Today was hard work and a bit of an emotional roller coaster.
Started at o-dark-hundred again, with the trip to our vantage point over the boat harbor before sunrise. Another beautiful sunrise, however it was totally ruined by the sight of the twelve banger boats being led through the harbor mouth by the Harpoon boat.
By 6:30, we had noticed four of the boats were close together in what seemed to be a driving formation. Soon we could see the spray from the pod of dolphins they were chasing. Once we saw the white spray from the pod that was being chased, it was obvious that this was not going to be a good day.
As a fifth boat joined the drive, Rosie and the three new Cove Guardians headed to a different location to get a better view of the drive as it entered the cove ( like I am an old hand hand, now that I am on my second day……..).
For the next couple of hours an elaborate game of cat and mouse… Or Dolphin and murdering bastard.. was played out. The banger boats would start to drive the pod, and then they would stop, after having obviously lost the dolphins. A few minutes later smoke would billow from the stacks, as the boats powered after the dolphins. Gradually all of the banger boats joined the drive. From time to time we could make out the white water of the pod, but as the wind got up and the boats got further out, it became more difficult to tell where the pod was.
Around 9:30 all twelve boats were lined up, but a lot further out than they had been. We had not seen the pod clearly for almost a hour, and the boats did not seem to be moving. They were obviously still near the pod, or else they would have dispersed. It was a tense time as we waited to see what was going on, hoping against hope that the pod had escaped. None of the experienced watchers had seen this behavior before, and we had to wonder whether it was some new tactic, or whether the Dolphins had eluded the Hunters.
Eventually the boats powered up again and headed toward us. For a little while it was unclear as to whether the boats were coming in or driving the pod again. Eventually it became obvious that they had given up and were headed to shore. Empty handed. Cool. Now all we had to worry about was the harpoon boat.
Around midday the harpoon vessel returned to port, and like the banger boats it was empty… A good day. I stayed at our vantage point to ensure that the boat was indeed empty, and then headed down to docks to pay my respects to the crew as they came ashore. The girls were already waiting for them, having returned from their vantage point, via the dolphin resort. It seemed that these big tough dolphin hunters were scared of four girls with cameras, and had called the police, to make sure that the Big Scary Cove Guardians didn’t hurt them as they departed their vessel.
The police came and had a word to the ladies, but it was obvious that their heart wasnt in it…