Posted by: The ocean update | August 8, 2014

Family on holiday saves stranded dolphins with the help of luggage straps (Scotland, UK)

Simon Lane, during the rescue of beached dolphins close to the shore at the secluded resort of Lochbuie off the west coast of Scotland. Photo : SWNS

Simon Lane, during the rescue of beached dolphins close to the shore at the secluded resort of Lochbuie off the west coast of Scotland. Photo : SWNS

August 8th, 2014 (Auslan Cramb). Nineteen dolphins returned to the sea on Isle of Mull after beaching in front of holiday home

A family on holiday on a Hebridean island has been praised for saving 19 dolphins that became stranded on a beach in front of the house they were renting.

Finley Meakin, 13, spotted the mammals unusually close to the shore at Lochbuie, on the Isle of Mull, before realising they had become stuck in the shallow water, apparently after chasing mackerel towards the beach.

He was joined by his uncle, Simon Lane, 59, and other members of the family, as they tackled the mass stranding on July 24, using luggage straps from their baggage to move the bigger dolphins back into deep water.

The family spent two hours rescuing the dolphins and was congratulated by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Turst, which said it was the biggest beaching of common dolphins in the UK since an incident in Cornwall in 2008.

Mr Lane, a landscape gardener, said : “We were in the house which overlooks the bay and we saw them in, probably playing or chasing mackerel.

“To our astonishment they all beached, it was only about 100 yards away, I had never seen anything like it before. We ran down to see what we could do and they were beached about 20 yards from the sands and seemed very distressed.

“I went in and tried to get them out but they kept coming back in. With some of the bigger ones we had to get a strap and put it under them and lift them.

“We had to move them into the deeper water and hold them under using this strap so they could get their ‘sat-nav’ sorted. At the deepest the water was up to my shoulders and neck.”

Finley’s mother, Madge Meakin, 48, Mr Lane’s sister-in-law, was also involved in the rescue.

Mr Lane, from Hickling, Notts, and his relatives, including partner Sue Meakin, 60, her sister Madge and her husband Jim, were on a two-week holiday at the time.

He added : “It will probably never happen again. I do a lot of snorkelling and have swum with seals before but I have never had any dealings with dolphins.

“i wasn’t sure what they would be like, they were obviously stressed and you could hear them squeaking very loudly. They must have been talking to each other but they seemed to know what we were doing and that we wanted to help them.

“It was pretty exhausintg but we were all so relieved to know the dolphins were safe.”

Conor Ryan, of the whale and dolphin trust, based an hour-and-a-half’s drive away, said the stranding happened in an isolated area and the family “did everything right”.

The dolphins during the rescue (Newsteam)

The dolphins during the rescue (Newsteam)



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