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Savanna Dale Rescue Story

6 October 2023

What a beautiful morning filled with caring likeminded people. After getting the text to help out with the stranding this morning, I dropped everything and got ready. I called my mother who has also completed the Marine Mammal Medic course with Project Jonah and we got on the road.

We arrived and made ourselves known wearing our Project Jonah hi vis. We talked to DOC and helped with assessing the dolphin and the situation. A beautiful bottlenose dolphin was stranded on a high point of Waiwera beach with the tide far out. We covered the dolphin with wet sheets and continued to make sure the dolphin was kept wet. We kept our distance and whispered as we spoke about our action plan with Lily from DOC. We noticed the dolphin had a bit of energy and had a constant good breathing rate.

Luckily for all of us including the dolphin, the tide was coming in fast.

We positioned a tarp under the dolphin and with leadership from DOC we gently rolled the dolphin into position on-top of the tarp. All the details from the Marine Mammal Medic course came flooding back as the tide wrapped around us. Some of us drug a trench to help bring the water closer to the dolphin and provide a deeper channel for the dolphin to swim in. I helped move the dolphin on the tarp towards to deeper channel, where it started to get a bit more energy to swim away.

After a few minutes the dolphin decided to take it from there and with a few slaps of its tail, it propelled forwards. We all watched in anticipation, and then saw the dolphin swim off beautifully into deeper water. We all clapped and I yelled “Yay!” As I looked at all the smiles start to appear on everyone’s faces.

Before we departed ways we bowed our heads as one of the team delivered a beautiful Maori prayer.

A morning I won’t forget.