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Displaying items by tag: west cork

#CoastalNotes - The recent discovery of a piece of worked flint at Lough Hyne on the West Cork coast could unlock the secrets of 4,000 years of settlement in the area.

Cork's Southern Star reports that the archaeological find at Ballinard on the marine lake and nature reserve is what remains of a core piece of flint "which would have been worked on, or knapped, by a skilled stone worker" to create tools such as blades and arrowheads.

It's unknown how the flint came to be in the area, as it is not a rock common to West Cork, though it is supposed that it arrived either as a result of trade with people from the Antrim area - Ireland's main source of flint - or brought ashore as 'moonstones' by fishermen off what is now Galley Head.

The Southern Star has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#MarineWildlife - The Sunday Independent reports on the recent visits by humpback whales to Baltimore that have taken the West Cork village by storm.

"The familiar vocabularies of fishing and sailing, which normally permeate worthwhile conversation in the village, have been temporarily relegated," writes Louis Jacob.

"Bubble-netting, breaching, pectoral-slapping and tail-fluking are just a few of the terms driving the discourse in the village now."

The humpback pod was captured on video a fortnight ago feeding on "the abundance of Atlantic sprat" shoaling along the coast - and their arrival has "triggered an epidemic of humpback-mania in Baltimore", lighting a spark of life during the slow December weeks.

Jacob also spoke to local photographer Simon Duggan, who was lucky enough to capture some stunning images of the breaching whales - which has in turn aided the sightings records of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Meanwhile, Niamh Naughton of veterinary X-ray firm BCF Technology was delighted to hand over a cheque for £2,000 (€2,480) on behalf of the BCF Foundation to Pádraig Whooley of the IWDG recently to support its cetacean conservation work.

Whooley commented: “We are so grateful for the support from BCF. This money will go into supporting us help people record sightings and strandings around the coastline of Ireland.

"Last year there were about 1,500 sightings of whales and dolphins in our waters.”

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

#RNLI - The Southern Star reports that Castletownbere RNLI in West Cork has a found a permanent home with the construction of a new station and pontoon.

Coxswain Brian O'Driscoll told the paper that the new station was "a long time coming".

The new €950,000 facility, replacing temporary accommodation that the lifeboat crews had occupied for 15 years, was build on reclaimed land provided by the Department of the Marine.

It comprises a two-storey lifeboat station and a pontoon from where the all-weather lifeboat can be launched for missions such as the fishing trawler grounded off Bere Island last month.

When completed, the building will also boast a crew changing room, training room, operations office and a charity shop.

The new station is scheduled to be open in the spring. The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MARITIME TV PROGRAMMES - Footage from the rescue of the only survivor of the Tit Bonhomme tragedy in West Cork last January will feature in the first of a new series of Ireland's Search and Rescue tomorrow evening on RTÉ One.

Abdul Mohammed, 43, survived the sinking of the trawler when it ran around in rough seas near Adam's Rock at Glandore Harbour, after he was able to reach the shore.

His brother Wael Mohammed (35) died along with skipper Michael Hayes (52), Saied Ali Edlin (26), Attea Shaban (26) and Kevin Kershaw (21) when the boat went down.

As the Southern Star reports, Mohammed will feature in Sunday's programme talking to presenter Claire Byrne about his struggle to survive the tragedy, while exclusive footage from the Irish Coast Guard's Rescue 117 helicopter, the Irish naval vessel LE Niamh and Naval Service divers shows the search for the missing fisherman in the wake of the incident - a first for Irish television.

The first episode of the six-part series will be broadcast this Sunday 18 November at 6.30pm on RTÉ One

Published in Maritime TV

#GLANDORE HARBOUR - After 27 years, Glandore Harbour Yacht Club has finally acquired a clubhouse in the picturesque West Cork harbour village.

"It may have taken a long time but the reward is that we have ended up with a perfect location for our clubhouse," says Commodore Diarmuid O’Donovan in a message on the club website.

The new facility has been funded by a combination of fundraising from past events and a mortgage of €140,000. More fundraising is required to may off the mortgage while the club begins work on the premises to bring them up to fire and disability certification.

"We are a small but thriving club and I am sure this will show as we continue to fundraise for the better of the club," says O'Donovan.

"We have come a long way over the past few years. Membership has grown significantly. We also need to update our sail training fleet and equipment to facilitate the expansion of the club. Junior sailing is the lifeline and future of our club.

"It is wonderful to see the enthusiasm of all involved and I am sure the clubhouse will be a welcome asset for all sailors alike."

Commodore O'Donovan also thanks the club's members and supporters, as well as past and present committee members, for the time and effort they have given to date.

