Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Taiji 19/01/2011

Our friend Kerry writes about her final day in Taiji ~ Thank you Kerry for being a wonderful representative for the dolphins.

Dear wee souls in Taiji Whale museum. Forever in my heart.
I could not have wished for a more wonderful last day in Taiji. I woke and went down to Taiji early. All boats were out and the sick twisted feeling in my stomach kicked in. Friends and I stood at the lookout point for 3 hours watching the banger boats way down south of Taiji. About half way through the morning they seemed to have a pod. We could see them line up in their dreaded military formation. Here we go I thought. Something very strange happened over the next half an hour, as the banger boats moved far out from south position to 45 degrees opposite the harbour (still a way out), they appeared to be followed by 4 ships that were out there. The ships actually were moving around with the banger boats and interfering obviously with the hunt.  Friends who have been coming here for several years to document the Dolphin killings were as astonished as I. This had not been noted before. The pod obviously lost, the Fishermen gave up their hunt to return to Taiji harbour. Oh Joy! I was left wondering about the international ships out at sea. Perhaps our news and cause is finally getting out there.
Dancing for Dolphins!
Who knows who is on those ships. Perhaps they are Australians, Americans, Europeans or Japanese people who abhor the hunting of Dolphins? I can but speculate, but It was a wonderful sight to behold! We returned to the hotel in jubilant spirits. The last week had been very hard for us all and the 40 Striped Dolphins taken the day before had broken all our hearts. A call came from Tokyo that all our footage from the past few days was needed. Ric O'Barry was in Tokyo along with Jeff and others. The press were meeting them to report on the Sting concert and the events of the past few days at the Cove. All very encouraging news for all. 148 newspapers around the world overnight have reported Sting's comments in Tokyo last night.
I feel as I pack to leave Japan today that much has happened in the past 2 weeks. I also feel cautious optimism for all here in Taiji and for the world's beloved Dolphins. A shift has definitely occurred and hope is in the air. All the dear people who have worked hard for positive change in Taiji, can see a glimpse of what freedom and peace could be.
I return home today with much to do for my family and our cause. I also return home a more enriched and and thankful woman. My experience here in Japan has exceeded all my hopes and  my prayers are beginning to be answered, and I am truly humbled by my experiences.
God Bless all the people in Japan, all Dolphins past present and future and all of you my brave and wonderful friends.

For the Oceans. Kerry. xxx

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Taiji 18/01/2010

From our good friend Kerry O'Brien in Taiji

Kerry with Jeff and Cochang. Positive change for Taiji
I could not write yesterday after the slaughter of 40 or so beautiful Striped Dolphins. I stood on the hill alone for quite a while (many have gone home this week), as Dolphins were yet again driven into the cove, feeling absolutely heart sick, praying and begging the universe to somehow step in and set them all free. Part of the pod did break away at the head of the harbour, and for this I am very thankful. At least some of their family are free and will carry on their genes , they are not lost forever. However I carry around with me the horrific memory of yesterday and It makes me even more resolved to carry on my work when I leave here tomorrow. I have learnt so much and what I came here for has exceeded my expectations. I now have an understanding of life here and no matter what, I care about the people , who have always been polite and hospitable towards me. I have engaged as many as possible in respectful conversation, even if it is just a polite good morning. I have met with Jeff Pantukhoff , dignitaries and professors, High Priests and Aquarium owners. Jeff is doing amazing and inspiring work to gain greater knowledge, understanding and problem solving here. It is not for me to discuss at this point, but take great heart every-one, I certainly have. There is a way through this for the good of all, and I will work with Jeff and other committed and dedicated people to achieve this. Everyone here during my stay from all groups have had their part to play here and all in a positive and respectful manner, for which I am thankful! There is no room here for anything other.
Praying now for a peaceful day, please join me and thank you so much for all your support. It is invaluable.

