After a hot can of coffee, we headed to the cars. The first stop was to check out the Kii-Katsuura fish market. I think I may be a vegetarian now. When I get home, I want to go see where everything that I eat comes from.
The feelings driving up to Taiji were mixed, on one hand I didn’t want the boats to go out so the dolphins would be safe, on the other that’s why I’m here, to record what’s happening so that the world can see it. At first, we didn’t see the banger boats at the dock. But after a closer look, they were there. They were all in the harbor. What a perfect gift for Kim’s birthday.
At the end of the harbor, I got out of the car to take some pictures. While I was photographing the butcher house, men in 2 cars and a scooter came right at me. I was careful not to go past any of the no trespassing signs. They went running past to the banger boat. My heart sank. I was sure that they were going for dolphins and at the rate they were going this pod must be close. Martyn, Kim and I drove up the hill to see where they were headed and to keep an eye out for the other boats. So far none had joined them.
Martyn had his binoculars up and a huge smile came over his face. I can’t write what he said because he’s a Brit and his English is a little sketchy. Roughly translated, a boat has capsized. Martin radioed to the others and let them know what was happening. Soon, all of us were on the hill watching the rescue of the small craft. Again the dolphins were safe and Kim’s birthday could be a happy one.
Later that afternoon, we raced back to Taiji to witness the transport of dolphins. Apparently, one of our crew had seen a crane in position. By the time we returned it was gone. A trained dolphin or two are on their way to a new prison. I’ve heard that one of these trained dolphins sells for $300,000. When you drive around Taiji, you see a huge industry feeding a small town. Ending it will put stress on the economy. It reminds me of the spotted owl in Washington State and how efforts to save it from extension nearly wiped out the small logging community of Forks. Since the book Twilight, Forks is fine. Maybe we can get someone to write a vampire book set in Taiji.
The fact is this economy is based on an evil, immoral act and it needs to be shut down. The lucky captured dolphins are sold into slavery. Most are slaughtered and sold labeled as whale meat. Nowhere on the label is the mercury content listed. The slave market and meat sales are really just a side benefit to ridding the ocean of a fierce competitor for fish.
I have hope. Looking around the dinner table, I saw young, compassionate people from many countries, fighting for what is right and just in the world.
More photos from the day can be seen here.