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Displaying items by tag: fin whales

#MarineWildlife - The whale watching season is well under way off the coast of Wexford, as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reported its first sightings of 2013 this week.

Just an hour into the maiden cetacean spotting voyage of the IWDG's new research vessel Celtic Mist at the weekend, members of the group were treated to the sight of fin whales and minke whales feeding south of Hook Head - not to mention some of the 'superpod' of dolphins seen last week in the Irish Sea.

And as World Irish reports, local wildlife ranger Tony Murray spotted the first humpback whale of the year in the same area.

Murray suggested that "a large herring haul going on in the southeast at the moment" is the main attraction for the ocean giants and their smaller, more plentiful companions.

The IWDG's Facebook page has a photo gallery containing some stunning snapshots of the day's excursion HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports of another "frenzy of activity" while on a whale research cruise off West Cork this week.

The 'members only' trip on Wednesday 5 December took in the hotspot west of Reen Pier in Union Hall "where humpback and fin whales have enthralled hundreds of whale watchers and wildlife enthusiasts alike in recent weeks," according to IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.

When it soon became clear that most of the whales had left the area, the team headed east to return an ill member to shore.

"This turn of events proved almost karmic," says Whooley, "as not long after dropping our colleague back to Reen Pier, we started getting text messages from IWDG observers Tim Feen and Chris O'Sullivan of both humpback and fin whales well to the east on the Clonakilty Bay side of Galley Head."

Racing against the fading afternoon light, the boat made it to the scene to witness the blows first of fin whales, then humpbacks - at least five of the latter and seven of the former - and confirming them as the giants previously seen between the Kedge and Stags.

The team collected biopsy samples from most of the relaxed pod, including one that is suspected to be a female humpback with a calf.

"Since then, the weather has been very poor," says Whooley, "but there are still sufficient reports coming into IWDG to suggest to us that the large whale activity is slowly pushing east."

The IWDG is also collaborating with the BBC's WinterWatch programme next week, which is hoping to follow up on last year's AutumnWatch special on fin whales from East Cork and Waterford by filming humpback whales in West Cork.

Members of the public or whale-watchers are encouraged to report any sightings they might witness over the weekend to the IWDG by using the 'Report a sighting' link on the home page at iwdg.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - A "feeding frenzy" involving a pod of fin whales was spotted off Hook Head in Co Wexford last week, The Irish Times reports.

And according to Andrew Malcolm of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), two of the whales were in the same location almost exactly a year ago.

Malcolm, who was with a group on board the Rebecca C, used photographs of the whale's dorsal fins to compare records for the confirmation.

The pod of six fin whales was seen feeding some 3km southeast of Hook Head, attracted by the herring spawning grounds in the area.

More than 30 other cetaceans, including common dolphins, porpoises and a minke whale, were sighted on the trip.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Sligo County Council is considering its options for disposal after the county's second whale stranding of the winter, when a 60ft male fin whale was beached at Agharrow.

A spokesperson told the Sligo Champion that the whale was in an area known locally as Staid Abbey, lying on a smooth rock ledge that slopes down towards the sea, and is a difficult point to access - particularly in the present stormy conditions.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a whale carcass was washed up at the end of last month not far from Agharrow at Raughley. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has confirmed that this was the first validated stranding recorded of a fin whale in Co Sligo.

That whale had its flesh removed for fertiliser, while its bones were studied by PhD students from NUI Galway ahead of being buried in a nearby field to allow for the natural decomposition of remaining flesh before future preservation.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Enniscorthy Guardian reports that the fin whales that have been sighted off Tramore in recent weeks may soon make their way towards the Wexford coast.

Afloat.ie recently reported that Waterford was the 'best place to be' for whale watching, with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) confirming fin whale sightings along a 20-mile stretch from Stradbally to Brownstone Head.

Cetacean fans are being advised to keep an eye on the coast from Hook Head to Brownstown headland to catch a glimpse of the fins, which are renowned for their six-foot whale blow.

Whale watchers are also urged to report any sightings to the IWDG online at www.iwdg.ie to help keep its database up to date.

Published in Marine Wildlife
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Last Tuesday heralded an incredible eight whale sighting reports off the Waterford coast, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
Sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley writes that most of the sightings have been confirmed to be fin whales, spotted close to the shore along a 20-mile stretch from Stradbally to Brownstone Head.
"For anyone interested in viewing the planet's second largest animal, clearly Co Waterford is still the place to be," he says.
But West Cork is also a hotspot for whale sightings, as BBC Autumnwatch's recent filming in the area with the IWDG illustrates.
It's expected that the large whale season will extend into February next year.
The IWDG has more on the story HERE.

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Last Tuesday heralded an incredible eight whale sighting reports off the Waterford coast, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley writes that most of the sightings have been confirmed to be fin whales, spotted close to the shore along a 20-mile stretch from Stradbally to Brownstone Head.

"For anyone interested in viewing the planet's second largest animal, clearly Co Waterford is still the place to be," he says.

But West Cork is also a hotspot for whale sightings, as BBC Autumnwatch's recent filming in the area with the IWDG illustrates.

It's expected that the large whale season will extend into February next year.

The IWDG has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is offering a limited number of places to non-members on its two upcoming autumn/winter whale-watching weekends in Co Cork.
The weekends, based at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery, are geared towards sightings of larger marine wildlife – specifically fin and humpback whales, which are commonly sighted in West Cork between October and December.
Two weekends are scheduled, on 28-30 Octover and 25-27 November, and both will include presentations as well as plenty of whale-watching opportunities on land and at sea.
The IWDG has also negotiated a special weekend rate of €120 at the Celtic Ross Hotel which includes two nights' B&B, an evening meal and a packed lunch.
The weekends are being booked in succession, both limited to 12 bookings, with seven places currently remaining for the first weekend. The IWDG warns that the trips are not suited to anyone in poor health or prone to sea-sickness, and that as always whale spottings cannot be guaranteed.
Anyone interested in attending or wishing to enquire further can contact Pádraig Whooley at [email protected] or 023 8838761, or write to the IWDG, Dereen, Rossmore, Clonakilty, Co Cork.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is offering a limited number of places to non-members on its two upcoming autumn/winter whale-watching weekends in Co Cork.

