Wet sheets and buckets of water keep Moko the inflatable dolphin cool and wet while he waits to be refloated. On the right, PJ is turned into the tide ready to be refloated and released from an inflatable pontoon. (images: J. Gregory)
Since its beginnings nearly 40 years ago as an anti-whaling movement, Project Jonah has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of marine mammals and the oceans they call home. When New Zealand rejoined the International Whaling Commission in 1976, the charity’s focus has shifted to public awareness programmes and it has acted as a watchdog on decision-makers. But it is in its most public role, rescuing stranded whales and dolphins, that Project Jonah is best known, and teams of volunteers can often be seen hard at work on our summer beaches. In the second of this two-part feature, Justin Gregory joins a group of would-be volunteers and trains to become a marine mammal medic. Having completed the theoretical part of the course, he goes down to the seaside to get to grips with the realities of rescuing a stranded whale.