We've been told that the fishermen will not be working on Saturdays anymore until after the new year, and when we went out to check this morning all was calm and quiet in the harbor. What a great way to start the day, knowing that no dolphins will be slaughtered in Taiji! The fishermen took the day off so we got the day off as well! I got to play tourist today and visit areas outside of Taiji and KiiKatsuura. We took the opportunity to drive to Nachi Falls, the highest waterfall in Japan, and see the nearby temples. It was a long and exhausting hike up the rock stairs, but once we got to the top we had a spectacular view. It was such a beautiful area, both the natural scenery and the cultural architecture. As we were walking through I saw a post that said in English "May peace prevail on Earth" and what I'm assuming is the Japanese translation. What a beautiful and powerful thought, in such a cultural area of Japan. I couldn't help but think about the war at the cove. After looking around for a while we walked back down and continued past the parking lot to a viewing area at the base of the waterfall. There was an area for prayers and candle lighting, so I lit a candle and said a prayer for the sentiments of that sign; I prayed for peace to prevail for the dolphins of Taiji.
It has been six days since dolphins have been slaughtered in the cove. If the weather is decent tomorrow, which it's supposed to be, I imagine the fishermen will be working hard to find another innocent pod to eliminate or enslave. Their catch this year is extremely far behind where they were at this day last year. As of December 10th 2010, about 440 dolphins had been killed. This year they've only killed about 50% of that. We're halfway through the season and they've caught about 10% of their total kill quota. This is good news and bad. Good, for obvious reasons, fewer dolphins have been murdered. But WHY have fewer dolphins been killed? The pod sizes they're driving in are much smaller this year, and there have been many days that they've come back to the harbor empty handed. It's definitely possible that they're finding pods but unable to drive them in, but there's also the fact that there are fewer and fewer dolphins now swimming along coast of Japan. Many (if not most) have killed here at the hands of these fishermen. It would be interesting to know the population size from year to year, but of course no research has been done on this.
It's a beautifully clear night here in Japan. We sat in Taiji for a while and watched the full moon rising in the sky, throwing a bright reflection into cove. Dolphins will look up at that sky tonight and see the twinkle of stars surrounding an eclipsed moon. For some, this may be the last time they see the moon and the stars. Hopefully our candle burns bright through the night and our prayers are answered, and peace will prevail on Earth.