At 13h19, Sunday, 21st December, NSRI were alerted to reports of a baby whale beached at Saunders Beach, Bantry Bay.
Eye witnesses were concerned that a number of people from the public had waded into the water to try to push the whale out to sea in dangerous surf conditions and there were concerns for their safety and concerns for the fate of the whale.
NSRI Bakoven dispatched a rescue swimmer to investigate and NSRI Bakoven duty crew were placed on alert while Law Enforcement, City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, NSRI Table Bay’s station commander and WC Government Health EMS responded to the scene and the City of Cape Town Environmental Management – Oceans and Coasts and the SPCA were alerted.
On arrival on-scene the whale was found to actually be a large Sun Fish appearing to be injured, in distress and continually being battered against rocks in the rising high tide and from time to time getting stranded on rocks.
Numerous attempts by members of the public, in rough and dangerous surf conditions, to try to push the Sun Fish out to sea and off of rocks every time it got stranded had failed.
The Sun Fish appeared to be making no effort to swim out to sea, continuously trying to beach, with multiple lacerations and scratches appeared on its main body and continuously getting itself stranded on rocks.
The Department of Environment Oceans and Coasts Marine scientists feared that the Sun Fish appeared too injured for attempts to be made to attempt to set it free in deep water.
At the peak of high tide, at 15h00, the Sun Fish beached itself on rocks and was high and dry and efforts were put into place to attempt to carry the Sun Fish off the beach and have it taken to Veterinary Surgeons at the Waterfront Aquarium and a City of Cape Town Cleansing Department team were dispatched with a truck and a large tarpaulin together with NSRI rescue swimmers and Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services rescue divers with hopes to remove the injured Sun Fish from the beach but members of the public, good samaritans, standing on rocks nearby pushed the Sun Fish back into the water scuppering the plan. The Sun Fish then continued to be battered against rocks out of reach of any rescue effort.
Hopes are that the Sun Fish will beach itself in the area again and efforts will be made by the City of Cape Town to recover the fish if that happens but for now it remains in the surf line and out of reach of any effort to get to it.
Anyone spotting the Sun Fish beaching on the Sea Point beach front are asked not to try to intervene but rather to contact the City of Cape Town’s emergency number 107 (from a landline) or 0214807700 (from a cellphone) and Authorities will deal with the situation.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE
SMS 32287 with your name and a message of support for our Sea Rescue crew