100 volunteers help to refloat 46 whales stranded at base of Farewell Spit

whales sad Jan 2014
Stranded whales on Saturday – photo from Project Jonah

News from DOC at 2.30
The 46 pilot whales refloated this morning at Puponga are now milling off Farewell Spit where they have been for about an hour and a half. The whales are about 600 metres out from the high tide mark, a few kilometers from the base of Farewell Spit, and are being monitored by DOC rangers in a boat.

There is still a risk the whales could re-strand in the outgoing tide but the whales have been slowly moving and DOC staff are hopeful they are regrouping and that once they have done that they may start swimming further out to sea.

It is an anxious time for rescuers waiting to see if the whales will this time make it safely out to sea after twice re-stranding after being refloated over the weekend. More than 100 volunteers have assisted DOC with the whales today including Project Jonah volunteers and others who have come from surrounding areas to help.

The whales had been swimming strongly in deeper water after being refloated late this morning but then moved into the shallower water near the Spit coastline.

UPDATE at 5.30. The whales were still swimming in shallow water. Rangers will check again in the morning.

News from DOC at 12.30
Forty-six pilot whales stranded at Puponga at the base of Farewell Spit were refloated around 11.30 this morning and are now swimming strongly in deeper water being monitored by DOC rangers in a boat.

More than 100 volunteers, many from Project Jonah and others who responded to the call to help, assisted DOC rangers with looking after the whales on the beach and refloating them this morning.

It is too early to tell yet whether the whales will avoid re-stranding again as they are still in the area of Farewell Spit but rescuers are hopeful they will this time make it safely out to sea.

Earlier News from DOC
More pilot whales have stranded again overnight. DOC rangers, Project Jonah and other volunteers have spent the weekend trying to get them safely out to sea, But this morning there are 46 live whales and another three dead 400 metres offshore from Puponga by the base of Farewell Spit.

Rescuers plan to refloat the whales in today’s incoming high tide due at 12.50pm.

Project Jonah

DOC is appealing for volunteers with wetsuits to help refloat the whales. Project Jonah is also putting out a call to its trained volunteers to come to help if they can. Anyone coming to assist must have a wetsuit and should bring water, food, sun protection and all the gear they need.

January 19:
Fifty whales refloated


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