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Displaying items by tag: west cork

#MarineWildlife - The first humpback whale sighting for the new season in Irish waters was made last week off the Beara Peninsula.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s (IWDG) Patrick Lyne was in prime position to witness the unmistakable tail fluke some 5km offshore from Beara in West Cork on the afternoon of Wednesday 5 April.

While not the first humpback sighted this calendar year — that honour goes to a giant spotted off Wexford in early January — it’s still considered the first of the 2017/18 ‘large whale season’.

The sighting also continues a trend of earlier arrivals for Ireland’s regular humpback visitors over recent years, with 2016’s first recorded only four days later and spotted just 4km away.

Last Wednesday was a bumper day for marine wildlife sightings off Co Kerry, too, where Nick Massett spotted at least a dozen minke whales between Ventry, Slea Head and the Blaskets.

Many of these locations feature in Colin Stafford-Johnson’s new BBC TV series Wild Ireland, as BBC News reports. The two episodes are currently streaming via the BBC iPlayer, where available.

In other cetacean news, researchers believe that whale strandings may in part be caused by exhaustion when cetaceans flee human-made noise in the ocean.

According to the Irish Independent, a study by marine scientists at UC Santa Cruz found that beaked whales startled by low-frequency sonar raise their energy consumption by almost a third, increasing demands on their limited oxygen supply while below the surface.

The news will be fuel to those who suspect human activity at sea plays a major role in increased cetacean stranding rates.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, 2017 became the worst year on record for whale and dolphin strandings by mid February.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Rescue - Schull’s independent community lifeboat will soon join the Irish Coast Guard, as the Southern Star reports.

Established in 2005, the Schull Community Inshore Rescue Service will be officially renamed as Schull Coast Guard later this month after two years of talks on assimilating the West Cork volunteer rescue service with the national SAR agency.

A reception is planned to mark the change, details of which will be announced on the SCIRS Facebook page.

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#Coastguard - Goleen Coast Guard raced to the rescue of a dog trapped on a coastal cliff face in West Cork yesterday morning (Wednesday 22 February).

As BreakingNews.ie reports, two coastguard climbers set up a rig to abseil down to the border collie, named Boo, who had slipped down the cliff at Castlepoint near Schull.

“All went according too plan and boo was safely brought back to her owners again,” said a Goleen Coast Guard spokesperson.

Published in Coastguard
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#RNLI - Castletownbere RNLI was requested to go to the aid of a 36m vessel with mechanical difficulties north of the Bull Rock off the coast of West Cork on Friday evening (16 December).

The lifeboat, under the command of deputy coxswain Sean Bawn O’Sullivan, was launched within minutes and located the vessel at anchor about one hour later.

The vessel, the Ocean Guardian, was on passage from Castletownbere to Burtonport when it contacted Valentia Coast Guard.

With light winds and a 3-4m swell, RNLI volunteers passed a tow rope to the crew onboard, and the lifeboat took the vessel under tow to Castletownbere.

When off Crow Head some time later, the tow rope broke and had to be reattached. The tow was then completed without further difficulty.

The vessel was berthed alongside the pier in Castletownbere at 2.30am yesterday morning (Saturday 17 December).

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Fishing - A small fishing vessel had a close call in West Cork this week when a much larger trawler powered past from Castletownbere with barely any room to spare.

According to the Irish Examiner, the crew of the Celtic Dawn were hailing pots offshore when the Spanish boat approached at speed, and appeared to be taking no evasive action.

Maritime law dictates that vessels such as the Celtic Dawn that are hauling static gear have the right of way, as The Irish Times reports.

And the captain of the smaller boat was not pleased about the situation.

“If it had been foggy, we would have been in trouble,” said Kieran Sullivan.

See video of the near collision below:

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#RNLI - The Castletownbere lifeboat Annette Hutton was launched early yesterday morning (Saturday 20 August) when Valentia Coast Guard Radio requested assistance to a yacht in difficulties 45 miles south of Mizen Head in West Cork.

The 8m yacht with one person on board had left the Azores in early August and ran into difficulties in yesterday's severe weather.

The sailor, in his 60s, had been in regular radio contact with Valentia Coast Guard radio until yesterday morning, when his VHF radio was washed overboard. He activated an EPIRB to identify his location, raise the alarm and seek help.

