Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A quick catch up ....

Monday - Love the wind! 
That was as far as I got with my blog on Monday ... It has been an eventful few 
days, of which a lot the Guardians had to keep to ourselves. It was really hard 
for me to keep what was happening from my family and friends who care .... 
but everything has been posted now by Sea Shepherd so here we go... 
a quick catch up.... 

It's Wednesday morning, 8:12, there are 5 Guardians sitting in the harbour in 
Taiji  happy that the wind has kept the boats in again (love that word, 
so I'll say it again ... again) One of the 5, me, is feeling a little
nervous ... (I can't speak for the others).

I have not witnessed a drive (thankfully) since John & I arrived here in 
Taiji. A mixture of things have prevented it.. typhoons...festivals..high 
winds and rain..
So I would have expected it to have been a quiet time here.. but these 
last few days have been anything but.... 
Monday was windy, very windy, the boats ventured out but came back so quickly as 
the sea was pitching them .. I  want to say badly, but it looked really good 
from where I was watching :) 
The afternoon was spent at the harbour and Dolphin Base as the day 
before, Sunday, we first spotted the buyer. Normally buyers cover up and try 
to hide their faces but this guy was blatant. After the first sighting we would
see him a couple of times each day, he was looking at several pens so we were 
anticipating a large transfer to happen. 
But then the unimaginable happened... it was getting late in the day... 
we had not seen any signs to indicate a transfer would happen that night ... 
I was thinking of a cool shower and something to eat when suddenly the police 
that were watching us got a call and ran to their car .... Nils, a fellow 
Cove Guardian, had been arrested. 
I can't explain how I feel because I haven't worked it out yet.  I only met 
Nils briefly, but what I saw I liked very much. Engaging smile and teasing
personality. I hope to stay his friend, outside of Sea Shepherd, as I do believe
this was not intentional and the regret he must be suffering knowing the 
damage he's caused to the campaign will be a greater punishment than anything
Japan enforces. 
German National Arrested  
We are now living with the aftermath of Nils actions. All of you who know me 
know I'm just an ordinary working Mum and I'll be honest, I'm frightened. 
All the Guardians are being extra vigilant as there is a lot of stirred up hatred 
towards us at the moment. 
But we are here to do a job and, fear or no fear, we were at the harbour 
Tuesday when the trucks, cranes, divers, skiffs all arrived to take 6 
dolphins from the sea pens to an awful existence 
in Marineland shows across Europe. 

Tuesday and today (Wednesday) have been windy, but it drops tomorrow to 10-15 mph 
coming from the North so we expect the hunters to go out. If nature 
is not on our side we must pray to luck....


Saturday, 6 October 2012


Saturday 6th October 
I am sorry for my wobble, it is behind me now. I failed.. I 
can't change it, but I can learn from it. And I can remind 
myself why I'm here with my husband and the other Guardians...
..not that that is hard as the reminders are everywhere I look. 

For anyone reading this who thinks sea pens are ok as it's 
tidal sea water rather than chemical tanks .... if the 
footage Sea Shepherd posted of the pens being smashed by 
the typhoon didn't convince you otherwise.... please look at
the picture below taken at Dolphin Base yesterday morning. 
The weather hadn't been bad, there had been a swell, but
the ocean hasn't been particularly rough... But it had 
still smashed this plank through the jetty to the pens at 

Dolphin Base. It was quickly mended before tourists arrived. But not before 
Sea Shepherd!
As I write this from the harbour in Taiji it is 6am and we are
pretty sure the boats won't go out as they are decorated with
flags for the festival this weekend. The weather is on the hunters 
side today so phew!! 

But we will hang round and watch for the next few hours just to 
be sure... 

Ooooops ! The police have just been for a little "chat" with John 
as last night a few Guardians went for a drive after dinner 
and as we drove away from Taiji John accidentally crossed a stop 
line as he approached a red light. He did not go through the 
red light. This really angered the 
police, who are always behind us, and one jumped out of the 
patrol car, ran up, banged on our car door and shouted at 
John. Really shouted. But they didn't pull him over. Today 
the police were much calmer when they spoke to John about 
it and John has apologised for his minor traffic violation. 
I wonder if the police will apologise for over reacting 
and shouting at him last night? 

The town is preparing for the festivities and the sound 
of flutes drew our attention ....  
6:56 ... the guys have fixed a waterproof camera to a monopole 
and are trying to video the fish along the edge of the harbour 
wall... there are shoals of small bright blue fish, I will have
to find out what they're called
Fish at harbour 
I hate it when boats return to the harbour. There doesn't seem 
to be a speed restriction and they motor past the sea pens 
where the captured dolphins are held. I've just watched 2  and 
the wash against the sea wall where I'm standing was pretty 
high... no wonder the the dolphins go berserk when it happens
it must be torture to their sonars. 
Looks like those same dolphins are about to be fed .. trainers 
have just taken a skiff out to them.  Our constant presence must
be annoying to the trainers as they sang in rehearsed chorus,
"Every single day". I smiled to myself and thought "Yes, 
every single day while you do what you do". They profess to 
love dolphins, but we know if it wasn't for the Cove Guardian
footage their sea pens at Dolphin Base would still be full 
of plastic and wood from the typhoon. The "love" they have 
doesn't seem to go as far as a duty of care.
If they loved them they would release them ... Simple.

