La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dolphin Rescue Mission

Never in a month of Sundays was I expecting this mission when I wobbled out of bed this morning !
We were just getting ready to take Bert's sister Imelda and her friend Sonja out for a tour of the Ring of Kerry when Bert ran up the stairs, huffin' and puffin' : " Come downstairs there are 2 dolphins near the house ! " (in the water obviously).
We expect to see seals every now and then but dolphins don't usually come this far up.  Oh the excitement  we felt !
It struck me that what they were doing was not normal. It was soon clear to us that the mother was in distress and the calf (probably from last year) just followed her into shallow water.
Bert and Wen had already taken off their shoes and where in the water in no time, trying to guide them away and into deeper water. To no avail.
Phoned a friend who knew a thing or two about what to do. He arrived not long after, wetsuit, kayaks, more helpers and family and friends.
Mama dolphin was hurt and she was bleeding.  A phone call to Vincent Hyland  from Wild Derrynane  had him here in no time. In the half hour it took for Vincent to arrive the lads tried to keep the dolphins afloat and wet at the top.
Trying to get the pair out into deeper water and out of the bay was impossible. After a stint with dinghy, kayak and a swimming Vinnie, they decided to leave them in the next little inlet where the water is somewhat deeper. There is a neap tide at the moment and that should make things easier. Tomorrow, they'll need checking up on. That is all we can do for now.
It was 9.30 this morning when we first noticed them and 13.30 when the 'rescue team' finally left.

Photo by Wen Chin Ter

 Bert trying to get them into deeper water before all the help arrived

 Unfortunately, the only thing we could do at the time was keep them afloat with belly down

Our friend, Etienne arrived, all dressed up in wetsuit. 

Again, keeping the mama upright. 

The arrival of Vincent Hyland, who is a walking wildlife encyclopedia.

Whenever the dolphins were guided into deeper water they would make it straight back to the water's edge. 

Taking 'swimming with dolphins' to a new level 

 Bert and Michael getting ready for deeper waters

 The others, the supporting team

 Sometimes the only thing one can do is observe. And pet the cat.
Wen, our present volunteer.
"So, what's happening here ? " Xena, the cat who wants to be involved in all the action.

And what have I been doing ? Running to and fro the house for drinking water, coffee, towels to keep the dolphins' backs wet, running to get flippers out of cars. Making coffees, teas and sandwiches, because after 4 hours of rescue, the A-Team could do with a bite to eat.

According to Vinnie, the bleeding on mama dolphin had stopped. Why did they come this far up the inlet will be a mistery. Maybe the mama is sick, maybe they got excluded and chased out of the pod. 
Maybe they thought this was a safe place for them, because there is talk that orcas/killer whales have been spotted in the bay. 
We keep fingers and toes crossed that they will be ok for now, in a deeper water inlet a 100 meters from where we first discovered. them. Because, like Vinnie said, if the mama dies, the calf won't survive on its own.
I will keep you up to date if and when I have more news.

Patricia xxx...x

Thanks to Michael, Etienne, Vincent, Bert - the A-team
To Steffie, Wen, Pam, Ann, Diane & friend, Imelda & Sonja - the supporting team.
Let's add to it and say, this was and international rescue team. Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, Ireland, Germany & Belgium.

Update Monday, 24th August 2015
Unfortunately, they didn't make it.  At 1.15pm Bert went out in the boat to check up on them and he found they both had passed away in the same spot where they had been harboured.  It is sad beyond believe..

1 comment:

  1. Well done guys. Hope there is a positive outcome.


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