RNLI volunteers greeted by rare sight on return from tasking on River Thames

At Midday on 25 February, Gravesend’s lifeboat ‘Olive Laura Deare II’ was returning to its station following a tasked job by HM Coastguard at Crossness, when crew on board were surprised to see three porpoises swimming towards them at Northfleet.

RNLI crew member John Robinson said, “It was an incredible sight, we spotted the Dolphin like fins at first, there were two adults and a calf, they were approximately two metres in length, incredible to witness right here on the River Thames, especially when they were jumping out of the water.”

Gravesend RNLI Station Manager Ian Smith added, “We often see Seals whilst out on the Lifeboat, but Porpoises and Dolphins are definitely on the rarer side of marine mammals we spot!”

The tidal Thames is home to internationally significant numbers of migratory and overwintering birds, 125 species of fish and marine and terrestrial mammals, and a wide variety of plant species.

Once the pod passed, the crew continued back to Gravesend Reach, refuelled and ready for service by 12:14pm.

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