Live stranding in Skerries, Co. Dublin

28th Jul 2009 On 21 July a common dolphin Delphinus delphis live stranded at Skerries, Co. Dublin. Johnny Woodlock takes up the story.....

"It might have looked like a sharks fin in the sea just off the North strand in Skerries, Co. Dublin on Tues 21st July, but any fears were quickly put aside when onlookers realised that a small dolphin was swimming in Skerries Harbour. The young animal swam around the north strand about twenty yards out for ages from around 12 noon and eventually beached.

Luckily there were plenty of willing helpers to guide it back into deeper waters. But the young animal did not want to swim away. This odd behaviour prompted a number of onlookers to call the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and the Irish Seal Sanctuary to advise them of the animal. When the animal beached again at around half past four it was re-floated by members of the Skerries Coastguard Unit who had arrived to keep a watch on the crowds and try to ensure that nobody made the mistake of staying in the water too long and getting cold.

Volunteers had by now arrived from the Irish Seal Sanctuary and along with the Wildlife Service they sought advice over the phone from experts as to the best way to deal with the animal who was still swimming up and down close to shore. Volunteers tried to persuade it to swim out to sea by wading out until it dived and reappeared close to shore again. Although it was generally thought that the dolphin would restrand and die, it was decided to attempt to catch it and bring it offshore in the sailing club dingy.

Once examined closely it was identified as a female common dolphin, about one and half metres long, so not quite full-grown. It appeared to be in good health and was not underweight. Once it had been loaded into the boat she remained calm and allowed wet towels to be put over her to protect her skin and keep her cool. Once clear of Red Island and north of Colt Island she was lifted over the side and released. She swam off strongly in the direction of Shenick Island. An unusual passenger for Rory the boatman!"

IWDG would like to thank all those involved with this stranding.

Mick O'Connell,

IWDG Stranding Co-ordinator