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


2009-08-01 14:28:37

Common Dolphin in McDuff Harbour, Scotland

Common dolphinAt about 11:45, I received a text from BDMLR HQ saying there was a dolphin swimming in the harbour at McDuff, I contacted Sue at HQ and told her Michelle and I (Boonie) would travel across, Sue told me Tim would also be there. We loaded the car and set of arriving about 1:50 pm, we found Tim and agreed it was a juvenile common dolphin about 120-150 cm in length. it appeared to be in good health it was breaching the water and swimming freely around a fishing trawler, which it was believed to have followed in from out at sea leaving the pod it was with. Tim had spoken to the crew and was told the skipper was not on board and they could not turn off the engines, which the young dolphin seemed to like the sound of. After passing the boat details to HQ and Sue doing some checking and web searching had managed to track down the skipper. he told Sue the engines had to stay on because the fridges had to get down to temperature. It was thought he was going to take the boat out at high water around 8 o-clock, I called Mark Gregory the out of hours BDMLR contact I told him the skipper had not arrived and it was after 9 o-clock. Mark tried to contact him but his phone was ringing out, he gave me his number and I tried him about 9:30 and got an answer, he told me he would be unable to take the boat out as the crew had been out at sea for 10 days and he could not call them back out, I fully agreed and thanked him for his time, I contacted Mark and it was decided we would stand down until tomorrow, when Tim said he would check in the morning. We left for home and arrived just before 23.00hrs shortly after that the skipper called me back to say he had been down to the boat and the fridges had reached their minimum temperature so he had turned of the engines until tomorrow. He also told me he could see no sign of the dolphin I thanked him for letting me know.

The following morning (Saturday) I received a call from Tim at about 11:30 stating that the dolphin was still in the harbour. I got my kit together and left arriving at 1 o: clock. We monitored the dolphin and a local man told me that boat had powerful sonar located in the bow ball, which is where the dolphin seemed to be focusing its attention. I sent a text to the skipper asking if there was any possibility that the sonar was still on slightly. Shortly after some crew members come back and I asked them to check the sonar, they told me it was off and also that they had turned the engines off last night until 8 this morning, I thanked them for their time and went back to the dolphin, we monitored it for a few more hours then contacted Mark Gregory to discuss the options, I left about 4:15 and Tim said he would be following me shortly. As there was very else we could do I left the BDMLR stranding number with Dave and Margret Buchan, who who are locals and were going to keep an eye on the dolphin.

Later on that evening Mark Gregory the Out of hours Coordinator was informed that the dolphin had moved away from the vessel now the engine was off and was eventually coaxed out of harbour using a member of the public's speedboat on the evening of the Saturday 1st August. We hope that the dolphin has joined up with it's pod a short distance from the harbour.

At this point I feel a few members of the public deserve a special mention and thanks, firstly Ashlee Sherman and his son for coming back with their high speed SLR camera and giving us the photos, also David Buchan and his wife Margaret for bringing us regular flasks of tea and coffee. Also to Medic Tim Davis, Coordinators Andy Ireland, Mark Gregory and James West Skipper of the Replenish.

Martin Boon (Boonie)
Buchan Medic