Murray Brooks said his wife Eila found the young dolphin when she went to take their dog for a walk along Rarangi Beach, near Blenheim, about 9am.
The dolphin, which was less than a metre long, was close to death, he said.
”Its skin had dried out dramatically and was bleeding around the eyes and tail. My wife’s first thought was that it was dead but once she approached it, it gave a bit of a shudder.”
Mrs Brooks called her husband, who arrived with buckets to pour salt water on the young dolphin.
”We went up to the animal and it started talking to us, making a squeaking noise. As soon as we poured water on it, it came to life jumping and trying to flip. I was concerned it might hurt itself.”
Mr Brooks suspects the dolphin could have been stranded for up to six hours.
”It was lying on the sand at the high tide mark, which would have been about 3am.”
Mr Brooks called the Department of Conservation office in Renwick as neighbours Don Kelly and Sally Mason came to help.
The couples tried to carry the dolphin to the water on a sack, he said.
”There were quite big waves, over a metre high, and as soon as we got it in the water it turned and swam parallel rather than going out to sea.”
The young dolphin was washed ashore again.
The four rescuers decided to lay the dolphin on the wet sack and cover it with bull kelp to keep it cool.
A DOC worker arrived and took pictures and measurements, Mr Brooks said.
”Don and the DOC lady carried it out deep into the sea. It started coming back and we thought, ‘Oh no, here we go’ but it turned and went out.
”Then it started leaping into the air as if to say thank you. It was amazing.”
Source: Stuff.co.nz by Ian Allen