behind you. Stay safe xxxx Praying for a blue day xxx