Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Good cove, bad cove

One of these beaches is a place of beauty and serenity - the other is a place of horror. I have 2 stories to tell today:

Crystal Cove, Orange County, California (top image)
When I lived at Waterman Village Retirement Community while my Mom and Del's house was being renovated, I met a woman named Martha. We were talking one day in November and she told me that one of her proudest accomplishments was saving the Crystal Cove beach cottages, which date back to the 1920s. Martha actively opposed their planned destruction and was instrumental in having them placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. All 46 of the cottages still stand and 22 have been restored to reflect their vintage eras, and can be rented year-round. They are located in the historic district of what is now Crystal Cove State Park.

Hatagiri Bay, Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan (2nd image)
At my stepfather Del's recommendation, I watched the documentary "The Cove" and found it very moving. As the photo shows, the water in this cove turns red with blood - that of thousands of dolphins killed each year between September and March. The animals are herded from their annual migration into the inlet (which is in a national park, by the way) and trapped. A few are sold live to dolphinariums and all the rest are butchered for food. Not only is the slaughter depleting the population of these most intelligent creatures, the meat is dangerous to eat because it is full of mercury. That is kept secret by marketing it to the Japanese as whalemeat, and the cove is kept secret so that the world will not find out about this. The cause to make this secret slaughter public has been taken up by Ric O'Barry, who trained dolphins for the TV series "Flipper" and feels personally responsible for popularizing the captivity of dolphins. His activism to free them began when one of them purposely died in his arms. Under threat of death, he put together a team to secretly document this animal abuse. After you watch the film, you may - like I did - want to sign the petition.

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