With Love, Kerry xxx

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Taiji 15/01/2011

Kerry during a huge whale stranding in
NZ last sept...Maui was her patient ;) ♥
The Boats stayed in harbour this day. I drove to the harbour with a feeling this would be so, and wanted to go to the lookout point to scan the open sea and meditate and send love and healing to the sea, the land and pray for all Cetaceans. I met with a new journalist friend for coffee. Another journalist was present and able to interpret better for us so what we were discussing the past few days allowed my understanding to become even clearer. We discussed the Dolphins on the rocks 2 days earlier. She had been present when I had asked the Taiji council member to Get the fishermen to attend the Dolphins and save them or end their suffering. If you read my previous blog for this day you will get the background on this discussion. My friend said that later a discussion by the Japanese official  I had spoken with had taken place with the fishermen. The fishermen said they could not get to the suffering Dolphins it seems a lot of chaos was going on that morning. I was aware of the chaos, the fishermen behind me on the cliff had been shouting on his cell phone for some time on two occasions, for what ever reason, he was disturbed by what was happening.  The chaos in the cove appeared to be more than usual as well. So, my message was received apparently and noted., which was , If you are going to slaughter Dolphins to please do so as quickly as possible and dont ever leave them to suffer. I also explained again why we all found that day so very upsetting and couldnt hold back my grief when I reiterated the story. They really did not understand our grief I feel, but the two journalists did hear me and seemed to understand my point of view finally.
So what I would like to say is, whatever the truth is here, we must keep the lines of communication open with all people be they fishermen, journalists, police, coastguard or town officials. As I learn more about Japaenese culture I know that force or aggressive expression of our views is stone walled. I believe and I pray , that maybe,just maybe my point got across and so God willing if this situation  happens again , is handled differently. We (and I include myself in this) really cannot judge or react until we have a better understanding of others point of view. When we have judged and criticised all that seems to happen is that great walls of stone go up, and take a long time and a lot of effort to navigate and cross. We must keep talking and we must hear what is said with respect. It takes strength , self control and patience to do this, but do this I will. My love for all Cetaceans is taking me on a personal journey where I have discovered strength, courage, patience , compassion and humbleness I didnt know I possessed. We all have these qualities and we all make our mistakes, I know I have while being here and will again. Whatever it takes to change all life for the better , we can achieve. I believe this with my heart and soul, for our beloved planet all all who live here, be it land or ocean. With love to all. Kerry <3

Friday, January 14, 2011

Taiji 14/01/2011

From Kerry O'Brien in Taiji

It's with heavy heart I report another day of slaughter in Taiji. A dear little family of Risso's Dolphins were driven into Taiji early this morning.As they came into the harbour I stood in the bitter wind praying and willing them to escape as others had yesterday. But this was a tiny pod and there were 11 Banger boats in uniform formation clanging their death poles and terrorising them.I stood alone with steely and desperate determination that they would not be driven into the cove, but it was not to be. The sight of the boats in formation is one that fills my heart with dread and makes me feel sickeningly helpless. The sound of the poles clanging as I've heard many a cove guardian say before is one I will never forget. it sounds like a death toll, which is exactly what it is. I stood and watched from our lookout point as Boats drove this small pod in. 11 boats against 10 beautiful Dolphins, one was a calf. The pod was circling the calf continually trying to protect him and every now and then we could see him look up out of the water, trying to look around and seeming desperately confused and frightened. It is the most devestating thing to see the fishermen bring Dolphins closer and closer into the cove with nets. The closer they draw them in the nearer they are to death. 2 Dolphin trainers arrived by skiff and 4 were chosen for captivity.The calf and three others . The other 6 were quickly slaughtered. You might think going to witness this day after day you would be able to cope better. I find it's getting harder. I just wept the whole time and as I write this tears roll down my cheeks and I can't get rid of the sick feeling that lingers in my stomach. So I bear witness for these beautiful Sea Angels who will forever be with me.

With love, Kerry. xxx

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Taiji 13th Jan 2011

Kerry O'Brien shares with us the frightful events of January 13th in Taiji where the killers of dolphins took cruelty and a lack of compassion to a whole new level - even for them.

