Monday, November 29, 2010


Time is short today but I want to take a minute and share some great blog posts.

Taiji Dolphin Action Group shares a report from Japan that will increase worker safety and decrease pollution associated with the kill. Nothing about ending the kills associated with the kill.

Scott West's take on the Embassy of Japan's First Secretary, Shuya Nakatsuka's letter to ten year old William Dubord who just left the cove.

Carrie Dubord shares her thoughts on her last days at the cove

Martyn Stewart is welcomed to the cove on a barbaric day.

Elora West writes about finding the Nisshin Maru.

The boats are out. Make your calls. Send your emails.

For the souls of the oceans

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Energy You Put Out

Last month, I was really on the fence about going to the cove, but I kept getting little signs. One day, I was flipping through a magazine and stumbled upon an article on the area around Osaka. It struck a chord; I looked into tickets, and booked a flight. I sent emails to Sea Shepherd telling them I was coming and offered to ferry anything they may need. I didn’t know where I was going to stay or how I was going to get to the cove. The email I got back, spelled out everything. With the trip pretty well mapped out, I was able to follow the blogs of other cove guardians and get a sense of what’s coming.

Last night, as I was watching the Oregon Ducks win another game, an old friend called. We hadn’t talked since taking Tai Chi together over 3 years ago. I was telling him about my upcoming trip and he said, “You should see if any of the Buddhist Temples in Seattle are connected to ones in Japan. Maybe you can sit with a monk over there and see if there’s another way to approach this.” Great idea! So last night and this morning I hit Google and sent out a rash of emails to temples here in Seattle. I wish I had started this sooner. I leave Tuesday.

I remembered the article I’d read last month and the beautiful Buddhist Temples in the area. I found the article, the name of a monk and I was back to Google and sent more emails. I finally tracked down someone that could put me in touch with a monk in Japan. More than the contact information, the support that I got from this person was amazing. I still haven’t heard back from the monk, but I’m getting closer and getting fueled for this adventure with every email.

I love how things fall into place with just a little bit of energy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Hard Act to Follow

Have you been following the story of Carrie and William? This diminutive single mom and her 10 year old son from Dallas changed their vacation plans after seeing The Cove. Their heartfelt blog lays out their journey and is worth a read. The day before they were to leave, as the dolphins were being driven into the cove, Carrie jumped into the water and swam toward the nets. This caused just a bit of a stir, a skiff was driven at her. The man in the boat held up a sign. Police came. She returned to the shore on her own and was given a waning. Scott West’s blog shows a strong police contingent at the cove the next day. As he says, “They were taking no chances today with Carrie on the loose.” This makes me smile. He goes on to say, “One has to wonder if this is a good use of Japanese taxpayer’s money for it seems the money would be better spent providing job re-training for the molesters.”

My wife is convinced that if a man were to jump in the water that the police would cart him off. I really don’t have time for jail right now so, I won’t find out if she’s right or not. I’m looking forward to being there and being a voice for the dolphins. As this video says, you should too.

Save Japan Dolphins from Mark Berry on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It’s Thanksgiving in Taiji

A week from today I arrive at The Cove to bear witness to the slaughter of dolphins by Japanese “fisherman”. I hate that my first trip to Japan bypasses some of the most holy land in the country. There are many ancient Buddhist and Shinto temples in this area. My train will skirt past these temples and take me to where some 2000 dolphins are slaughtered each year.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the cove guardians bearing witness and sharing the details of this horrible practice with the world. I’m especially thankful to Carrie, who, after witnessing the slaughter of the dolphins, dove into the cove. She was detained by police in front of her ten year old son and later released with a warning. This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that I’m married to a wonderful woman that loves dolphins and whales more than I do and is supporting me on my journey.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Leah's Video: The Taiji 3–A True Story

Leah Lemieux made this video after her recent return from Taiji. It's hard to watch but it reflects why I have to go.

You can read more from Leah on her blog, Rekindling the Waters.

Waiting to Hear

Right around lunchtime the reports from Taiji start to come in on whether or not the boats are going out. These past weeks my walks to lunch have been a little less happy knowing that the boats are out or from reading reports from the slaughter of the day before. The reality of the situation starts to take it's toll on you.