Published in Irish Harbours

#BALTIMORE WHALE - Nine weeks after the tragic demise of the Baltimore Harbour fin whale, its carcass is still afloat off West Cork, creating a “rancid oil slick” in a special conservation area, according to a local resident.

Tom McCarthy contacted Afloat.ie with the above image of the 65ft whale carcass, which was towed out to the grey seal breeding ground off the Carthys Islands in Roaringwater Bay and has apparently been left to rot.

“It has been left here since the middle of August to decay,” says Tom. “The rancid oil slick is clearly visible and extends for over 1km on relatively still days, the smell is horrendous."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, plans were afoot to sink the fin whale carcass that was trapped in Baltimore Harbour in mid-August and endured a harrowing few days trapped in Baltimore Harbour before it died from what's presumed to be a combination of illness and injury.

Tom McCarthy claims that the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has washed its hands of the situation, considering the enormous marine mammal carcass to be a natural occurrence "even though the animal beached and died several miles [away and] was wrapped in a net and towed to its final resting position".

The location is in a Special Area of Conservation - yet according to Tom, no risk assessment appears to have been carried out beforehand.

"Ten minutes on the internet would show that whales are perhaps the most contaminated animals in the world," he says. "Their blubber is contaminated with persistent organic compounds such as PCBs, DDT, dioxins, etc and the internal organs such as the liver and kidneys are 'high', 'very high' or 'staggeringly high' in mercury, cadmium, chromium, etc.

"Some beached whales are found to be so contaminated the whale itself has to be considered as hazardous waste and disposed of as such."

Tom notes that the area is fished extensively for shrimp, crab, lobster and pollock, and that the rotting carcass is in close proximity to several mussel farms.

"It seems inevitable that as the whale continues to decay and is eaten whatever contaminants were present prior to death will re-enter the food chain."

He compares the current situation to a similar whale carcass disposal in Sligo last year, where the flesh was cut off and sent for incineration while the bones were marked for later skeletal recreation and sent for composting.

Regarding the West Cork whale carcass, Tom says: "Some estimates say it will take three years for the whale to completely decay."

Tom adds that he has been in contact with Cork County Council and hopes to hear on Monday about plans for a more appropriate method of disposal for the whale carcass.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#BOAT FIRE - The Irish Independent has more on the incident in which a motor cruiser caught fire off West Cork at the weekend, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Denis Ryan, a car dealer from Inishannon in Co Cork, says he is lucky to be alive after a sudden fire engulfed his power boat off the Seven Heads Peninsula on Saturday afternoon.

Ryan was piloting his boat alone in the waters near Courtmacsherry when the incident occurred, destroying the plastic-hulled vessel in a matter of minutes.

His immediate distress signal was picked up by the Naval Service vessel LE Niamh which was in the area at the time, and Ryan himself was quickly rescued from the water by a passing yachtsman.

Published in Rescue

#RESCUE - RTÉ News reports that a man has died following a diving accident off the Saltee Islands at the weekend.

The 25-year-old is believed to have rapidly ascended from 25 metres below the surface while on a dive with three others on the morning of Saturday 22 September.

Irish Coast Guard operatives from Waterford and Kilmore Quay were involved in the operation to rescue the man, who was later pronounced dead at Waterford Regional Hospital.

Meanwhile, RTÉ News also reports on the rescue of a man from a burning motor cruiser off the Seven Heads Peninsula in West Cork on Saturday afternoon.

Crew aboard the Naval Service vessel LE Niamh, on patrol in the area, transferred the man from his vessel to Kinsale. The boat later sank after attempts to extinguish the fire.

Published in Rescue

PORT & SHIPPING NEWS - A number of hazardous containers believed to have fallen from a cargo ship this summer are drifting towards Ireland's southwest coast, the Irish Examiner reports.

The containers are said to have slipped from the deck of the MSC Flaminia, a German-registered cargo vessel which caught fire on 14 July in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with the loss of two crew and forcing the rest to abandon ship.

The vessel had been en route from North Carolina in the United States to Brememhaven in northern Germany when the incident occurred.

Among the thousands of containers it was carrying were 149 classed as 'dangerous goods', their exact nature not yet confirmed, and it is thought some of these are among the containers that fell into the sea and went missing as the ship listed in mid-ocean.

As reported by the Maritime Bulletin, there was some speculation as to whether the missing containers slipped off deck or were jettisoned.

The containers have since appeared in the main cargo shipping lanes off the southwest coast, posing a danger to transatlantic vessels.

Operations have already begun to retrieve the containers and tow them into Castletownbere in West Cork.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 15 of 21

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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