The magic of the August 8, 2002 - Commemorative Event on the
anniversary of Lolita's capture Lolita Come Home!
August 8 Capture Anniversary Event
Those of you who attended this special event know what a magical evening it was, and we thank you for your presence and joining us on Penn Cove for a beautiful evening of sharing song, stories, tears, and laughter, and most of all, enthusiasm and persistence in fighting for Lolita's freedom.
Vern Olsen's beautiful accordion music set the stage as we gathered next to the Captain Whidbey Inn on the hillside above the capture site, while the life-sized Lolita lay on the hillside looking at the cove longingly. Lolita's many and diverse friends shared their stories and hopes for her return. Speakers included former US Representative Jack Metcalf, former Representative Dave Anderson, and Orca Network's Howard Garrett.
Anne-Marie Van Dijk of Holland, formerly of Miami, shared her story about getting to know and love Lolita, and how she continues to fight for Lolita's freedom from Europe. Carey Tremaine, one of the divers who was hired to help with the captures returned to Penn Cove for the first time since 1970, and shared his memories, thoughts, regrets, and encouragement about how much our perspectives have changed since then. Vern Olsen shared similar sentiments about how his perspective had changed since witnessing the captures, and also shared his wonderful "Come Home Lolita" and other orca songs with us. Judy Lochrie read her beautiful "Rose for Tokitae" poem to a hushed and attentive crowd, as we all visualized her story coming to life.
Anne-Marie Van Dijk
Then we walked down to the dock with a beautiful wreath made by Sandy Dubpernel, to honor all the whales whose lives were sacrificed in the captures. Pat Rasmussen drummed and sang a stirring Native song that echoed across the cove and brought tears to our eyes. Susan played her cedar flute, as Judy and Carey placed the wreath in the water, and we all stood silently, remembering the whales who were captured here and in other Washington waters, and remembering Lolita, the sole survivor of those 50+ whales, and hoping for her return to these waters and her family.
These events are so special - the people who attend are a diverse cross-section of people including many who have been dedicated to Tokitae's (Lolita's) freedom for years, and those who are just now learning about her story. There is such a feeling of togetherness and commitment to continue working on Toki's behalf, that it inspires us to keep on working to bring Toki home, no matter how impossible it sometimes seems.
We want to thank each and every one of you who attended, and those of you who shared your stories and talents and time to make this event happen. The volunteers who worked so hard to make things run smoothly, the generous donors who offered auction items, and those of you who purchased them. The Captain Whidbey Inn for hosting us once again for this event, and volunteering the use of your beautiful gallery and grounds for the event.
This event raised some much needed funds to continue our work on Lolita and her family's behalf; it raised consciousness about Lolita and what she and her family need to live long, healthy lives; and it raised our spirits to know that so many people care about our whales and want to help.
Earlier in the day, at noon, Miami time, a demonstration sponsored by the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida and Orca Network took place in front of the Miami Seaquarium. The protesters wore clothes from the 70's, to illustrate that Mr. Hertz and the Seaquarium have not changed with the times. The demo was covered by the Miami Herald and several Miami TV news stations.
Thanks to all of you from coast to coast who helped spread the word about Lolita on this special day!
Susan & Howie