Nova Scotia

Group of N.S. river rafters help rescue beached whale

Some people who wanted to ride the tidal bore of a Nova Scotia river got more than they bargained for on Sunday, when they came across a minke whale beached on a sandbar.

Crews with Tidal Bore Rafting Resort, a company that takes passengers on river rides, spotted the stranded marine animal while heading out to meet the surging tide on the Shubenacadie River.

“It was very exciting and we just happened to have one group, a giant group, and everyone was very concerned … but everyone was getting pictures,” Dwight Barkhouse, the resort’s rafting operations manager, said Monday.

“It was like a crazy event, I still can’t believe that it even happened.”

He said the whale was only in about five centimetres of water and was being pecked at by crows, so he and the passengers on the company’s boats rushed to help.

He said he hasn’t seen anything like it in his 13 years of guiding rafting trips on the river. He said they splashed water on the whale while they waited for the incoming tide.

“It was so entertaining and just mind-blowing to them that everyone missed the tidal bore coming in,” Barkhouse said. “No one was really paying attention to that and it was a rush to get back in the boats in time.”

He said while the other boats took off, he stayed with the whale to make sure it got away. He said the last he saw it, the whale was swimming toward the Bay of Fundy.

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