Friday, March 25, 2011

To everyone who has helped us return home...

To everyone who has helped us return home,

We've received word from Delta Airlines that they'll be compensating us for our emergency flights back to the US, and since then we've been debating what we should do with the remainder of the donations that were sent to our Paypal account. Our minds and our hearts are with the people in Japan who have lost their livelihoods and their loved ones, so we've decided that the majority of our donations would be given to the Otsuchi Relief fund ( to aid them in their relief efforts. This fund was set up by their sister city of Fort Bragg, CA, and considering that Otsuchi is by far the most devastated area of Japan we feel that our money will have the greatest impact there. The rest of the funds will be recycled back into future Sea Shepherd dolphin protection campaigns and also to reimburse a few groups and organizations that helped us with other expenses during our emergency evacuation.

The support from the animal rights and environmentalist community has been absolutely amazing, and we want everyone to know how truly thankful and grateful we are for all the donations and support we've received during our ordeal. It's incredibly moving to see the amount of effort that was put into our return, and all the kind words and warm welcomes we received when returning home has helped ease some of the pain and anxiety we had experienced over the last week. We are truly lucky to be alive.

As of now more than half of the city of Otsuchi is dead or missing. If you have the means, please consider donating to their relief efforts and to Japan Animal Rescue.

We oppose all industries that profit off of animal abuse and exploitation. We support the efforts of the Japanese people to rebuild and return to economic stability, but we do not support the actions of the small group of individuals who profit off of murder and exploitation. We do not share the beliefs of the porpoise fisherman, but we will stand in solidarity with the effected people of Japan and do what we can to help them rebuild their communities and their lives.

With respect for the oceans, wildlife and the people of Japan,
Mike, Carisa and Marley

Saturday, March 12, 2011

We are safe and sound in Tono, Japan.

Well I think it is safe to say that we have experienced the most horrific event of our lives, the Otsuchi and Kamaichi tsunami.  We were safe the entire time because we drove to the top of a hill overlooking the town, but we watched over the city of Otsuchi as it was completely destroyed. We had just finished filming some of the porpoise fishermen in the harbor when the earthquake hit. It was so strong we almost got knocked to the ground, the cars were shaking violently. Thanks to the quick thinking of Brian and Scott we drove to the top of this hill overlooking the town, and what seemed like minutes later the tsunami hit. A 50 foot surge of water reduced the city to ruins. Their tsunami wall was washed out to sea, everything was completely destroyed. The ocean receded and then rushed back in more then 10 times, the entire ocean floor was exposed. We saw houses floating in the water, cars floating, a ferry boat was washed on top of a house, and what didn't get destroyed by the wave quickly caught fire. We were stuck on this hill because the road at the bottom on either side was completely gone. The worst thing I experienced was this woman who was sitting on a roof of something getting washed out to see and we did everything we could to try and save her for hours, we even commandeered a fire truck that was left on the hill and had the one Japanese girl who was stuck with us radio for help and use the loudspeaker to make a call for help. We had nothing, no boat, and we listened for hours as she screamed for help. When a local fishing boat finally did hear our loudspeaker, he looked for her, but as far as we know he didn't find her, she stopped yelling. The hardest thing we had to do was stop looking for her and take shelter in our rental cars for the night. We spent the night in our rental cars, we had a local Japanese girl with us named Iuka and we gave her power bars, water and she slept in the warm cars with us, and in the morning we got up and started seeing the dead bodies, a woman hanging from a tree, the wave left her there, people in cars, total devastation. It took us an entire day to walk out of the town, rubble doesn't even describe it. The only way I can describe it, would be if a giant scraped up the entire city in his palms, crumpled it up and sprinkled it back down onto the ground. Hundreds of cars crumpled, folded in half, any wooden houses were either reduced to matchsticks, or they had floated whole into parking lots, on top of other buildings, some where upside down. There wasn't one thing left standing, it looked like a nuclear wasteland. Amidst all of this the locals helped us and gave us food, and we offered our extra water and blankets. There were small camps set up with survivors cooking rice, their dead loved ones lined up under blankets. Everywhere we looked there were people carrying bodies. We finally made it to safety after climbing over the ruins of houses and walking over burning rubble that was melting the bottom of our shoes, propane tanks were exploding around us. One thing that was creepy was the sea life everywhere, fish octopus, scallops, all washed onto the shore. Since the earthquake there have been constant aftershocks, literally every hour or so we get woken up by shaking, not nearly as big as the original, but this place is just rumbling. Thank you everyone so much for your support, the entire time we felt so helpless because we were totally fine but we couldn't let anyone know. 
There will be more detailed accounts posted later, and you can also check out the Sea Shepherd website for some pics and video.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We have arrived in Otsuchi, Japan!