9:30....We have just been relieved by another group of 
Cove Guardians so we will go and get some 
food shopping done then grab a coffee before returning.
Again I'm sorry for my wobble yesterday. Thank you for all the
messages of support. And I can promise you that it is totally 
behind me and I'm ready for my second week here with 
Sea Shepherd. 

For the Oceans!!


Friday, 5 October 2012

A low moment....

I couldn't blog last night, eat or sleep (tho' I was exhausted) ...I felt too 

That morning we'd watched the boats struggle home in a high swell bringing us 
another blue day and the mood was good with the Cove Guardians. 

I'm not going to go into too much detail about the dolphin transfer from one 
of the harbour pens because it's still too raw, and Sea Shepherd tells it 
better ..Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians Page
I was in one of the cars following that poor dolphin and can assure you that 
we did everything in our power to stay behind that truck.... writing this 
sticks in my throat as 2 cars should have had no problem following a slow 

After our failed efforts to follow the transfer the Cove Guardians went for 
an evening walk in Taiji, nobody wanted to go out to eat...... and it was 
better to walk away my frustration than the alternative which would have 
been a large red wine. The police were there to keep track of us as usual.
It was nice to have the feeling of control back...them following us ... 
if only for that short time. 

8:30am ... it's morning as I type.. a new fresh and hopefully better day. 
The boats are out again as expected  ... nature is on the hunters side 
as the seas are not too we pray that luck is on our side. 

Maybe because I am already feeling low, but for the first time in 
3 campaigns I want to book the first flight out of here. I won't ... I 
know I have to focus and grow from what happened yesterday. But right now
this minute I'm struggling to do it. I'm sat away from the other Guardians, 
including John, because I want to cry. I am sure there have been worse 
moments .. maybe I should read back through my blogs to remind myself...
 ....I can hear the excitement building behind me as 2 boats are in and 
more are spotted heading home .. they are not driving .... there are murmurs 
of another blue day..hell.... maybe I won't cry after all. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A very short blog I'm pleased to say as we have a second blue day here in Taiji

Wednesday 3rd October .... second blue day :)
4:30am sitting by the harbour wall in Taiji...there is a beautiful moon, and so 
many's warm and still.... in fact it's everything we don't want it 
to be! but we know that further out where they hunt 20+ mph winds will make the 
ocean choppy and we pray this will hinder their endeavours .....

The police met us this morning as usual and when I asked if the hunters were 
going out they replied yes. I thought they would, but you always hope .....

5:15am and we see them arriving. They hide from our cameras between bins and 
trucks ... They dont look happy, but of course they'll know how rough the sea 
will be for them..

Then off they go ... and the Cove Guardians wait begins. 
6:37am Rather than go straight to the look out point John and I decided to check 
on the dolphins at Dolphin Base. I suggested to John we just take the little 
camera....I wasn't expecting anything to photograph as they'd cleared the crap 
from the pens only yesterday.... but look at it again today!! 


8:39am and we are back in the same spot at the harbour, photographing the same 
fishermen who have just returned from a very choppy sea empty handed! It's a blue day.
I am so glad that I don't have more to share with you. It's just gone 9pm so time
here for lights out as the weather looks like it will be in their favour tomorrow 
so it's another early start for us. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Power of the social media network !!!

The peaceful moment John and I were sharing yesterday overlooking the harbour lasted all of 5 minutes as we were rounded up for a group photo at the cove. 

On route we stopped at the Dolphin Base. I hate seeing the dolphins in these small shallow pens, but my initial reaction surprised me. Watching them struggle to survive the typhoon the day before had been so traumatic that I felt relief at seeing them "safe".  But I can promise you that thought  quickly vanished ... When we looked closer we saw debris floating everywhere,..... plastic had blown in and got wrapped on fins...tails were being bashed in frustration... Omg it's an awful place.
There is only one place they should be, and that is swimming free...

With no dolphins in the cove and the boats in the harbour it was an opportunity to escape Taiji for a couple of hours and head to the hills for pizza. This meal with the CGs was do different to the one on our first night. This time people chatted happily and jokes were cracked. 

I'm here for the third time and I know how oppressive Taiji is, so I love to see people "come alive" as they escape it for a while,  John and I included. 

It's Tuesday morning 5:04. We have been watching for for the dolphin hunters to arrive since 4, the police have been to say hello and gone.  I'm drinking soup and typing this now as I have an awful feeling there won't be time to do it later .....The cove is netted again, the sea is flat and I can't imagine for a moment they will not be hunting today... 
It's now 7:50pm and I'm so very happy to be wrong ... the boats did go out, but it was a lot choppier further out to sea than we thought and, from our vantage point, we could see the 12 boats pitching over the waves ... It made me think of the dolphins in the sea pens during the typhoon, except the hunters were there by choice. 

