A HELPLESS seal that was washed ashore by the strong tides this morning was helped safely back into the sea by a serviceman on an early morning walk.
Sam Turner, 30, from Barnstaple, was out for a walk at Crow Point at around 9am when he spotted the exhausted seal quite a distance from the shore line caught up with some debris and driftwood.
Mr Turner, who said he had experience of dealing with seals in the Falklands, approached the seal, who he named Sedgwick, to attempt to get him back into the water.
He said: “I knew not to attempt to pick him up or anything as seals can become quite aggressive when they are on shore and not in their natural environment. So I picked up a near-by oar that had washed ashore and attempted to coax the seal in the right direction.
“I used to sail on the Taw and Torridge when I was younger, so I knew that if the seal had remained in its current position on the beach until high tide, it would have ended up in the Rock Park or somewhere.
“He seemed okay plodding along, turning every now and then to check I was still there.
Sam said that after reaching the shore and getting into the sea, a ferocious wave washed Sedgwick back up the beach.
He said: “After what seemed like ages we reached the
tideline but unfortunately for Sedgwick he was hit by a wave surge and the onshore gusts, so he promptly rolled halfway back up the beach.
“I think he was disorientated and a bit dazed as there was, again, lots off driftwood and debris rocking around and the wave that hit him had receded straight back into the sea again.”
But after a second attempt, Sedgwick made it back into the sea, and Sam watched as he swam of in the direction of Croyde and Baggy Point.
Sam said he had been telling his friends on Facebook about his attempts to rescue Sedgwick, and many people were relieved to hear that he had made it safely back into the water.
He said: “Sedgwick had built up a bit of a fan-base by the time he hit safe waters.”