Dolphin rescuers’ work appreciated

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There were exciting times for several groups of people this week as they assisted in rescuing dolphins in Rothesay Bay from shallow water and sand bars.

The first instance was on Sunday involving a group of beach-goers who assisted a total of seven dolphins caught in low tide at Sandy Point into deeper water. After getting them sent off, these folks talked for a while about how good it felt to help these creatures of the sea.

The next morning nine dolphins were spotted under the Main Gut Bridge and, by evening, eight of them were found high and dry on a beach at Rocky Point. That’s when officers with the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and members of the Barachois Search and Rescue team went to work, using pickup trucks, quads, an air boat and their own muscle to get them back into the water.

Seven of them got off safely, while it was too late for one of them, which died on the sandbar.

There must have been a stray who decided to go out on its own and the next evening it was spotted on the sand near Brookside Drive in Stephenville Crossing, right up in Main Gut — a large body of water in which the bay tide flushes in an out.

Members of the Barachois Search and Rescue team went back to work, in the darkness, and freed the dolphin from the sand bar by putting it onto an air boat and giving it a ride to an area near Main Gut Bridge, where they released it into the water.

There was a sharp contrast between what a representative for the beach-goers, Stacey White, had to say about their rescue in comparison with the co-ordinator for the search and rescue team, Barry Nash. White was very excited to have gotten close enough to the dolphins to touch one of them and help in moving it out to deeper water. It was her first time being involved in something like that rescue. As a lover of animals there was lots of excitement for her and for her companions at the beach that day.

When Nash talked about the incidents, it was more businesslike. That is to be expected coming for a seasoned co-ordinator of a search and rescue team that has been in these situations before.

Saving eight of a group of nine dolphins is a great two days of work and something all the people involved should be proud of. For the search and rescue team, it’s not always sea creatures that they get called out to rescue and some of their searches for humans don’t always have a positive ending, so the businesslike approach in what they have to say is understandable. Setting these dolphins free still has its own personal rewards for these men and is something appreciated by many, especially animal lovers.

Organizations: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Barachois Search and Rescue

Geographic location: Rothesay Bay, Sandy Point, Rocky Point

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