Every day that Dolphins are slaughtered and captured in Taiji is a horrific one. Today, however another unimaginable cruel dimension was added. As fishermen were driving 20 or so striped Dolphins into the cove area for slaughter 4 escaped around the corner and beached themselves onto sharp volcanic rocks. They were trapped , injured , bleeding and frantically fighting for their lives. The horrible twisted feeling in my stomach grew as I waited for fishermen to come in a few metres and get them out....and I waited. No sign of help. They were left there struggling and fighting for their lives. The tiny cove of rocks they were trapped in was filling up with blood fast. For the fiirst time I was praying fishermen would come in and end it for them quickly. 20 mins went and I could bear it no longer. I turned to a Taiji town council member who stood behind me and asked him why the Dolphins were left to struggle and die in this morbid and agonising way. "Why cant your fishermen get in there and end it for them now!!!" I cried to him. He shrugged his shoulders and said "they are fish." when I questioned him further pointing out the horrific cruelty they were suffering he merely said he didnt feel anything for them and that it was obviously a cultural difference. He was polite about his cold and heartless comments. There were two young Norweigan girls filming beside me, in tears as we all were by this time, and for a moment I knew if I suggested we climb down the cliff and at least try to help them they would be with me. I know interferring with fishermens business can mean prison and I knew I could never help another Dolphin again if that was the case. So I stayed and I prayed and spoke to them, desperately hoping they could hear my words, and feel my love. 40 mins went by and a skiff looked like it was coming in with a net. Thank God I thought This is unbearable, please end it now! But No! They changed their minds and went out leaving Dolphins suffering amidst the rocks, drowning or bleeding to death. An old man who looked like a fisherman was shouting from the shore behind us by this time ranting and raving. they did not like us witnessing this horror obviously and were agitated. So why not go in and get the trapped Dolphins out and put them out of their misery!!!
Finally , after nearly an hour when the struggling Dolphins finally were dying, including a juvenille, divers came and dragged the last two out who were barely alive by their tails and we saw them finally drown.  I stood there shaking and feeling colder than I have ever felt before and very very sick.
I went back up there tonight. I had left my scarf  behind when I stumbled down the path to leave. The area felt absolutely horrible and I felt sick again for about an hour. friends checked there were no beached dead Dolphins left there. we could at least do that for them now. None were found.

I woud like us all to remember that earlier today the rest of this Dolphins pod , perhaps another 30 or so had escaped from Taiji Harbour while being driven in. The horror of today means most of us have forgotten this, so i remember it now and I give thanks for that. Please continue your prayers and positive visualisations for Dolphins. It did work today, we just were not to know the horror that awaiting these precious few. RIP Darling Dolphins, we fight on for you and we will never ever forget you. <3

Friday, January 7, 2011

So much to many kind people…so much hope toward ending the hunt☺

I'm working with at least five groups of people this weekend.

First, there is a group of people highly focused on love--involved with loving and respectful ways of working with all players in the dolphin hunt drama. This includes Joe Noonan with Planetary Partners, coming to Taiji for the first time to lead a water healing ceremony on Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 at noon:-)

Second, several Japanese people have come forward to offer assistance and advice. Hiro, a Japanese lawyer, is helping to advise western activists on legal issues. His advice has settled all legal questions at this time. Discussion is intense--all of us take the dolphin issues very seriously. May we all work professionally!

Third, I'm working with another organization from the States coming to Tokyo. This organization gets has received easier access to decision makers in Tokyo because Sea Shepherd is making things so uncomfortable for the Japanese in the Southern Ocean and in Taiji.

Fourth, I'm working with the group coalescing around Ady Gil called Eyes on Taiji, which includes Ady's first trip to Japan today. I saw them in Kyoto yesterday along with Hiro Masaka, Kumiko and Ayumi. A good ratio: this is the first meeting I have been in on this issue where the Japanese out number the western activists.

Fifth, I'm working with dear friends at Sea Shepherd, Eyes on Taiji, and other groups and people, all sacrificing much to be in Taiji. I have the utmost respect for the people who have come so far to shine light for the dolphins.

Finally, I feel this more than ever--we need people to make friends in Taiji because the hurdle is the fact that people in Taiji are stopping change. We need to work with them in a way to make change possible. Further we need all of the individuals and groups supporting an end of the dolphin hunt to work together with care.

I am supported with advice from numerous wonderful people especially my wife and daughter and also Mark Bamberry from the Taiji Dolphin Action Group. I see the groups to be numerous and dealing with issues that make working together challenging. I keep telling myself it's for the dolphins, but the more I work in this the more it seems the dolphins are giving us a chance to learn to work together.

For the dolphins and for us,
TDAG Co-Founder