Friday, July 28, 2006

Beachgoers Save the Whales at the Shore

From - Action News website -

SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. - July 27, 2006 - Experts who have looked at the video of the whale rescue now say the mother and calf were NOT pilot whales as first thought.
It now appears that the mother and calf were beaked whales, and that kind of whale is rare.
Dozens of beach-goers came together Wednesday to save the two stranded whales in Sea Isle City. It's something those people will remember for the rest of their lives. And, it's the talk of the town today.
In viewer video, you can see the mother and her calf floundering in just a few feet of water. People jump in to help, spending almost 3 hours trying to get the whales righted, then into deeper water.
Their efforts paid off!
In the video, you can see the whales as they finally head back out to sea.
There's no sign of the mother and baby pilot whales that became stranded Wednesday. All is quiet now, a far cry from 24 hours ago, when the adventure began.
It was just before 5pm Wednesday afternoon when a one to two ton female beaked whale and her calf became stranded on Sea Isle City's beach at 25th street.
Eventually the pair would roll to 27th street before being freed.
Dozens of astounded beachgoers became rescuers working tirelessly with authorities for 2 and a half hour
Experts say the whales were probably some 100 miles from their feeding spot along the food rich continental shelf. How they came to visit Sea Isle may forever be a mystery.
After an exhausting struggle, the baby whale and later mom, were pushed by human hands with some help from the changing tides to freedom.
A rare appearance by two beaked whales on the beach in Sea Isle City attracted a crowd that rescued the pair.
Marine Mammal Stranding Center director Bob Schoelkopf told Action News late Thursday morning that neither whale had been seen since they were helped out to sea. Schoelkopf says they have no idea why the whales came on the beach in the first place. It is extremely rare for beaked whales to come anywhere near the beach. They normally feed one hundred miles off the coast.
The mother and her calf were spotted in very shallow water, just off the beach at 25th street around 5:00 Wednesday afternoon. People on the beach immediately jumped to help the whales, and were able to push the calf back in the water.
They had a much more difficult time getting the larger mother off the sand and past the breakers.
People of all ages gathered around the whale and pushed for two hours, all while children stood on the beach chanting "save our whale."
Among the rescuers were workers from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.
To protect the whale from the sun, they covered her with wet t-shirts. All the while, her rescued calf, stayed nearby, circling in the ocean about 30 yards away.
Shortly after 7:00, the people, described by the Coast Guard as Good Samaritans, threw up their arms and cheered. They'd gotten the whale out deep enough that she was able to swim on her own, and she went back out to sea.
She was 20 to 25 feet long and weighed several tons.
There is no reason to think that she and the calf will not be able to recover and rejoin the rest of their pod in the Atlantic.
The workers from the stranding center remained at the beach for an hour after the rescue to make sure the two didn't return.
In all, more than 150 people took part in the rescue.

Check out the video here -

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