Living in a small seaside town favoured by Southern Right whales – who arrive in False Bay each year to mate and calve – is an incredible privilege.
But this annual pilgrimage is also problematic for the species when these massive mammals become entangled in ropes belonging to octopus traps and crab pots attached to buoys in the shallow waters of the bay.
Well done to the local National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and South African Whale Detanglement Network (SAWDN) for managing to free this entangled southern right off Sunnycove this afternoon.
The quality of my photos isn’t great as it was quite far out and I was shooting with a humble kit zoom lens, but each picture illustrates this incredibly brave rescue.
I watched it trying desperately to free itself from the web of rope twisted around its’ tail and then the dramatic attempts to free it. It was an incredibly dangerous situation – the whale was frantic and highly distressed, blowing and lashing its’ tail. And lest we forget their size – it was at least three times the size of the NSRI boat.
I could hear it blowing as I ran down the hill, camera in hand, to Sunnycove Station. It was like an anguished bellow that filled the air and then it was all over – the whale was free. It submerged and swam out to sea and there was silence apart from the hum of the gridlocked traffic along the coastal road 🙂
Well done to all involved!