Porpoise stranded by high tides and wind

RICHARD BATSON A porpoise stranded on Cromer beach was one victim of the high tides and wind.Floodwater lapped over shingle banks, and splashed against harbour and seawalls as high tides and winds tested the region's coastal defences yesterday.

RICHARD BATSON

A porpoise stranded on Cromer beach was one victim of the high tides and wind.

Floodwater lapped over shingle banks, and splashed against harbour and seawalls as high tides and winds tested the region's coastal defences yesterday.

The stricken porpoise was spotted in the surf at 1.30pm by a beachcomber from Aylsham who nursed it in the surf, moving it gently to keep it wet, while ensuring it did not drown through water going in its blow hole.

It was washed up opposite the resort's Henry Blogg lifeboat museum, having become separated from its mother and driven ashore in the high tides and driving northerly winds.

Last night, volunteers from a local wildlife rescue centre and a dive team worked to keep it alive.

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David Carr, a volunteer from the Seal and Bird Rescue Trust at Ridlington, who was called to the scene, praised the rescuer for his actions - but said keeping the porpoise alive would be difficult.

Warnings of possible flooding to homes and businesses were in place at Wells and Salthouse on the north Norfolk coast yesterday morning.

At Salthouse, waves trickled over the shingle bank - which is being left to lower naturally under a change of coastal management which is likely to result in more seawater breaching on to the freshwater marshes.

Parish council chairman Ivan Large, who watched the events from an upstairs window at his house, said: “It's come a little way across the marsh near Little Eye opposite the post office.

“We have been lucky because we have not had the high winds of 1953 or 1996.

“But it will get worse and worse.”

Salthouse suffered badly in the 1953 storm surge, when lives and homes were lost, and was also cut off when seas broke through in 1996 leaving the coast road under several feet of water.

At Wells, harbour master Bob Smith reported that the water covered the marshes, the quay and the harbour car park but had caused no particular problems.

Last night, the Environment Agency said the near 4m high tides would continue today, driven by force six winds gusting up to 35mph. People in coastal areas were urged to stay alert to flood warnings and alerts.

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