Four boats, including a Port of Cork rib, a kayak and the RNLI, were involved in Tuesday morning's dolphin rescue in Crosshaven that eventually saw two small dolphins chaperoned safely back to sea.
The dolphins were escorted out of the shallow water in the Crosshaven Harbour, four or five times, as the tide was going out, making it a race against time to have the mammals out at sea before the water ran out.
Speaking to The Echo, Crosshaven RNLI spokesperson Jon Mathers said the dolphins were herded out of the Harbour a number of times before eventually managing to direct the dolphins out past Currabinny.
"The boats formed a line that stopped the dolphins coming back in. Then as the tide was going out, the boats had to turn back, but the two boats drove them out a bit further and the dolphins are safe, for now."
The RNLI were hard at work this morning chaperoning two small dolphins out of Crosshaven Harbour after they swam into the shallow water.
The little dolphins caused quite the stir locally with young school children from Scoil Bhride along with preschoolers from Caterpillars Montessori Crosshaven and a hiking group stopped by the pier to gaze at the mammals swimming close to the shore.
With the tide going out, the pressure was on the RNLI, liaising with the Irish Whales and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and boats from the Port of Cork to escort the dolphins back to deeper waters.
Speaking to The Echo, CEO of IWDG Simon Berrow said live strandings, the term for dolphins swimming into the shallows, happens quite a lot and for a number of reasons.
“We get about 15/20 live strandings along the coast a year. Typically it is one or two dolphins, but sometimes, less frequently a pod.”
Mr Berrow said sick dolphins often ended up stranded but said it was also possible the dolphins had gotten disorientated and accidentally found themselves by the shore.
“We have done some post mortems on live strandings in Cork areas and more often than not the dolphin is diseased. There is some underlying issue for why they ended up stranded.”
espite this, Mr Berrow said that if the animal is not bleeding or emaciated, it is best to herd them back to deep water and give them a chance.
“Getting stranded is not good for them. It is very stressful for them. It is much better to get them back to water before the tide goes out.”
The Dolphin expert said the RNLI had spent the morning trying to effectively scare the dolphins back out to sea, through revving engines in the water and moving them out from the shore.
Unfortunately, Mr Berrow highlighted that sound underwater is nondirectional and it can be difficult to direct dolphins to follow the required path.
“I was talking to the RNLI an hour ago, they said they were running out of time to get the dolphins out to sea as the tide was going out.” A spokesperson for the RNLI is providing an update on the situation shortly.