Update 2 pm
The orca on Marfells Beach has been refloated and is swimming out to sea.
The orca was floated into deeper water on a pontoon by about 15 people, including army personnel, Project Jonah, Orca Research Trust and Whale Rescue members.
The orca was floated along a trench about 1 metre deep and about 20 metres long dug in the sand by the army personnel to assist in moving the orca into deeper water. It began swimming by itself shortly after 1.30 pm.
A big thank you to the many people who've helped including Project Jonah, Orca Research Trust, Whale Rescue, army personnel from New Zealand, Canada, the United States and Australia and other volunteers who helped in the two days the orca was stranded.
Orca being refloated by volunteers at high tide
Update 11 am
The orca was reported stranded yesterday morning, shortly after 10.30 am. DOC staff, a Project Jonah volunteer and several other people tried to refloat it in the high tide yesterday afternoon but were unsuccessful as more people were needed to move the orca.
It has been cared for on the beach since being reported to us. DOC staff and Project Jonah medics monitored the orca overnight.
At first light, 25 New Zealand, American, Canadian and Australian army personnel came to help. They have been digging a trench to create a channel of deeper water to refloat the orca in. They happened to be in the Marlborough area for an international military exercise, and have been a huge help.
Project Jonah marine mammal medics, Orca Research Trust and Whale Rescue members and other volunteers are working with DOC staff to look after and try to rescue the orca. We have been keeping it cool and wet with buckets of sea water.
The attempt to refloat it will be made around high tide about 2 pm. Orca Research Trust and Whale Rescue members are flying into Blenheim to assist with the refloat along with the Project Jonah marine mammal medics.
A big thanks to all who are helping us.
We currently have enough people and do not need any more volunteers at this stage.