The weekends, based at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery, are geared towards sightings of larger marine wildlife – specifically fin and humpback whales, which are commonly sighted in West Cork between October and December.

Two weekends are scheduled, on 28-30 Octover and 25-27 November, and both will include presentations as well as plenty of whale-watching opportunities on land and at sea.

The IWDG has also negotiated a special weekend rate of €120 at the Celtic Ross Hotel which includes two nights' B&B, an evening meal and a packed lunch.

The weekends are being booked in succession, both limited to 12 bookings, with seven places currently remaining for the first weekend. The IWDG warns that the trips are not suited to anyone in poor health or prone to sea-sickness, and that as always whale spottings cannot be guaranteed.

Anyone interested in attending or wishing to enquire further can contact Pádraig Whooley at [email protected] or 023 8838761, or write to the IWDG, Dereen, Rossmore, Clonakilty, Co Cork.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Though they failed to track down the elusive humpback whales, IWDG members were recently treated to their first sighting of fin whales in Co Kerry's inshore waters.
With permission from the Haughey family to land on Inis Mhic Aoibhleáin - the most westerly point in Europe - as a vantage point, 20 members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group set out south towards the Scelligs following tell-tale blows.
Amid hundreds of dolphins and as many as 11 minke whales seen throughout the day, the first fin whale was found 10 miles south of the Blaskets.
Two more were spotted 4 miles northwest of Sceilig Mhichíl, both of which were biopsied.
"What we observed was spectacular activity in an area which appeared to be devoid of life just the week before," said the IWDG's Conor Ryan.
The IWDG has more on the story, including photos, HERE.

Though they failed to track down the elusive humpback whales, IWDG members were recently treated to their first sighting of fin whales in Co Kerry's inshore waters.

With permission from the Haughey family to land on Inis Mhic Aoibhleáin - the most westerly point in Europe - as a vantage point, 20 members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group set out south towards the Scelligs following tell-tale blows.

Amid hundreds of dolphins and as many as 11 minke whales seen throughout the day, the first fin whale was found 10 miles south of the Blaskets. 

Two more were spotted 4 miles northwest of Sceilig Mhichíl, both of which were biopsied.

"What we observed was spectacular activity in an area which appeared to be devoid of life just the week before," said the IWDG's Conor Ryan.

The IWDG has more on the story, including photos, HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Ireland's Wildlife's Calvin Jones recently joined the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group on the trail of fin whales off the West Cork coast.
Following reports of sightings just off the coastline, IWDG researchers set off with group members and a ranger from the National Parks and Wildlife Service on chartered vessel the Holly Joe to confirm for themselves.
"It took a while for us to spot the characteristic blow, gracefully arching back and almost ludicrously small dorsal fin of our first fin whale," says Jones, who also notes that the calm conditions made spotting their telltale blows more difficult due to the lack of spray.
Jones continues: "This day the water was so clear that at one point, looking down from the roof of the Holly Joe, I could clearly see the whole whale – from the tip of its head to the impressive tail flukes. It was bigger than the boat by some margin: an awe inspiring sight.
Ireland's Wildlife has more on the story HERE.

Ireland's Wildlife's Calvin Jones recently joined the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group on the trail of fin whales and other marine wildlife off the West Cork coast.

Following reports of sightings just off the coastline, IWDG researchers set off with group members and a ranger from the National Parks and Wildlife Service on chartered vessel the Holly Joe to confirm for themselves.

"It took a while for us to spot the characteristic blow, gracefully arching back and almost ludicrously small dorsal fin of our first fin whale," says Jones, who also notes that the calm conditions made spotting their telltale blows more difficult due to the lack of spray.

Jones continues: "This day the water was so clear that at one point, looking down from the roof of the Holly Joe, I could clearly see the whole whale – from the tip of its head to the impressive tail flukes. It was bigger than the boat by some margin: an awe inspiring sight."

Ireland's Wildlife has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Fastnet Line which runs the Cork-Swansea port route on the Celtic Sea, is assisting the charity MarineLife to monitor cetaceans, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The work of MarineLife is to survey the population trends and track the movements of dolphins, whales, porpoises and other wildlife. The research is undertaken onboard Fastnet Line's Julia (1981/21,699grt) and access to the ferry is provided free-of-charge to the wildlife-based charity.

During the months of July and August the ferry's schedule will allow for further opportunities to conduct daylight sightings of marine-life which is to be posted on MarineLife and Fastnet Line websites.

Adrian Shephard, Chairman of MarineLife Trustees, said: "The route from Swansea to Cork crosses a range of marine habitats and we hope it will generate many sightings of cetaceans and seabirds, including two important species we monitor, the white-beaked dolphin and the balearic shearwater".

In addition monitors recently observed fin whales, the second largest whale on the planet. Such sightings provide vital information and this will contribute to a better understanding of the distribution of cetaceans and other marine life in the Celtic Sea. To read more www.marine-life.org.uk

The first of four summertime surveys is to take place on 10 July. Overall the research by MarineLife is part of a larger project which also involves the use of other ferries operating in the Irish Sea and those serving on UK continental routes.

The 1,500 passenger / 325 car-carrying Julia sails year-round six times a week between September to June and from next month and during August the vessel will provide eight sailings per week. For fares and sailings schedules contact www.fastnetline.com

Published in Marine Science
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