Posted by: Dolphinelle~Barbara Napoles | June 28, 2015

On the Road to Taiji -65 days left

65 days and counting!

65 days and counting!

June 27, 2015 ~ 65 days left to Taiji.

About ten years ago in 2005, there was a stranding in the Florida Keys of 80 rough-toothed dolphins years after my daughter’s passing. There was something in me that day when I heard the news that called out to me and made want to get back our into this world. After the loss of my young daughter depression was my friend and we lived in a dark abyss.

There was a young dolphin fighting to live, and that one dolphin, a young juvenile that had a great spirit and won my admiration for her. Her wild spirit showed me that I should try to rejoin the human race again.  I started on a new journey not only for self-preservation but preservation of our world resources and of her marine animal kingdom. You see I lived aboard a sailboat and loved sailing the Bahamas and had had a many wild dolphin encounters on my many voyages.

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Young juvenile rough-tooth dolphin.

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CNN cameras recording training on how to handle a stranded dolphin.

The fact that our oceans are dying, choking from the plastic pollution, oil pollution and being raped by over-fishing made me want to be a voice for the voiceless and here I am 10 years later on my way to Taiji, Japan.

Recently I visited Miami, had the opportunity to  visit  great friend and mentor; Ric O’Barry at this home in South Miami off the corner of “Richard O’Barry Drive.” Amazing right? He has his own street named after him. ricObarrydrive

Ric was waiting for my arrival while playing his beautiful blond Gibson guitar in a hammock under his carport. This Gibson guitar was autographed by Slash from the super-group “King of Chaos”  Ric’s carport is home to his orchid collection hanging there as the balmy tropical breeze coming off Biscayne Bay which keeps the carport cool.

king of chaos

O’Barry donated his vintage Mercedes Benz to National Public Radio. That old white Benz, spent more time under the car canopy that on the road since Ric is always traveling to help a dolphin or to speak to some dignitary about dolphinariums or marine theme parks and the harm of keeping captive dolphins. He rides his hybrid bicycle everywhere he told me. Sometimes he gets on the Metro-Dade Train (Metro-Rail) he and his bike ride the elevator up to the train platform and that’s how he commutes long distance. He even rides it to protests at Miami Seaquarium.

O’Barry is not leaving any carbon foot prints.

So we head inside as I had brought some books that he autographed for me. He wants to make sure that I can get the funding to be in Taiji this September. We speak about Taiji, the do’s and don’ts and it was informal interview to be a Cove monitor for #DolphinProject to which I am so proud to be part of that organization’s team.

Application to be a Cove Monitor

Application to be a Cove Monitor

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The books donated by Ric.

We spoke about the Taiji campaign, a wonderful book that he is about to start reading, “Beneath the Surface” by John Hargrove. Sometimes he reads two books at once. Time didn’t stand still and I had to get back to my families “Pre-Father’s Day Extravaganza” but before I left he made sure that I had several more books to fund-raise with, and he proceeded to sign them.

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A must read book “To Free a Dolphin”

We walked to his office in the bamboo garden out back, and as we are walking through his house to the back I happen to see a skateboard on his colorful and eclectic dining room table. A round glass pane on top of an antique Singer sewing machine, I asked him if he was now taking up skateboarding? He responds, “That is for my daughter Mai Li, her first skateboard.”Thinking to myself; I would like to see Mai Li’s face when O’Barry hands it to her. We walked back to his office and he hands me a handful of decals from Dolphin Project.

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Image courtesy of Ric O’Barry

O’Barry lives a very simple lifestyle. His quaint home is very tropical and its the last of the original Florida houses from the 1930’s when Miami was a tropical retreat and the everglades ruled most of what is now South Florida. The remnants of the old  “Stiltsville”. The quaint life of fishing villages down in Virginia Key Beach, to the great Marjorie Stoneman Douglas,   great woman activist who’s whole life was the preservation of the “River of Grass” in the Everglades. She was a great role model of mine and a great friend of Ric O’Barry.

This visit takes me back to Miami in the 1960’s, it also reminds me of a little beach house I lived in most of my summers when I was young girl and still living in Cuba.

Beautiful wood work

Beautiful wood work.

So we head back out to the carport as I asked him to let me capture an image of him and a video strumming a few chords on his guitar. He is quite good! Heck, I can’t play a guitar but I admire anyone that does so.

It was nice to see a friend relaxing for a bit as I knew the minute I left he would be working and getting ready to go home to his family in Denmark. So we say our goodbyes and wished each other safe travels.

O’Barry was going home once again to be with his young daughter and his lovely Danish bride.

The three of them will travel from Copenhagen to Antibes, France where O’Barry will lead a huge protest at MarineLand with John Hargrove. MarineLand is considered the SeaWorld of Europe. They hold more killer whales than anyone else in Europe.

Ric is always so gracious.

He is the real deal.

See you in Taiji, Ric.

GodSpeed my friend~

Thanks for your friendship
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Get up and keep going never give up.
Courtesy of Takayo Yamaguchi

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