Interislander offers free travel to whale strandings

By: Project Jonah New Zealand  05-Apr-2012

21 February 2012

We’re delighted to announce Interislander has extended its support of Project Jonah by offering free travel across the Cook Strait for trained marine mammal medics attending strandings in the South Island.

Volunteers will need to show their Project Jonah marine mammal medic identity card at the terminal in order to get their free journey approved, and they can bring their cars along too so long as there is space on-board.

"The work Project Jonah is doing is outstanding, we'd be remiss not to support them in any way we can," says Sales and Marketing Manager Gavin Rutherford.

"Interislander operates on the water and we take an active involvement in the environment we work in, it's great we can do that and offer a product to help Project Jonah at the same time," he says.

Interislander has been transporting the Project Jonah training team and its crucial equipment, across the strait, for three years.

In that time, hundreds of Kiwis have been trained in the basic skills of whale rescue.

“Transporting specialised rescue equipment can be expensive, we’re very lucky to have Interislander on-board with us. It’s allowed us to provide training in Nelson, Christchurch, and Golden Bay for the last three years. In that time we’ve trained more than 200 medics in the South Island,” says Ms Muncaster.

This summer, three mass strandings have already occurred at Farewell Spit in Golden Bay, calling on trained Project Jonah volunteers from as far as Canterbury and Wellington.

“The sheer size of the rescue operations at Farewell Spit means our Wellington volunteers are often called across to the South Island to help. The free travel from Interislander for volunteers and their cars, means we can get more trained hands on the ground at a stranding.”

The news is gathering support on our facebook page.

“That's brilliant news! That was one of the barriers for offering to help last time. Well done Interislander!” said volunteer Charlotte Luxford.

“It was simply finances that stopped me attending the last stranding. Well done PJ and awesome Interislander,” said Dawn Ireland-Spicer from Wellington.

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Project Jonah trains Golden Bay locals in whale rescue

Interislander will transport the Project Jonah team and its equipment to Picton this week, and will also offer free travel across the Cook Strait for Project Jonah marine mammal medics attending future strandings in Golden Bay. We’re looking to these young people to be the next generation of whale rescuers, many may have already attended strandings and they’ve got the energy and passion we love,” says Ms Muncaster.


Whales Restrand Overnight

Our volunteers have been outstanding and have put their rescue training to good use in support of the Department of Conservation’s stranding response,” she says. Unfortunately the stranded whales are now also further along the spit and on the extreme boundary of our ability to reach them for another rescue attempt. If there are any sightings of pilot whales in or around Golden Bay, people should call 0800 DOC HOT or 0800 4 WHALE immediately.