Rescue Stories


Each year our volunteers respond to stranding emergencies. We couldn't do our work without them. Here are a few of their stories.

Ruth O'Sullivan

"It was just THE most amazing feeling to stand back and be part of the human chain, physically and mentally willing them to go out into the deeper water and then seeing them doing so. " ... more>

Mary Hodgson

"It is true that you bond with the whale. It was incredible to be up so close, although obviously very sad to see all those whales in distress. " ... more>

Alicia Lose

"I don’t know how long I stood in the water for. Time didn’t seem to exist now that I wasn’t cold. The water was also warming up now that the tide was out. "... more>

Rhys Cornforth

"We formed a horse shoe around the pod to keep them from coming in to help the stranded whales. One of the older and larger whales (it had a lot more scars and scratches) kept trying to break the line and get in to see its pod members."... more>

Charlotte Bueb

"We did it! When I sit back in my car, it strikes me. We did save a life today, and we did it together. Just a bunch of ordinary people working hard as a team to achieve something extraordinary.."... more>

Katie Oliver

"Quite soon we had shovels, a couple of buckets and some sheets. We also had about a dozen people, but no one else trained. We had also gained a policeman"... more>

Kim McCormack

"Those first 2 hours spent righting as many whales as possible and propping up these huge mammals who weigh so much more than a human being was one of the most physically and emotionally demanding things I’ve ever done."... more>

Nikki Fothergill

"I held my hand on her side and wanted to comfort her as if she were human. I wanted her back in the ocean and I didn't care how long it took or what it took to do it. "... more>

Diana Dumont

"She worked her way over to him, squirming and thrashing her fluke until she got her head under him to help him turn over. I hadn’t expected to see that kind of interaction between the whales"... more>

Hazel Oates

"I talked to the constant stream of people who arrived at the beach. Mostly they wanted to know what had happened. Could they help? Would the whales survive? What was going to happen to the whales that died?"... more>

John Moody

"Some of the calves were moving around more, maybe they were trying to locate their mothers. You had to be careful where you trod and avoid the odd thrashing tail"... more>

Lydia Uddstrom

"As the tide came in the whales began to whistle, click and honk, with excitement. They started moving around and soon there were tails flapping all around us"... more>

Sacha Dowell

"We gently comforted and talked to them in an effort to keep them calm. It was an amazing experience to look into their eyes and share a gaze"... more>

Christine Kitchen

"As humans, we sometimes construct layers through our lives that distance and insulate us from truly feeling, because we fear that this feeling might overwhelm us"... more>

Justine Sanderson

"Slowly but surely, each of the whales was lifted into the water and the teams rushed to their side. Finally, the last whale was in. The rest had drifted down the beach. It was an amazing line-up: 20 whales, 120+ volunteers - all bobbing in the surf"... more>

Michelle Bishop

"I told my whale about my children, my love of diving and the stress of quitting smoking"... more>

Adrian Winks

"There were lots of mothers and calves; some so small they couldn’t have been more than a few days old. We later found out that a couple actually gave birth during the stranding"... more >

Lisa Foden

"Despite the cold, spirits were high and the energy was very positive, with most people giving strong words of encouragement to their whales"... more>

Jo Wixey

"I grabbed my bag and my wetsuit and ran over the dunes. As soon as I saw Nobby and the digger on the beach surrounded by people, a feeling of utter compassion came over me. There was this huge whale completely out of his comfort zone lying shaking next to a large piece of working machinery and a group of onlookers"... more>

Stephanie Jeffries

"A sensation of smiles started moving through all of us that were in the water with Nobby, he was moving now. Those that were supporting his body quickly moved away from him as his tail started thrashing on the surface"... more>

Renee Kelly

"My entire body was numb with cold. Occasional signs from the orca, a slight bob of the head or movement of the tail, gave us encouragement and urged us on"... more>
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