June 23rd, 2016 (Annette Lambly). Two small whales that were stranded at a remote Northland beach have been re-floated.
The pygmy sperm whales were stranded at two separate spots along Northland’s Ripiro Beach on Thursday afternoon before they were saved and re-floated at Pouto Point on the Kaipara Harbour.
One of the whales, which measured about two metres long, was spotted at Mahuta Gap about 15 kilometres south west of Dargaville about 2.45 pm.
It was reported to the Kauri Coast Department of Conservation by a member of the public.
DOC Operations manager Diane Sanderson said rangers tried to re-float it but this proved unsuccessful Meanwhile a second whale was reported stranded at Glinks Gully, also on Ripiro Beach.
DOC personnel were able to place the whales on two trucks and transport them 40km south to Pouto Point on the Kaipara Harbour.
With the help of IRBs, or inflatable boats, rangers returned the whales to the water and refloated them around 5pm.
They swam across the bar at the mouth of the harbour and headed out to sea, a DOC spokesman said.
The rescue was watched over by representatives from both Te Uri o Hau and Te Roroa iwi.
Te Kopuru Fire Service had dispatched two boats to the rescue about 4.30pm but were called off before they arrived, a Fire Service spokesman said.
Pygmy sperm whales grow to a maximum length of 3.5 metres.