The first inshore Fin Whales of 2010 have been spotted off the Waterford coast, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have reported. The Fin Whale is the second largest animal on the planet, with only the Blue Whale larger. Fin whales can grow to 27 metres in length, and weigh up to 70 metric tonnes and live to nearly 100 years.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group carried out a whale watching session at Ram Head in Ardmore. The description that follows is from the IWDG website, which you can find here.
"With what looked like a brief window of opportunity we arrived yesterday evening 5th July at 19.40 to carry out one of our 100 minute effort watches at Ram Head, Ardmore, Co. Waterford. With sea conditions and visibility excellent, it seemed likely that if there was anything out there we’d have a good chance of seeing it.Within half an hour Ann picked up on a "low puffy" blow about 8 km east-south-east of us. The animal proved to be extremely elusive and it was another 20 minutes before it was seen again as it headed towards the horizon. Yet again it disappeared and as Ann stayed watching the area where this whale was sporadically surfacing, I decided to continue my scan. There in the usual ‘hot spot’ for whale activity, due south of me was our first fin whale of the season. This animal was behaving in a much more reasonable manner. Three or four tall vapour plumes appeared in sequence as the whale steamed towards Capel Island.
So, once again, as in several previous years, Ardmore has also proved to be the place to be to witness the arrival of the first of these welcome visitors to our coastline. Let’s hope they stick around a bit before heading along the coast to Cork!
We never secured an ID on the first whale, but considering that humpback (HBIRL3) also known as ‘Boomerang’ has twice before been seen in the same week in July in the same patch of water (15th July 2002 and 13th July 2008) might he have decided to visit us again this year?
As the weather window appears to have closed again it seems unlikely that we will get a chance to do a watch for a while so I guess we’ll never know!Andrew Malcolm & Ann Trimble, IWDG