Yes, I'm back home. I still have a few things to say about my time in Taiji, but before I get there, I'd like to skip to what happened the day I left.
Monday started normally. We left for the harbor around 5:30 AM, with my luggage in the car, so I could go straight from "active duty" to the train (to the plane). Nine boats went out to hunt, which was better than most days, when eleven of their twelve went out. Once we were sure all the boats were out, we went to one of our elevated lookout points. The sea looked pretty calm, but there was a bit of motion to it. I could only hope it was worse where the boats were headed; the rougher the sea, the harder it is to find dolphins (and I wouldn't mind them getting a raging bout of seasickness either).
I said my goodbyes and left for the train. When I got to the airport a few hours later, I checked Sea Shepherd's Twitter while waiting to depart. Here's what I found:
Taiji: 5 killing boats in drive formation just 2 miles north of Taiji. 7:57am
Taiji: Pod being driven by 4 killing boats toward Taiji. 5 other boats remain at sea. 8:09am
Taiji: Dolphins driven into harbor. Five killing boats now joined with two net skiffs. 8:34am
Taiji: There is no hope for this pod now as they are being netted into cove. 9:08am
Taiji: Blood bath has begun...This pod is now under tarps at cove and being slaughtered one by one. 9:34am
Taiji: The murder is finished. The bodies are being thrown onto skiffs and soon will be heading toward butcherhouse. 9:56am
And that, my friends, is when I burst into tears in the middle of an airport. Sorry.
In the two weeks I was in Japan, four dolphins were taken into captivity (more on that later), and one was killed, under a tarp, hidden from view. The moment I left Taiji, 98 pan tropical spotted dolphins, including many babies and juveniles, were murdered. I know I'm not responsible for this. Even if I was in Taiji, I wouldn't have been able to stop it. Yet I can't help feeling like I abandoned them to their fate. It's one of the worst feelings in the world.
Here's a video a fellow volunteer in Taiji took that day. Some viewers may find it triggering, but if you can, please watch it; the dolphins don't get to opt out of experiencing it, so why should we?
Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians will be on the ground in Taiji until at least April 1. To learn more about the project, get involved or lend your support, please CLICK.