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Whale towed out to sea

Steve Wilson attempting to tie the rope around its tail while Jodie Dunn and Bill Hill manage the rest of the rope.
Steve Wilson attempting to tie the rope around its tail while Jodie Dunn and Bill Hill manage the rest of the rope.

28 Sep, 2011 01:36 PM

A HUMPACK whale found stranded at ‘Pockets’ was towed out to sea by Marine Rescue NSW last Wednesday morning due to concerns over public health and safety.

The possibility of a shark attack was reduced thanks to a great team effort by local residents and government agencies.

Local dive shop owner Steve Wilson was given the task of securing a rope around the whale’s tail in order to make the job possible.

Made difficult by the increasing swell and the whale being wedged up against the rocks, Steve had to work quickly when he jumped on the whale’s tail to wrap the rope around and secure it.

“It was the quickest knot I’ve ever tied,” he told the Times.

Steve then wedged his feet on the ocean floor and with the help of the swell released the whale from the crevice in the rocks.

NPWS Shorebird Recovery Coordinator Jodie Dunn and shire contractor Bill Hill had the job of managing the rest of the rope which had become heavy and difficult to control in the swell.

The next challenge was to drag the rope out to the Marine Rescue boats.

After some discussion and with the help of local surfer Murray Soulis it was decided it would be easier to drag the rope in from the boat.

NPWS South Coast Regional Operations Coordinator Ian Smith said the whale became stranded on rocks late Monday afternoon and died at about 9am on Tuesday.

“The whale was eight metres long and could have posed a health threat if it was left to decay naturally where it was stranded, particularly with houses nearby and school holidays approaching,” he said.

Despite the stranding occurring on public land, NPWS helped coordinate the removal of the whale carcass in the interest of public health and safety.

He said Marine Rescue Ulladulla was prepared to tow the carcass to sea on Tuesday during high tide, but winds were too strong so the mission was postponed until Wednesday.

He said the whale removal effort went smoothly and showed great cooperation between Marine Rescue NSW, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the local council and divers.

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