Pod of stranded pilot whales rescued

WLFI whales

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. (CNN/WINK) – Two pilot whales are dead and one more was expected to be euthanized after getting stuck.

This happened off the coast of Southwest Florida.

Just miles away, a separate pod of about two dozen pilot whales swam into shallow waters.

“You could hear them clicking and popping in high-pitched frequencies,” said Sea Tow Capt. Sam Castleberry. “They were communicating.”

It was a sight he hadn’t seen before, and Castleberry was the first person to call in the pilot whale pod stuck in Gordon Pass on Sunday.

“Looked to my right, and there were three kayakers on top of a bunch of black fins, which is unusual for here,” he said. “Three beached around the corner on the mud flap. The rest of the pod was just kind of confused and breaking up all over the channel.”

Castleberry says many of the whales appeared lethargic and rode the tide closer to the sandbar, so Sea Tow and other organizations sprung into action to protect the massive mammals from other boaters.

They tried to coax them out to deeper water.

“In the end, they all kind of came back together and formed a column,” said Castleberry. “We guarded them as they headed out the pass.”

While he’s glad the whales made it out, questions about what brought them there still remain.

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