So they came back in empty handed and we were there to greet them before setting off to Dolphin Base where we sat and watched the staff cleaning the sea pens ... oh the power of social media! ...... in less than 12 hours of the picture of the dolphin with a plastic bag wrapped round it's fin went viral the staff at Dolphin Base were ensuring that there was not one item of debris left for Sea Shepherd to photograph. What worries me is how long would they have left the dolphin swimming in all that crap if Sea Shepherd had not brought it to the worlds attention. 
But the crap wasn't just all around the dolphins ... I watched in horror today as a trainer put her arm down the throat of a dolphin and bring out a handful of rubbish, and then again bringing out a second handful, then opening his mouth to check it was all removed before making him do tricks for his food. But how much debris did he swallow as he struggled to survive the typhoon?? How much is in his stomach??? I had heard this happens from other Cove Guardians, but I had never witnessed it before. I hope I never do again.
The weather looks similar for tomorrow, we expect it to be choppy further out at sea where they hunt,  but we don't think it is wavy enough to keep them in ... so an early night for John and I. 

Monday, 1 October 2012

Typhoon Jalawat (Meaning - Carp)

Ok, so yesterday morning we were anticipating the arrival on typhoon Jelawat. 
Everything was fully charged, we had bottled water, food and torches...  Luckily 
by the time it arrived it was no longer a super typhoon, but it was still 
powerful enough to do a lot of damage and whip up the oceans. 

At the height of the storm, about 3pm, John and I ventured out with the other 
Guardians to check on the dolphins in the sea pens.  The rain was torrential  
and within minutes it was through my jacket ... Luckily the jacket we had 
purchased for the camera held out longer so we can share with you what we 
I would like here to apologise to John for laughing at the camera jacket when I 
saw it. I also seem to remember calling him a few names, like "silly" for buying 

The dolphins in the harbour pens were having a bad time, but the sea wall/ break 
water afforded them a little protection. As we watched the waves breaking over 
the sea wall we could only imagine how the water must have been churning in 
those shallow pens and how hard they must have been fighting for every breath. 

John warned me dolphins in the pens at Dolphin Base would be having a much 
harder time, but I still wasn't prepared. I won't even try to describe  what 
they were enduring, I'll just ask you look the the video clip below and ask you 
to imagine that this went on for hours and hours ..... and that this is the 17th 
typhoon to hit Japan this year. 

By about 7 pm last night the worst of the weather had passed and the Cove 
Guardians went again to check on the dolphins. It was so dark we could only take 
photographs to analyze back at the hotel, but we could see that the waters were 
much calmer. 

And this morning we woke to a beautiful sunny day... made even more beautiful 
when the boats didn't go out hunting. I'm guessing it is because they had a lot 
of work to do unsecuring their boats and putting the nets & tarps back up in the 
cove. Also the weather looks ok for the next few days ....
Once we knew the boats were staying in John and I popped back to the hotel. We 
skyped our 2 younger children ... I put cream on my insect bites ...and got an 
hours sleep. 

As I type this it's 12:22. John and I are sat on a bench  looking over the 
harbour enjoying a rare moment of peace. The police have just left us and we are 
not meeting the other Guardians till 2pm .. so if you'll excuse us ..... 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Of all the things I wanted to do before I hit 50

30th Sept (morning)

Of all the things I wanted to do before I hit 50 
I can honestly say standing out in a typhoon 
trying to photograph men buying freshly slaughtered 
dolphin meat wasn't one of them. But here I am ...

Up at the usual 5am we weren't expecting the worst 
of the typhoon till late afternoon and left the 
hotel to low winds and calm waters. Only the 
absence of the tourist boats and seeing the fishing 
boats had anchored away from the sea walls reminded 
us it was on its way. 
We arrived in Taiji to find the banger boats 
safely moored in anticipation of the typhoon. 
We checked dolphins in the sea pens and then sat 
and watched the rains arrive from the south… 
Thinking there wasn't a lot we could achieve for 
a while John and I decided to go get supplies. As 
we drove away from the town we passed a very 
surprised meat buyer with his police escort. 
They must have thought we had already 
left. U-turn!! 
And one thing lead to another, in u-turning back 
to the butcher house we stumbled across a skiff 
heading towards the cove … why would they be going 
there with the impending weather?!?! So another u-turn 
had us driving to the cove where 8 policemen watched 
us videoing the dolphin hunters remove the last of 
the nets and signs. It was lovely to see the cove 
as it should be.. a place of beauty, a place to be 
enjoyed.. It’s a shame that as soon as this weather 
passes Taiji will transform it back to be their 
dirty little secret, the thing that brings so much 
shame to their town. 
Net free cove
As I type it’s 12.30 and we can hear the winds starting to 
pick up. Soon the Cove Guardians will be going again to 
check the dolphins in the sea pens and my stomach is in 
knots. Not because I’m frightened to go out in the typhoon, 
but because I don’t want to see what I fear we are going to