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

News

2005-07-31 14:18:08

Search for net entangled seal, Logan's Rock, Cornwall

Arriving home at 7pm from an all day fundraising event at Maenporth Beach, Falmouth, Coordinator Dave Jarvis was contacted by Director Mark Stevens about a grey seal pup that had been reported entangled in net at Logan's Rock, near Porthcurno, Land’s End. Medics Lesley Jarvis and myself were already on hand to get equipment sorted out and set off. We contacted Ian Ramsden from a BSAC Club who had originally spotted the animal for a more precise location and further details. The seal had been observed hauled out at around 5pm on a ledge below Logan’s Rock, and had monofilament net caught around its neck, head, mouth, and one of its foreflippers. Medic and veterinarian Richard Hillam happened to be out diving with the Club, and unsuccessfully tried to jump the obviously weakened animal, which escaped into the water.

Due to the size of the area we needed to cover, Medics Phil Jarvis and Chris Ellis, with Medics/Animal Care Team members Tamara Cooper and Claire Baker from the National Seal Sanctuary were also called out to join in the search. Arriving first, Coordinator Tim Bain, Lesley and myself continued on to the site from the car park, while Dave waited for the others to arrive to bring down the seal cage and help search the area. During this time, we spotted one seal, which unfortunately was not the one we wanted.

As the rest of the team arrived, we split into smaller groups, with Tamara and Chris searching the western side of the rock, Dave, Lesley and Tim looking further along the coast towards Porthcurno, and Phil, Claire and myself taking on the eastern side of the large rocky outcrop. By 9:30pm, there had still been no sign of the seal pup, and with darkness descending; we had to call off the search. We contacted Ian again, and he kindly offered us a place on the BSAC RIB the following day to continue searching.

At 9:15am on August 1st, I arrived at Lamorna with some rescue equipment, meeting the BSAC divers there, including Medic Richard Hillam. Once the boat arrived from Penzance, we stowed all the rescue and diving equipment on board, and set out for Logan's Rock. We had timed the trip out to coincide with low tide, meaning that the maximum number of ledges would be exposed for the search. Sadly, we were unable to locate the seal anywhere between Porthcurno and Penberth Cove, encompassing Logan's Rock - a 10km stretch of the coast as the dive boat searches – and after a call about a turtle caught in nets over at Botallack, we decided to call off the search and return to Lamorna so that I could assist with the new incident. I left the divers with instructions of what to do and who to call in case they saw the seal again during their afternoon dives in the area.

I would like to thank all Medics who attended this incident for their efforts, and a very big thank you to Ian and the rest of the BSAC team who helped with the search and for the kind use of their boat.

Medic Dan Jarvis
BDMLR West Cornwall
(Newquay - Land's End - St Austell)