Whale season is upon us, and that means we get to see these majestic creatures up close. It also means the whales come right up into our beaches and harbours, where lots of fishing activity occurs. This puts them at risk of getting caught in all that equipment. Because of this, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) formed the South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) in 2006 and this weekend their services were put to good use.
On Sunday, reports came in of a whale who was entangled by ropes and floatation buoys by Rocky Banks in Cape Point. SAWDN volunteers raced to the area and found a sub-adult nine-metre humpback whale with a trailing line and buoy attached to it. They subtly approached the animal from behind, used a grappling to gently loop into the tangled line. A larger sea rescue unit distracted the whale, allowing the SAWDN to cut the ropes.
— NSRI (@NSRI) August 29, 2016
According to the NSRI, once all the ropes had been cut, the whale swam up alongside the boat, almost hugging it. He also placed his head in the gunnel of the boat and stayed near his rescuers for around 20 minutes. All involved say that is was an incredible encounter; surreal and emotional for all those involved.
We are so thankful to the SAWDN for keeping the whales safe. See pictures from the rescue below:
Photography courtesy NSRI