Gerard Brune, NSRI Mykonos station commander, said: “At 10h55 (Saturday, 07th September) NSRI Mykonos crew were activated following reports from a member of the public of a whale beached at St Helena Bay harbour, North of Saldanha Bay.
“We launched our sea rescue craft and responded to join a member of Wildlife Rescue to see if anything could be done to return the whale to sea.
“On arrival on-scene we found a beaked whale, semi stranded, appearing to be in poor health, with some scratches and cuts, from unknown causes, but still alive. Efforts were made to push the whale out to sea.
“Two fishermen assisted our NSRI volunteers and the Wild Life Rescue member. The Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts were also alerted and advice was given by.
“Members of the public gathered to witness the efforts.
“In total 5 attempts were made to coax the whale out to sea. After each attempt, despite getting the whale into deeper water, a good 10 meters from shore, it turned around and re-beached.
“Efforts were also made, using our sea rescue craft, to create a buffer between the whale and the shore, but the whale managed to keep re-beaching itself.
“At times the whale got caught between the harbour quay and strenuous manual effort was made to turn it around in the water and to face out to sea in order for us to push the whale to deeper waters.
“Finally, on a sixth attempt, at around 15h45, while we manoeuvred the whale past rocks and into deeper water, it dived and has disappeared.
“We continued to monitor the area for over an hour but the whale appears to have ‘gone’ and we are hopeful that it has returned to sea and does not beach again.
“The coastline will continue to be monitored and we remain on alert.
“It was a big effort to try to save the whale and the hopes of our exhausted volunteers, and the two fishermen who helped, are that we have succeeded even though we are cautiously optimistic.”
It is not known what causes whales to beach. In this case it may be caused by the poor health of the animal but the cause is not known.
The species of this beaked whale has not yet been determined.