Help for a tan­gled whale

Coastal News - - News - By SAN­DRA CONCHIE

When the may­day call came in about a stricken hump­back whale en­tan­gled with a cray­fish pot rope sev­eral Whanga­mata¯ lo­cals im­me­di­ately swung into ac­tion.

Whanga­mata¯ har­bour­mas­ter Steve Wise learned of the whale’s dif­fi­cul­ties about noon on Sun­day while he was al­ready out on the wa­ter. Af­ter check­ing with­doc, he was given the go-ahead to try to help free the stricken whale.

The skip­per of pri­vate lo­cal launch, the Carol Ann, who was fish­ing in the har­bour nearby, also helped look for the whale, he said.

Three other boats had fol­lowed the whale. It was in about 30m deep wa­ter about three nau­ti­cal miles out to sea be­tween Whanga­mata¯ and O¯ ne­m­ana, he said.

Wise said the rope of a cray­fish pot was wrapped around the whale’s tail and had been dragged be­hind it for quite a few miles.

Armed with a knife, a rope on a winch and with two other men giv­ing direc­tions, they cau­tiously ap­proached the whale.

“As I qui­etly came up be­hind the whale, the skip­per of the Carol Ann man­aged to grab the rope with a boat hook and wrapped it around the winch on the bow of my boat.”

With the other skip­per guid­ing him, he man­aged to un­ravel the rope from the whale’s tail be­fore haul­ing the cray­fish pot onto the winch.

“The whale was free and it swam off beau­ti­fully, then it sud­denly dived and we never saw it again. It was a pretty awe­some feel­ing to see it do that,” he said. Wise said there were lots of high fives and feel­ings of “ju­bi­la­tion”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.