We were up and out at for 6.30am but, it was as we had been told, the fishing boats were in the harbour, they hadn’t gone out this morning because of the festival. But it could also have been because of severe weather warnings. Although it’s still very warm here the wind is picking up. But I think it was because of the festival as the fishermen were starting to fly flags on their poles…see attached video.. flags It seemed surreal that they were trying to make something that is so ugly look beautiful for the festival… these boats don’t discriminate..they kill pregnant female dolphins, nursing mothers and their calves, or worse take/kill the mothers and leave the babies to their fate, which without their mothers milk and protection …well it’s not going to be a long and happy life.. Where is the economic sense in slaughtering the whole pod/family? Forgetting the ethical question for just moment…how is that sustainable? All farmers know if you are greedy and kill all your stock leaving non to breed that…....well it’s just stupid.
The Taiji festival will last 3 days, but we’ll still check each morning that the boats are in harbour.
So that was the first thing on “the to do” list today ticked.
The next on the list was much more for Elora, Yoshiko and Steven. The plan was to drive to the fisherman’s Union and for Elora to “interview” the Union President. Quick reminder, Elora is just 16!! So we had a quick strategy meeting (aka safety reminder)…before jumping in our cars and …well this is where I had a silly moment..I don’t know where my head was but I hadn’t remembered the Union was in Taiji, and as we headed into the town I went cold. Scared. Doh!! I turned to John and admitted that I’d thought Scott’s “safety review” had been a bit ott, but I’d not …doh!…remembered that the Union building was in Taiji…(like where else would it be??) Thank heaven for sunglasses as it was the only way nobody would see the fear in my eyes.. But I couldn’t not go, how could I stand by and let a 16 year old girl (even if her nic-name from Matt is “Rambo”) go into the Lions Den and me not even have the guts to stand in the car park across the road to “be there”.
So we arrived and Elora, Yoshiko and Steven all walked across the road to the building to do the interview while Scott (Elora’s Dad and SSCS Member) Patricia John and I all waited in the shop car park. Since we arrived here we have worn our Sea Shepherd t-shirts, we don’t hide the fact we are supporters, and as people walked past us (lots of people as it’s a busy shop) we could see the fear, suspicion, dislike in their eyes and I was starting to feel like a leper till a “crocodile” of school kids walked past us….they smiled, waved said hello and it was encouraged by their teachers. It warmed my heart.
The Union guys would not speak to Elora, well they did….. but only to put a hand up to her face and tell her they did not appreciate her blog… Scott (aka Dad) went across the road to be by her side and after a dialog which was starting to get louder (we could hear it) Scott and Elora walked away. They came back to watch with us leaving Yosiko and Steven speaking with the Union. All credit to them they were there for over an hour. I wont try and explain what was achieved, except to say I’ll post a link to a blog soon with the details and that it was possibly a step. I’m praying it was a step.
Okay, so I was only standing across the road in support… but today I really feel like I’ve made a difference. I feel like every penny spent getting here (kids Christmas fund included) was worth it for just this day. Like the visa card advert..priceless.
I am very relieved to say that there was no physical aggression .. And the icing on the cake is that I had the opportunity to watch “Private Space” in action………cool.
For the Oceans, with Sea Shepherd …our little bit…