It was 17 degrees this morning. It rarely gets this cold in the Seattle area especially not this early in the season. Our attention went to the birds in the yard this morning. Do they have food and water. It's important during these harsh conditions that we make sure they get what they need.

So, while we are waiting to hear, make sure you get what you need. Take a walk, eat well, be with freinds... You (and I) need to stay healthy and strong to keep up the battle.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Nine Baby Dolphins

One of Steven Severson’s goals on his trip to Taiji was to find out what happened to the nine baby dolphins that were captured and taken to the Whale Museum. I believe the short answer, roughly translated, was, “what dolphins?”

The great news is that for four straight days, no dolphins have been driven into the cove. Yesterday, the boats didn’t even go out. This allowed the guardians free time to see the Whale Museum and try to find out the fate of the little ones. The following blogs paint a pretty grim picture of the place.

Steven Severson writes about Disappearing Dolphins. You can also follow Steven on Facebook

Here 10 year old William shares the tears his mom sheds seeing the dolphins in small tanks.

Elora West drove the the guardians to the museum but stayed in the car. I completely understand and support Elora's reasons. At the same time, I’m thankful to the ones that did go in because now I don’t feel a need to see it. They did a fine job documenting the carnage and pain in that place. Elora is on Facebook too.

Scott West writes on ecology and adds a call to action. Please help if you can.

It’s my turn a week from Thursday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's Wonderful

I love the reports from Taiji that announce the boats returning to port without dolphins. It means a day without families being slaughtered. The reality though is that it’s just a day. The Japanese are determined to kill whales and dolphins. They have over fished the Blue Tuna to near extinction. It really boggles my mind that Japan, an island nation, wouldn’t take better care of the waters and life that surround them. Japan should be a leader in ocean health. They could stop their over fishing and whaling practices and then get in the world’s face about cleaning up their act. Instead, it seems we are in a race to use the last of everything.

12 days

Friday, November 19, 2010

if not me...

It was a good day in the Cove yesterday. The boats returned empty handed.

Reading this news on Scott West’s blog, I was thrilled. Then I glanced at the photo at the bottom of the page and see that there are only 6 Guardians now. A young man, William and his mom have just arrived at the cove. William writes a heck of a blog. You can follow him here. If you're passionate about this or another cause, take the leap. Give up some of your vacation time or frequent flier miles and go be part of it. If you can't find the time but still want to help, there are Guardians looking for support. Scott has a list of future Guardians on his blog. Sponsor someone. It will make you feel good. I promise.

I’m looking forward to joining the guardians next month. I wish I was there now and could stay longer. But, life just seems to get in the way. In the meantime, I can write letters and make phone calls. It’s time that we take whales and dolphins off the dinner table around the world and let them live in peace.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Do I Really Want to be a Cove Guardian?

I read the blogs from those at the cove and I wonder, what the hell am I doing? Some of these folks have been witnessing the slaughter for months and it appears to be taking its toll on them. How will I do? I’m not an activist. I’m just a small businessman drawn to this by some unknown force. Here’s what the bloggers are saying today:

A Teenage Activist

“How does one start a blog… when they are so disgusted with humanity that they can’t even think straight? I have a lump in my stomach and I can’t get rid of it… I want to break down and cry, but I can’t…. I am so disgusted with being human… I have lost all faith I ever had in humanity. It’s something I cannot explain, us Cove Guardians can’t even explain it to each other. This feeling. But we all feel it, and we all know how it feels.”

Big Gunns missions

“A message to all you tough guys out there that could care less. It doesn't make you tough to be able to stand there and watch this without feeling something. What it makes you is heartless and I feel sorry for you.”

Photographic Activism

“Just when we think watching a dolphin slaughter can't possibly get any worse, it does. Today was probably my worst day yet in Japan. A horrible day to usher me out of the country.”

Memoirs of a Cove Guardian

“Words cannot describe the thoughts racing through my mind today...The atrocities witnessed on this day are causing my blood to boil. If any trace of respect for these disgusting men remaind in me, it has now been removed. For those of you who believe that I should try to understand and work with these murderers, you really do not have a concept of the deranged actions that these killers are capable of.”

Maybe when you have to do something, wanting to or not has to take a back seat. If I don’t do it, who will?

