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Paddleboarder saves dolphin stranded in Poole Harbour
12:09pm Sunday 15th September 2013 in News
A PADDLEBOARDER saved the life of a beached dolphin in Poole Harbour yesterday morning after noticing it was in distress.
The marine creature had become stranded in just over a foot of water near Sandbanks and was unable to free itself.
But as a small crowd gathered, Andy Gratwick, who runs stand-up paddleboarding and kiteboarding company Easyriders, leapt in and helped to propel the dolphin back into open seas.
Mr Gratwick, who was joined by colleague Charlie Gregory, said: “We had just finished taking a group of people out on the water and we were packing out stuff away when we saw the dolphin.
“It seemed like it was a bit confused and had obviously come in way too close. It’s rare to see a dolphin in the harbour, especially when the water gets as shallow as that, so we jumped in.”
The two men lifted the animal up and carried it to deeper water.
“We’re just pleased to be able to help in some way,” Mr Gratwick said.
Theatre practitioner Carl Woodward was walking by Cafe Shore Bar and Restaurant when he spotted a fin in the water.
He said: “I had just been for brunch and I was walking along the bay when I saw this fin coasting along.
“It seemed like it was very close to land, and I had a moment where I couldn’t place it – I thought it might be a mechanical toy. It was getting closer and closer to land, and I suddenly realised it was a dolphin.”
Mr Woodward, who was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, was about to jump into the water to help when Mr Gratwick appeared.
“As the dolphin grew closer, it started to look like it was struggling,” he said.
“It was in two feet of water and still swimming inland.”
Mr Woodward watched Mr Gratwick and Mr Gregory help the dolphin, walking next to it for around 100 yards until it was able to swim away.
Mr Woodward said: “It was so moving and surreal.
“Watching the dolphin swim away was incredible. I’ve never seen a dolphin in the sea before, and watching it flailing around and trying to swim away was awful. It was an amazing experience.”
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