Rescuers keep eye on whales

Rescuers hope the 45 whales refloated in Golden Bay yesterday will remain at sea during today's storm.

At 8am today, only one dead whale had been found on Farewell Spit. Department of Conservation Takaka conservation services manager John Mason said 60 per cent of the spit had been searched, with the most likely beaches for stranding remaining clear.

When rescuers left the Farewell Spit area late yesterday, the whales had been milling in shallow water offshore from the spit for several hours.

Project Jonah general manager Daren Grover said his volunteers would watch the beach from Puponga's Paddle Crab Cafe today. The poor weather limited visibility, but he could see about 4-5km along the beach.

"I think we're here for the day. We'll be checking in with DOC and will make a decision about relocating later in the afternoon."

He said there was no sign of the whales at sea, confirming this was good news. If the whales managed to stay off the beach, Mr Grover said this would be a testament to the work put in by rescuers.

"I think the phrase used the other day was a Trojan effort by volunteers, DOC staff and our trained medics."

The Nelson Mail