When two humpback whales stranded on a rugged Northland beach a community and volunteer effort swung into action to help refloat the massive marine mammals.

A community rescue effort quickly got under way to free two humpback whales that stranded on Baylys Beach, on Northland's rugged west coast, yesterday morning.

Project Jonah local medics were mobilised and its senior team responded to the rescue efforts.

By edition time yesterday the efforts were still ongoing, with the rescuers hoping that the
high tide, due after 5.30pm, would help refloat them.

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Two humpback whales and rescuers in the shallows on Baylys Beach.
Two humpback whales and rescuers in the shallows on Baylys Beach.

Residents and whale rescue volunteers turned out in their droves to brave the rugged, cold surf in an attempt to rescue the whales that stranded near Dargaville.

The whales are understood to have been first sighted at around 8am yesterday, just along from the entrance at Chase's Gorge. The Department Of Conservation Kauri Coast Office is co-ordinating the rescue effort.

Around 100 residents and volunteers have turned out to chip in and get the two whales back out to sea.

A humpback whale tries to make it back to sea after stranding on Baylys Beach yesterday.
A humpback whale tries to make it back to sea after stranding on Baylys Beach yesterday.

DOC Kauri Coast ranger Manu Kareko said he was proud to be part of such a helpful community.

"It's been amazing the amount of support from the local community."

Kareko was being support by his wife and both agreed it was a magnificent sight to behold.

A line of volunteers goes into a chilly Tasman Sea to help rescue two stranded whales on Baylys Beach yesterday.
A line of volunteers goes into a chilly Tasman Sea to help rescue two stranded whales on Baylys Beach yesterday.

"It makes you feel pretty insignificant, standing next to something this big. I've only ever been involved in one other situation like this and it was to try to remove two pygmy sperm whales, which were already deceased."

"These whales though, they're alive and they're just really massive."

Rescuers on Baylys Beach get ready to be called into action to help two humpback whales that stranded on the beach.
Rescuers on Baylys Beach get ready to be called into action to help two humpback whales that stranded on the beach.

His wife Kerryn said she had been talking to an old guy who grew up here.

"He said it was the first time he'd ever heard of such a stranding. I just hope that we can move them."

Long time Baylys Beach resident Cara Donaldson said it was an absolutely amazing sight.

The two whales could be overheard vocalising frequently during the rescue effort which is continuing to take place.

A Fire and Emergency spokesman said 20 firefighters from the Dargaville, Te Kopuru and Whangārei brigades assisted with the whale stranding.