Castletownbere RNLI were launched this morning just before 9am to go to the immediate assistance of a kayaker who had become stranded yesterday evening on the Calf Rock and then went on to rescue his dog ‘Lucky’ who was stranded on the Bull Rock in west Cork.
Yesterday evening, a 50-year-old lone kayaker with his dog landed on the Bull Rock west of Dursey Island.
However, when he went to leave the rock, his dog ‘Lucky’ would not come with him. He then paddled to the Calf Rock where he intended to stay the night — however he became separated from his kayak and was stranded on the Calf Rock overnight.
The story began to unfold this morning when a local fishing vessel spotted the man calling for help on the Calf Rock. The vessel raised the alarm and Castletownbere lifeboat was tasked by Valentia Coastguard Radio.
The lifeboat ‘Annette Hutton’ was launched within minutes under the command of Coxswain Dean Hegarty with crew Marney O’Donoghue, Kyle Cronin, Mark O’Hare and David O’Donovan,
At 9.40am the lifeboat located the stranded man on the Calf Rock and immediately launched a small dingy to retrieve him. Coxswain Hegarty complimented the crew as landing at the rock required considerable skill as there was a 2/3-metre run of tide.
He was found to be safe and well. The lifeboat then proceeded west to the Bull Rock and again launched its Y boat in similar sea conditions to retrieve the man’s dog. Both man and dog were reunited on board the lifeboat.
Commenting on the callout, Castletownbere RNLI deputy launching authority, Felix O’Donoghue, said: ‘Luckily, other than being cold last night, neither the kayaker or his dog suffered any ill-effects from being stranded on two separate rocks overnight. Callouts like this highlight the need for anyone using the sea to carry a VHF radio to make contact in an emergency.”
RNLI Lifeboat operations manager, Paul Stevens said: “This is not the first time that someone has been stranded on the Calf Rock. In 1881, when the top of the lighthouse was blown off and swept away in a violent storm, six lighthouse keepers spent 12 days on the rock prior to being rescued. Modern lifeboats, dedicated volunteer crew and good weather meant that this kayaker only spent one night there!”