Drama unfolded this week when a pilot whale was found beached in Still Bay.
National Sea Rescue Institute Still Bay duty crew, Cape Nature Conservation and the South African Police Service (SAPS) responded to the Blombos Private Nature Reserve where witnesses reported a whale stuck on the beach.
On arrival on the scene the adult Pilot Whale was found on the beach. The teams, assisted by members of the public, kept the whale wet and cool, while awaiting high tide. The Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts were alerted to assist with advice.
A trench was dug in the beach sand leading into the sea. At high tide NSRI rescue swimmers assisted the whale through the swell, swimming it through the breakers. The crew remained with the whale in deeper water until it appeared to swim off unassisted. Unfortunately shortly afterwards the whale re-beached.
Members of the public helped the responding teams keep the mammal wet while a trench was dug to help the animal back into the ocean when high tide struck.
According to Enrico Menezies, NSRI Still Bay station commander, swimmers assisted the whale through the breakers until it could swim off on its own.
The rescue team, including NSRI Still Bay, Cape Nature Conservation, the SA Police Services and members of the public, again steared the whale to deeper water. The NSRI rescue swimmers assisted in swimming the whale out to sea and remained with it for some time, before the whale appeared to gain some strength and swam away, this time out to sea.
“The rescue teams are cautiously optimistic that the whale has survived this ordeal. It remains unknown what caused the whale to beach and the whale had no signs of any visible injury,” Menezies said.
All services involved in this rescue operation, and members of the public who assisted, are commended for their efforts to rescue the whale. Hopes are high that the whale will not re-beach itself again. Patrols will be conducted along the stretch of coastline to keep a watch for any possibie beachings.