We left Osaka airport at 3pm yesterday, slept in our rental car during a snowstorm, got up at 3 am to continue our drive and arrived in Otsuchi, Japan at dinner time today.  What a drive, more than 1000km's!

We have arrived in Otsuchi to film the largest slaughter of cetaceans in the world, the Dall's porpoise slaughter.

More than 15,000 Dall's porpoise's are being killed in this area every year, around 7000 a year in this particular city.

We head out tomorrow to meet the fisherman and the police and to start documenting their every move.  The porpoises are killed in a hand harpoon hunt and they then bring the dead animals to shore for processing.  We will be documenting them bringing in the dead animals, as much of the processing as we can, the loading and the transport of the animals.  We will also make an attempt to find the businesses who are selling the meat.

Originally our intentions were to document the final three weeks of the dolphin slaughter in Taiji and that is what we set our budgets for but the hunt in Taiji has stopped for some unknown reason.  Our new destination is proving to be much more expensive with a rental car, a 2000km drive and a different hotel.  At this point we do not have the funds to stay here for the entire three weeks we originally intended to unless we secure some more donations.  All money donated will enable us to stay here longer and continue to document the horror of the hunt, and every day we stay here puts more pressure on the fishermen, the city of Otsuchi, and the Japanese government to stop the Dall's porpoise massacre.  Please donate by clicking on our paypall button!

Wish us luck tomorrow, we will have pictures and video up as soon as we return from the harbor tomorrow!!

For information on the slaughter we are investigating check out this site:

Marley, Mike and Carisa

Monday, March 7, 2011

And we are off!!

Well here we are waiting for our flight in the Vancouver airport reflecting on how supportive our friends, family and total strangers have been to us!

On Wed March 2nd we had our Dinner for the Dolphins at Armani's and we raised almost $2000!!  We are so thankful to Gord at Armani's, everyone who donated items for the auction, and all the fabulous people who came out and bid!!

Thank you to everyone who came to our screening of the Cove at Green Cuisine on Saturday and thank you to Uncle Rob for letting us use your flatscreen!!

We are also incredibly thankful to 3G in Vancouver for buying the rest of our shirts to sell in the restaurant!  You can now buy our t-shirts for $20 at 3G vegan buddhist restaurant 3424 Cambie St in Van!!  The best vegan food in the city!

So we fly out tonight at 1:30 AM and we will spend the next several days traveling to our destination in Japan.  Please keep checking back for updates!

Wish us luck!  At this point we are feeling pretty positive about our trip, something happened today that I have never experienced before and I have been traveling on BC Ferries for 25 years.  About a half hour into our journey on the boat, we looked out and saw porpoises everywhere.  They were flying past our boat jumping and splashing water everywhere.  They followed us for about half an hour, the very same species that are being murdered in Japan.  Seeing them today has validated our desire to protect these animals from anyone who intends to cause them harm.  As an extension of self defense on behalf of all cetaceans, this is us standing up and fighting back.

Marley, Mike and Carisa
The Cove Guardians