At 12h06, Friday, 31st March, the SA Whale Disentanglement Network were activated following reports of a juvenile Humpback whale entangled in rope and floatation buoys off-shore of Granger Bay, Cape Town.
The NSRI sea rescue craft Spirit of Round Table, while on a stand-by off-shore of Camps Bay for the SA Surf Lifesaving Championships, were alerted by the crew of a fishing vessel reporting the entangled whale that they had sighted off-shore of Granger Bay.
The sea rescue craft was diverted to investigate and NSRI found the whale a few hundred meters off-shore of Granger Bay and the SA Whale Disentanglement Network were activated and the NSRI Table Bay sea rescue craft Spirit of Day was launched accompanied by SAWDN members.
On arrival on the scene the whale was found to be weak and appearing to be tired and drifting into the kelp bed along the Granger Bay shoreline and Steve McCue, of the Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts and of the SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN), suggested the whale to be towed to deeper water and the NSRI Table Bay sea rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom was launched to assist in the operation.
NSRI rescue swimmers swam a towline to the kelp bed where the towline was attached to the whale and after the towline broke free additional NSRI rescue swimmers swam ashore and approached from the shore side attaching a towline to the whale and the whale was towed to deeper water while SAWDN members cut free the entangling rope and floatation buoys using the SAWDN specialised cutting equipment and releasing the rope and floatation buoys that was entangled around the whales flippers and tail.
After all rope was cut free and recovered and the towline was removed, with the whale now free of the entanglement and in deeper water, SAWDN remained on the scene encouraging the whale to swim and although the whale appeared to gather strength and swam away SAWDN are only cautiously optimistic that the whale will survive as the whale continued to appear weak, tired and lethargic.
The coastline will continue to be monitored over the next few days and SAWDN are appealing to boaters to be aware of this whale and to proceed cautiously to avoid the whale in the vicinity of the Granger Bay and Sea Point coastline.
The operation was completed at 16h08.
SAWDN (SOUTH AFRICAN WHALE DISENTANGLEMENT NETWORK) Spokesman