British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue

News

2006-08-19 11:47:38

Two dolphins caught in netting - Folkestone, Kent

I was called by Tony Woodley at approx 11.35am today with reports of 2 dolphins caught in nets at Folkestone.

Tony then called medics I suggested to him, while I headed down from Maidstone. Whilst driving I contacted Mark Stevens, who was arranging to get the disentanglement kit from HQ brought up.

Meanwhile after I called 'Gary the Padi Hammer' for assistance with getting medics waterborn, he had made arrangements for his friend Adam to be at hand if required to get us out to the sighting area (allegedly some 100-150m offshore).

On arrival at Folkestone Leas (12.18pm), the Coastguard was already on scene and I assesed and reported back the situation. Dave was swimming around feeding, yet there was still the issue of this second dolphin/porpoise?

Members of the public confirmed the second sighting. Meanwhile Dave still swam happily, albeit at times it was clearly visible that something was attached to him. But then on the next sighting, it was gone.

The Coastguard meanwhile made arrangements with RNLI to scramble a RIB to assist BDMLR with our medics who were preparing kit and being briefed by myself on what the plan was.

The RIB first came into Dave's Bay, where he was still feeding and swimming about, one crew member came ashore and I informed him about our plans. This bascially involved the RNLI RIB to gentle persuade Dave out of the bay he was in so that we could assess if he was actually tangled up in nets or not (so he could move more than say 100m from that spot). He was moving about within the bay but not a great distance. To be sure he wasnt tangled on anything we needed to make sure he could move out of the bay area into waters further out.

The RNLI then relocated to the Old Harbour to allow our medics to board their RIB safely. The Coastguard took Alex Levine, Michelle Spain and Lynn Sencicle (all MMM's) round to meet them (1.05pm).

The RNLI RIB now in the bay, it was confirmed from the RIB crew (1.50pm) that there were TWO dolphins. Dave still being Dave in the bay and the second approx 150-200m to the west at the end of a double groyne. At this point Neil Horlock and Mark Stevens were kitted up in snorkling gear and went out to assist in locating this second mammal. After a fair time in the sea, there was NO sighting from Neil and Mark, yet there were confirmed sightings from the RIB. A definite NOT DAVE, but another with a very odd shaped dorsal, possibly a damaged dorsal, bent over etc.

Regardless of constant searching for this mammal, and leaving Dave to happily swim without disruption that we did have planned, the search was called off (approx 3pm). Dave had been covering a larger area within the bay, which alleviated our concerns of him being tangled on something.

As I type 'Gary the Hammer' is onsite with observations, and medics are planned for tomorrow to keep look out.

I can confirm that Dave has had kelp/seaweed attached to his dorsal, thanks to Max's images. Thanks Max.

I would like to thank all involved.

HM Coastguard team - John and Don
RNLI RIB Crew
Local Police patrol car crew- for sitting there looking good
And a of course our BDMLR medics...
Alex Levine, Michelle Spain, Lynn Sencicle, Rachel Cowin, Neil and Sarah Horlock (and kids), Mark Stevens and 'Gary the Padi Hammer' for getting Adam on standby and getting there this evening.

Also the surprise appearance of Gavin Parsons and Faye Archell.

Thanks to Tony for getting my medics alerted for me and then with his family on the transporting of the disentanglement kit from HQ, even though he was stood down! At least you learnt some new roads in the SE mate.

LAST UPDATE: 7.15pm from Gary... over 40 minutes and 1.5-2miles no other sightings of a second mammal, only Dave. Thanks Gary!

Jason Carter
Kent Area Coordinator