A young whale was discovered entangled in fishing rope off the shore of The Waves in Plettenberg Bay in the early morning hours of October 6.
The young Humpback quickly became the apple of onlooker’s concerned eyes as they alerted the SA Whale Disentanglement Network, or SAWN volunteers to sail to the rescue.
SAWN volunteers were shortly hot on the tails of a rescue operation.
While the task was described as a “difficult and delicate disentanglement operation” according to Jaco Kruger, the SAWDN Plett coordinator, the young Humpback had a guardian angel close by.
An adult Humpback whale had appeared, and remained with the younger whale throughout the operation, as the NSRI expresses.
The operation involved a sea rescue craft, floatation buoys, two kegging lines and cutting gear in efforts to disentangle the 7.5-meter sub-adult who had a fishing rope around its tailstock and was trailing fishing gear.
The volunteers were able to make multiple cuts through the thick fishing rope, allowing the Humpback to roam freely once more.
According to the NSRI, the entangled whale led the sea rescue craft across the Bay towards the Beacon Island Hotel and out to sea before returning to the Bay. The whale duo swam away, and the SAWDN patted themselves on the backs for a job well done.
A brief clip was posted of the rescue efforts, which you can watch below.
Plettenberg Bay is famous for whale watching. People travel near and far to marvel at the ocean’s gentle giants. Humpbacks, in particular, are migratory mammals, and during this time of year (September to December) they are most commonly seen in Plett as they travel to their more settled areas surrounding Mozambique and Angola’s waters.
Of course, as brilliant as it is to marvel at the sea’s children, it is also imperative to ensure their well-being. SAWDN and various NSRI teams have been remarkable in their whale saving efforts over the years, saving 209 whales to date from nets and fishing lines.