Please make phone calls, send emails and faxes, and let them know that you want this to end.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Bloody Day in the Cove

With the bits I can piece together from Taiji today, over 50 dolphins were driven into the cove, nine babies were taken to the whale museum, and the rest were slaughtered. The “fishermen” work fast. I try to find the head space these men are in. I have to assume that they don’t know about the complex family structures or high levels of mercury or hear the screams. I’ll be at the cove in two weeks, I’ll get to see the men that do this and look them in the eye.

There’s a big gap between those that think these beings are as intelligent as humans and deserve to swim free in the ocean with their families and those that see them as food, entertainment and competition for fish. We need to narrow the gap.

Here’s a video from Big Gunns today, it's lunchtime on the gutting barge

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Taiji Five

Lisa and I were trying to piece together our first awareness of Taiji. In the file cabinet, Lisa found copies of her work including the incident when 10 orcas were driven into the cove back in February 1997. Five were selected for aquariums, the Taiji Five. She was working with Bob Chorush, Paul Spong and others at CFN (Cetacean Freedom Network) to craft letters and organize efforts to free this family. The story is tragic but it’s interesting to look back and see activists embrace the power of the internet and media. Lisa was interviewed in our home by KOMO TV and afterwards they sent a crew to Taiji for a firsthand account. It lead the local news for days. I wish we had a copy of the interview. Lisa came off great. The poor Japanese embassy spokesman looked confused. It was a small victory and nearly 14 year later, we’re still fighting to end the drive fisheries. It’s important to keep fighting. As Will Anderson said at the Japan Dolphin Day Protest in Seattle recently, This will end.

Here's a video showing the capture and updates from the ten year anniversary.

I am so impressed with these mammals. They are known to kill great white sharks and whales many times their own size yet they allow their captors to contain them and to violently separate them from their families. It makes me think of the nonviolent ways of Gandhi or the Dalia Lama. I wish the orcas and dolphins would fight back, but they are probably more spiritually evolved than I am.

Great news from the cove today, the boats came back empty!

No Blood, No Problem

I've been wondering if the “fishermen” have made an effort to reduce the blood and screen their activities from the public. I remember seeing video of the slaughter in the early 90s and the blood and screaming of the whales was more vivid and intense than in the movie The Cove. It looks to me that efforts are being made to cover it up even more after the movie. The local blue tarp dealer must be doing very well. There is still blood in the water and screaming dolphins and babies watching their mothers being killed. It does seem that they are making an effort to reduce the blood. I saw a video of them dragging two dolphins until they suffocated. No blood.

I saw this in Scott West’s Blog today, “I learned from a reporter today that the molesters are under pressure from the Japan fisheries department to better conceal their activities from our cameras. It seems that the pressure on the embassies, consulates, businesses, and other governments is being felt in Tokyo. Keep it up! Every time dolphins are pushed into the cove, let them have it. Every time there is blood in the water, let them have it. Not only do the molesters want to hide from us, but so too does the government.”

Covering up the carnage might make it harder to gain support from the public but it doesn’t make the slaughter any less horrible. Here’s a list of email addresses and phone numbers. Be heard. Don’t let them hide.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Good Day at the Cove

According to Elora West, the boats returned without dolphins today. It would be wonderful if this is how it went every day that I'm there.

I'm trying to figure out how to rent a car while in Japan.

Maybe I'll take the train.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Japan Dolphin Day International Protest

Seattle October 14, 2010

This was the day it started for me. Lisa has fought for the whales for years while I played a support role. After attending this rally, I watched The Cove and my journey to witness the atrocities firsthand was underway.

It’s ironic; I think I’m a fairly conventional, logical person. When I go on vacation, I like to have it all laid out, hotels, transportation, meal stops. This is completely not like me. My son said, "this is the craziest thing you’ve ever done." I found dates that United would let me use my miles and booked my flights. I don’t know where I’m staying or how I’m getting to Taiji or any Japanese. All I know is that I have to go.

Scott West from Sea Shepherd has been very helpful filling in some details for me. Louie Psihoyos, the director of The Cove, was kind enough to give me some pointers. Everywhere I turn there’s support and little signs that encourage me. I’m most impressed with Scott’s daughter’s blog. She’s seeing a lot of awful stuff and reporting on it clearly every day.

I hope my presence at the cove will make a difference and help put an end to this senseless slaughter.