A trapped dolphin has been freed from a remote lagoon near Queensland’s North Stradbroke Island after a marathon rescue mission in rough seas.
Divers spotted the bottlenose dolphin at Flat Rock island on Saturday and assumed it would find its way out of the 30 metre long rock pool next high tide.
But the stricken animal, which is thought to have become confused after swimming into the jagged-edged pool chasing a feed, was still there the following day.
Moreton Bay Marine Park rangers, Sea World staff and Quandamooka Indigenous rangers tried to get to the dolphin on Sunday and Monday.
But dangerous seas forced their boats back to port.
They eventually reached the lagoon, about 4.5km from North Stradbroke Island, on Tuesday and found the two-metre adult dolphin was uninjured.
Rescuers used nets to shepherd the animal before transferring it to a stretcher and carrying it out of the pool to freedom.
“Conditions were challenging because the rock pool was sharp and jagged and the net we were using to herd the dolphin kept snagging,” ranger Mike Carr said on Wednesday.
“The dolphin could not get out because the bubbles and wash from the surf interfered with its eco-location sonar and it couldn’t find its way out.”
Flat Rock is a popular dive site known for its coral gardens and the grey nurse sharks that gather during winter on the eastern side of the island at an area called Shark Alley.