Posted by: ramblinrobert | May 1, 2008

A whale of a rescue story (picture added)

We came back to South Harris after visiting Scalpay and seeing the double width loom. My group was dropped at our guest house and we saw a quite a ruckus in the cove next to the house. I walked over and saw a team of rescuers in dry suits setting up gear to rescue a beached Minke whale. The approximately two-ton whale was about 12-15 feet long and about 10 yards from shore. The team unrolled a large mat and two deflated pontoons. They slipped into the water and rolled the whale to one side, placing the mat part way under, then rolled the whale to the other side and pulled the mat up on the other side. They then hooked the pontoons to either side of the mat, inflated them with a scuba tank and the whale floated up on the mat. It could then be backed out to deeper water and released.

Oh–what I didn’t tell you is that the whale was plastic, partly filled with water and inflated. The rescue team was in training to do whale rescues along the Atlantic coast or wherever needed. Jamie Dyer, the group leader, told me they were training as part of a program sponsored by British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

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