The lifeboat, under the command of coxswain Brian O’Driscoll, was launched at 8am and located the casualty at 10.40am, some 50 miles south-west of Castletownbere. An Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter was also on scene. Conditions were described as gusting Force 8/9 winds with a 30ft swell.

Amid the challenging sea conditions, the yacht was taken under tow and the lifeboat proceeded slowly to Castletownbere. Early into the tow, the lifeboat crew became concerned about the wellbeing of the sailor and the crew managed to transfer him to the lifeboat.

With the damaged yacht in tow, the lifeboat returned to Castletownbere at 8.30pm, having been at sea for 12-and-a-half hours.

Last night the sailor thanked the Castletownbere lifeboat and all involved for "saving his life", saying: "Only for the lifeboat, things would have ended up very badly today."

Commenting on the callout, Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tony O’Sullivan added: "The coxswain and crew are to be complimented on today’s rescue – they demonstrated skill, seamanship and endurance during what was a long and challenging day."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - A group of kayakers were brought to safety on Thursday night (18 August) by Union Hall RNLI after they got into difficulty during a night-time kayaking expedition off Castlehaven in West Cork.

The alarm was raised by one of the kayakers after two of the party became separated and the group requested assistance to make their way back to shore.

Union Hall RNLI's inshore lifeboat was launched at 10.45pm and proceeded to the scene, where they learned that the two kayakers originally thought missing had made it to safety on shore and the rest of the group requested assistance to get back to land.

It was decided to take the group off their kayaks and bring them onto the lifeboat before bringing them the short distance to Reen Pier.

The 15 people were helped onboard the Atlantic 85 lifeboat while their kayaks were towed back to shore.

"This was a large group for our inshore lifeboat to assist and our volunteer crew did well in ensuring that everyone was taken onboard quickly and safely," said Union Hall RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Kelleher.

"The weather conditions were challenging for the lifeboat crew to get from their base in Union Hall over to Castlehaven but thankfully conditions on scene were much calmer.

"With the call for help coming in quite early and the lifeboat crew on scene quickly, we were able to get the situation under control in a short time with everyone accounted for and safely brought ashore."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#WestCork - The body of a fisherman whose body was recovered off West Cork yesterday morning (Tuesday 16 August) has been named as Michael O'Brien of Ballydehob, according to The Irish Times.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the alarm was raised on Monday evening (15 August) after the 69-year-old failed to return to Schull from a solo fishing trip. His empty punt was found a short time later in Long Island Bay.

After the search resumed yesterday morning, a local boat located O'Brien's body in the water west of Schull off Ballydevlin in an area known locally as Amsterdam Rocks.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Missing - The search resumed off West Cork this morning (Tuesday 16 August) for a man in his 60s who failed to return to Schull from a solo fishing trip yesterday evening, as The Irish Times reports.

RNLI lifeboats from Baltimore were joined by local fishermen and the Irish Coast Guard's Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 to sweep the area where the man's punt was found in Long Island Bay around 8.30pm.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

There are moments and scenes which stand out in your mind. Stamped on mine is the day I went to a coastal village in West Cork and there, on the edge of a cliffside near Barryroe, close to Courtmacsherry Harbour, I saw the remains of a long-abandoned fishing family’s home, where two sons had died in the biggest sea battle of World War One – the Battle of Jutland on the thirty-first of May 1916. A short distance further up the same cliffside from that house, I was shown the home of another family whose son had died in the same battle. And, amazingly, in the parish of Barryroe, six men from the village had died in that sea battle, fought by a hundred thousand sailors in 250 ships of the British and German Navies. Eight thousand of those sailors were killed, including the six men from this village in West Cork. Another 29 sailors from Barryroe survived.

The interest of coastal communities in their history and culture, their pride in their heritage are impressive and are well underlined in this edition of my maritime programme, THIS ISLAND NATION, (click below for podcast) in the process of producing which I am fortunate to meet such communities.

In this edition I meet people from Courtmacsherry and Barryroe on the West Cork coastline and hear how they have researched and, as a result honoured, the amazing linkage between the area and the biggest sea battle of World War One – the Battle of Jutland, which is also described as the biggest sea battle ever. The statistics from it are, in terms of human destruction, terrible.

To walk into Lislevane Cemetery in Barryroe and see the memorial to those who fought and died at the Battle of Jutland is an emotional experience.

Published in Island Nation
Page 7 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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