I walk in Camps Bay every day, not always knowing what I will see or experience. Yesterday the beachfront was a hive of activity, with a film shoot for what I learnt was for sequels 2 and 3 of a 2018 movie ‘The Kissing Booth’, aired on Netflix. Continue reading →
* Ghanaian rapper D Black has been holidaying in Cape Town, his Instagram and Twitter (with 146000 followers!) shows. He visited Robben Island, Table Mountain,CampsBay, and the V&A V & A Waterfront. He also recorded with local musician Donald in Denial.
* Cape Town has been named by National Geographic as the second best Beach City in the world, the Clifton beaches mentioned specifically for their protection against the wind and expensive accommodation. The False Bay beaches, as well as Milnerton and Blouberg, are referred to. Number one is Barcelona, with its Barcenoleta Beach. The rest of the Beach City ranking is Honolulu (Waikiki Beach), Nice’s three beaches, Miami Beach, Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Santa Monica, Sydney’s Bondi, Tel Aviv, and Vancouver’s ten beaches.
* SA Tourism, host of INDABA 2015, is describing the trade show as one which will exceed the expectations of both Continue reading →
Whales and dolphins are an emotive topic, and Oscar-winning Best Documentary “The Cove” pulls out all the stops in appealing to the hearts of viewers of its documentary about the dolphin capture and slaughter in Taija in Japan.
The story starts with Ric O’Barry, who was an actor in the ‘Flipper’ TV series many years ago. When the beloved dolphin ‘star’ of the series dies in his arms, in a suicide he says, he saw the light, and realised that it is cruel to keep dolphins in captivity. Dolphins are particularly sound-sensitive, and any noise in a captive environment will make dolphins kill themselves. Since he became aware of this, O’Barry became a dolphin activist, and was arrested on many occasions, being caught whilst releasing dolphins kept in captivity.
When he heard about the bottle-nose dolphins that are cornered into a cove in Taiji by means of a banging sound from fishing boats, and then captured for resale to dolphinariums and aquariums around the world, at an income of $ 150 000 each, or killed for the sale of their meat, he decides that he must get involved, despite the danger this entails. He connects with the Ocean Preservation Society, which takes on his cause, and he and its leader Louie Psihoyos, a previous National Geographic photographer who becomes the executive director of the movie, assemble a team of dedicated activists that believe in protecting dolphins. Jointly the team installs underwater cameras and sound equipment in the cove, as well as on the hillside overlooking it, in a dangeous operation, so that the torrid actions of the Japanese fishermen can be documented for the world to see. The red sea water after each killing is enough to get every cinema-goer involved.
Two further themes run through the movie. Firstly, much footage comes from the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) 2006 meeting in St Kitts, which reflects the Japanese registering new members they pay to vote in favour of their whaling activities. Many of them are islands in the Bahamas. In the Commission meeting many of these are filmed sleeping during the proceedings, and not knowing which whale types pass by their countries! It shows the IWC to be an ineffective organisation, which does not concern itself with the preservation of dolphins and porpoises, even though they are defined as whale species. It also documents the abuse of the Japanese in being allowed whaling for “scientific research” purposes. This is what the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is fighting in the Antarctic, south of Australia, actively attacking Japanese whaling boats in this whale sanctuary, to prevent them from killing whales. The Society’s founder and leader Captain Paul Watson is as determined to stop the slaughter of whales as is Ric O’Barry in stopping the slaughter of dolphins.
Secondly, the documentary presents information that the 23 000 dolphins that are killed in Japan annually are sold as whale meat, unbeknown to the Japanese population, that would not touch dolphin meat as food. Despite this, a school feeding programme had intended to serve dolphin meat to children at Japanese schools, until the results of the research initiated by the Ocean Preservation Society proved that dolphin meat contains poisonous levels of mercury. The dolphin meat school feeding programme was stopped as a result.
Each of the activists that participated in the dangerous mission, and the documentary producers and cameramen deserve an Oscar for their brave actions, which could have led to their arrest. O’Barry, the initiator of the dolphin rescue action, has expressed his regret for ever making dolphin petting and dolphin training popular via the “Flipper” TV series.
Actress and singer Hayden Panettiere and her boxing champion boyfriend Vladimir Klitschko recently visited Taiji, Osaka and Tokyo to focus attention on her ‘Save the Whales Again!’ campaign, on the strength of the outrage that ‘The Cove’ has created, and to encourage the fishermen of Taiji to make their money from other means.
Recently producer Louie Psihoyos took on a sushi restaurant, called Hump, in Santa Monica, and exposed that it serves whale meat. It has since closed its doors.
The documentary encourages viewers to take part in the campaign to save dolphins. Its website www.takepart.com invites viewers to write to their leaders and to spread the word about what the Japanese are doing in Taiji; to learn more about the effect on dolphins of being kept in captivity; to calculate one’s own mercury exposure; to assist ‘Save Japan Dolphins’; and to send donations to the filmmakers. More information about the movie can be read at www.thecovemovie.com.
POSTSCRIPT 23/10: Earlier this week Cape Town dolphin-lovers showed their support to the dolphins of Japan and of the International Save Japan’s Dolphins Day, by hanging three blood-covered dolphin replicas from the unfinished highway in the Cape Town city centre. We are grateful to the photographer Jordi Matas for the use of the photograph (www.portfolio.jordimatas.net).
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com