It happened in the lush woodland area of Khimki, near Moscow, late at night in July 2012. Someone set the heavy equipment on fire in the construction site for a new highway leading from Moscow to St. Petersburg, the second capital of Russia.

The town I was supposed to cover was called Taiji. It was the subject of a documentary called The Cove, which was up for an Academy Award. My bosses wanted someone to be there in case it won, to get the town’s side of the story.

Behind the clump of panicked dolphins, a row of Japanese fishing boats and skiffs appeared, the low thump of their engines rolling in on the sea breeze.