Baby Seal Rescue

Nothing like a Sunday stroll on Long Strand in beautiful West Cork followed by a delicious lunch at The Fish Basket! But you never know what might happen on the beach….

We had met our friends, Anna and John for a catch up, and were deeply engrossed in chat when we came upon a little seal pup cleverly disguised as a lump of wet sand, near the water’s edge.
He looked abandoned, cold, miserable, and alone. Although instinctively you think about getting him back into the sea, we knew not to go near him, touch him, or attempt to put him in the water, any of which would assure his demise.

The mother seal had possibly left him on the beach for safe keeping while she went fishing. She was perhaps, not far offshore waiting for the coast to clear of meddling humans so she could fetch him for dinner! Or he may also have been stranded on the beach by the outgoing tide, or sickly, and therefore in need of human interference and a rescue.

We contacted Seal Rescue Ireland, and even on a Sunday, Claire was at the other end of the phone to advise us and coordinate a plan for the little guy. We took some video of the seal for her and sent her our coordinates. We then put a message for others on the beach using beach pebbles saying “leave alone” to warn people to keep a distance and not touch him.

After a short while Claire let us know that volunteers were on their way to the rescue. Hopefully by now our little beach buddy is hanging out with his Mum again, or in good human hands being nursed back to health. We, and some of our Atlantic Sea Kayaking Team, are now committed to do a course with Seal Rescue Ireland to become volunteers ourselves. There are lots of ways to get involved, have a look at their excellent website if you are interested.

The strangest thing about this story is that the last time we were on a beach with our friends John and Anna, was in Baja Mexico, where we came upon a beached pregnant dolphin and also got involved in a rescue….I can’t wait for our next outing!

Blog no.1

Welcome to Atlantic Sea Kayaking’s blog space!

This is the first of, we hope, many blogs. As it is January, let’s start by wishing everybody a healthy, active and  very happy New Year.

We are still celebrating our new website, which has been up and running since June of last year. It was a rush to the finish to get it up and running for the season, and thank goodness we did, as it was a crazy busy season. We are still working on improving and finishing it, so hopefully you will see improvements this year. Granite Digital did a fantastic job creating our new website, and were also the company that designed our first one, so a big huge thanks and well done to them. Michelle, who was our project coordinator, has amazing patience and good humour ….special thanks to you Michelle, and also to Rob for always looking after us, and to the whole team who are still taking care of our needs, Artur ,and the support team. We highly recommend Granite Digital for all
your digital needs!

A big thanks also to our superb Atlantic Sea Kayaking Team, who represent us so well and who take such good care of all our customers.
We must thank all our past, present and future customers as well…without you we wouldn’t exist!
Thank you also for your wonderful feedback, mostly really positive, which encourages and energizes us, and for also letting us know where we can improve…very important too!

We are looking forward to a busy 2019 with new additions to our offerings, as well as all the great trips we already do, and we hope you will be part of the fun and adventure.

We are kicking off the season with an exploratory trip to Costa Rica with a view to running a trip there, followed by
our legendary Baja Mexico Tour…if you haven’t done it…you haven’t lived!! Next blog will be from the Americas!
Pura Vida!


It was a very moving experience. We were in the water for well over two hours, supporting an injured and heavily pregnant bottlenose dolphin. Every few minutes, I could feel her contractions under my hands.


We had been camping and whale watching for a few days on a sand bar in the Pacific waters of Magdelena Bay, Baja, Mexico.

We were returning from a whale watching outing when we noticed something large and black on the nearby beach. We landed the boat at the beach and realized it was a pregnant  female  dolphin who, we think, had been attacked by cookie cutter sharks and had been out of the water for a long time.

She was in great distress. She had at least seven perfectly round bites all over her body. Once we got her back into the water, we held her suspended, her belly free of the sand and her blowhole unimpeded, to allow her to recover.

It took six of us to support her, as we had to keep her up off the sandy bottom and stop her from rolling to the side. It was difficult to keep a foothold in the sand and not get too deep in the water, as there was a massive current. We took turns and one of the Mexican guides used his phone to try to get help out to us.

It was quite a mix of people surrounding her…a photographer, an IT expert, two healers, an artist, a college graduate, the local guides and myself, the tour leader.  We didn’t talk much, just reminding each other to watch our footing and mind our backs. But everyone was communicating in murmurs and strokes with the dolphin, and as she began to recover a bit, she began communicating with us also. It reminded me of the noises Flipper the dolphin made on TV when I was a kid.

When she seemed stronger, we tried to push her out into deeper water. She tried to swim away but listed to one side and ended up circling back to the beach. We held her some more and tried again.

In the meantime, the guide thought a boat was coming to our aid, but it was diverted to a whale rescue. By now we were all tired and cold from being half submerged in the water.

Our group leader, Jim, arrived with extra clothes and water for us.

He showed us how to make slings for the dolphin out of life vests, which made it much easier to hold her and was probably more comfortable for her. We continued to hold her and to encourage her to swim away, but something was impeding her swimming, perhaps an internal injury or a damaged flipper.

I rang our friend Colin, a whale and dolphin expert, who was in Portugal, to see if there was anything else we could do. He didn’t think so.

Finally, the guides made the call that we would have to leave her to fend for herself.  Sorrowfully and tearfully, we whispered our good wishes to her and pushed her into deeper water one more time. She again circled back in, foundering in the shallows.

The guides continued to push her into deeper water, again and again. We forced ourselves to leave, and went back to camp almost wordlessly, sharing grief and acceptance as well. It haunted me for hours that we had maybe only prolonged her agony and that she would now have to go through it all again, alone on the beach.

So a few hours later, we hiked back to the beach and to our joy…no dolphin. She had at least managed to stay in the sea and perhaps even was able to birth her baby, even if she couldn’t recover herself. We will never know for sure but I choose to believe that is what happened, and that there was some kind of a happy ending.

We were surrounded by dolphins over the next few days when we were on the boat, members of her family perhaps, announcing a new member in their pod.