Thanks to the quick response and great effort of the SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN), a whale calf was safely disentangled after getting caught in some fishing rope. The irony of the incident occurring on World Ocean Day was not lost on anyone.
SAWDN was alerted to a whale in distress in the vicinity of Millers Point between Simon’s Town and Cape Point at 8.32am on Saturday morning.
Two National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) boats were launched from Simon’s Town Harbour. Eye-witnesses recalled seeing a whale thrashing about in need of assistance.
When NSRI arrived at the scene they discovered a Humpback whale calf with a rope entangled around it’s body and fins. The calf also seemed to be anchored to the sea bed. Another whale nearby was not in trouble and it was assumed to be a relative of the distressed whale.
In a statement, NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said: “Quickly and methodically the SAWDN technical crew, using the specialised cutting equipment, cut away at the rope wraps and we estimated 10 to 12 cuts were made freeing the whale from the entanglement.
“The whale appeared to be healthy and swam off strongly accompanied by the larger whale and SAWDN are confident that the operation has been successful.”
According to NSRI, eye-witnesses reported another two whales beaching near Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town later on Saturday. On investigation, they found two whales riding the waves, in no eminent danger. It was unconfirmed if one of the whales was the calf rescued earlier in the day.