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Displaying items by tag: Baltimore

A temporary floating pontoon for visiting boats is present during the summer season that makes it easier for boaters to enjoy this extensive harbour with good anchorage. The pontoon is suitable for up to seven or eight boats and is used by a mix of cruising boats, ribs and local fishing boats.

Published in Irish Marinas

#MarineWildlife - A juvenile humpback whale sighting off West Cork provided a St Patrick's weekend surprise for cetacean watchers.

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley writes on the discovery made off the Stags on the afternoon of Monday 18 March, which was verified by IWDG members Simon Duggan, Youen Yacob and Robbie Murphy.

Photo ID images captured at the scene allowed experts to confirm the whale is a newcomer to Irish waters, bringing the known total to 22 and continuing a growing trend.

Whooley also notes the unusual nature of the sighting, coming some months after the busy humpback whale activity in the area previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Those whales weren't seen again after that flurry of breaching and bubble-netting off Baltimore - presumably because being an older group, they were drawn south by their migratory instinct to the tropical feeding grounds.

In contrast, this likely juvenile - named Baltimore - may have opted to winter in higher latitudes to avoid competition with bigger counterparts, something that a group of humpbacks in the Norwegian fjords have also chosen to do this year.

The IWDG has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Check out this wonderful video - via the Baltimore Photos Facebook page - of two male humpback whales fighting over a prospective female partner off West Cork late last year.

Richard O'Flynn, who posted the footage to YouTube, says: "We were following two humpbacks for about 30 minutes when a third one turned up.

"What you're seeing here is the female to the right of the shot and her partner between her and the third humpback trying to keep him away from her. It went on for about one-and-a-half hours!"

O'Flynn said it was only his second time using the video camera "so please forgive the shake... and I was driving the boat at the same time!"

Published in Marine Wildlife

#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

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The carcass of the fin whale that died after being trapped in Baltimore Harbour two months ago has been towed out to sea after its presence in a conservation area attracted complaints.

According to the Irish Examiner, disappointment has been expressed by a local group in Baltimore who hoped to salvage the skeleton of the 65ft female fin whale, the remains of which have now been towed out beyond Fastnet Rock for disposal.

Last week Afloat.ie reported on claims from local resident Tom McCarthy, among others from the Schull area, that the whale carcass was creating a "rancid oil slick" with a "horrendous smell" in Roaringwater Bay, a Special Area of Conservation for marine wildlife that houses a grey seal breeding ground.

However, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) - which was working with Baltimore residents on their plan to retrieve the bones with a view to displaying the skeleton in the town - criticised the decision by Cork County Council to dump the remains.

IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley pointed the finger at "vested interests" exaggerating claims about health hazards, arguing that "towing it out to sea raises the very real possibility that [it] could simply wash up on the coast again."

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#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

#rnli – Baltimore RNLI have officially named the new €3m Tamar class lifeboat Alan Massey at a harbour ceremony yesterday.

The lifeboat was substantially funded by a legacy from Ms Dorothy May Massey in honour of her late brother Alan.  It was named by Mrs Sue Windsor, a close family friend of Ms Massey, before being handed over to Baltimore RNLI.

Mr. Declan Tiernan, Chairperson of the Baltimore Lifeboat Station stated that the lifeboat has already proved its worth.  He told the crowd about a recent callout which involved the new lifeboat and its Y boat (an inflatable boat carried on the deck of the lifeboat).  Last month two teenagers were trapped in a cave and conditions were making it impossible for rescuers to get close, the lifeboat crew deployed the small Y boat from the lifeboat to bring the lifeboat volunteers as far into the narrow cave as they could safely go before a crewmember then swam the rest of the way and brought them to safety.

RNLI Operations Director Michael Vlasto OBE, who travelled to Baltimore to accept the lifeboat into the care of the Institution commented, " Baltimore's lifeboats have a proud history of lifesaving dating back to 1919 and since then have launched 718 times and in so doing have rescued 661 people.  Ten medals have been awarded, the last being voted in 1992 to the current Coxswain Kieran Cotter.

In the RNLI, the safety of our volunteer crew is paramount.  We strive to ensure they have the best lifeboats, excellent training and first class equipment to carry out their often difficult tasks.  This Tamar lifeboat is state of the art and has proven to be a thoroughly reliable and capable lifesaving craft since its arrival here at Baltimore."

Tom Bushe, Baltimore RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager accepted the lifeboat into the care of the Baltimore Lifeboat station.  The new lifeboat has already launched 14 times and rescued 17 people since its arrival in February.  Tom added, " We are very proud to be the custodians of this lifeboat. The crew in Baltimore provide an exceptional service to their community. These are ordinary people who are ready to risk their own lives in the service of others."

The lifeboat was officially named in the traditional way of breaking a bottle of champagne over the bow.Mrs Sue Windsor then named the lifeboat Alan Massey.

Ms Dorothy May Massey was born in 1906 and lived in Watford.  She was the youngest of three children.  It was her wish to fund a lifeboat and she passed away in 2003 aged 97.  The Baltimore Tamar lifeboat has been substantially funded by her legacy together with the generous bequests of Henry and Joan Jermyn, John Noel Harvey Ward and John Heath.

The new Tamar class lifeboat is 16.3 metres in length with a maximum speed of 25 knots compared to the 14.3 metres of Baltimore RNLI's former Tyne class lifeboat, which had a maximum speed of 18 knots.  The lifeboat is self-righting and is fitted with an integrated electronics systems and information management system, which allows the lifeboat crew to monitor, operate and control many of the boats systems from shock mitigating seats.  It has room for 44 survivors.

The event included local school children from Rath National School who sang the lifeboat anthem Home from the Sea and groups and musicians including the Rathmore Church Choir, The Baltimore Singers and HX Brass.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#MISSING DIVER - Teams were still searching yesterday at a wreck site off Cape Clear for a diver missing since Tuesday, according to The Irish Times.

A Defence Forces spokesperson told the paper that a sonar device would be employed to scan the seabed for any sign of 54-year-old Reinhardt Teschke, who failed to resurface from a 90m dive on the wreck of British merchant vessel the Minnehaha.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Baltimore RNLI launched both its inshore and all-weather lifeboats to the scene south of Balitmore Harbour in West Cork on Tuesday evening to search for the German diver, one of a party of three at the wreck site.

Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 and the Naval Service vessel LE Ciara were also involved in the surface search, which was set to be wound down yesterday.

Published in News Update

#rnli – Baltimore Lifeboat have resumed a search for a missing diver this morning at a wreck site south of Baltimore Harbour in West Cork.

Both the inshore lifeboat and all weather lifeboat were launched yesterday evening in response to a request from the coastguard to assist in locating a diver reported missing earlier in the afternoon.

The diver had been one of a party of three diving at a wreck site 12 miles south of Baltimore Harbour. The divers are reported by the RNLI to be of German and the dive site  the wreck of the Minnehaha.

Weather conditions were excellent with a 1.5 metre swell and force 3-4 winds. The Navy vessel LE Ciara, Coastguard Helicopter 115 and the Holly Joe were all involved in the search.

As darkness approached last night the inshore lifeboat (ILB) was stood down and returned to Baltimore at 21.10 approx. Onboard the B-class ILB Bessie, were Helm Youen Jacob, Shane MacSweeney and Ger O'Brien. On board the Tamar class ALB Alan Massey, were Coxswain Kieran Cotter, Cathal Cottrell (mechanic), John Rochford, Brian MacSweeney, Jerry Smith and Aidan Bushe.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Examiner reports that samples from the fin whale that stranded and died in Baltimore Harbour last week have been sent to Dublin for analysis.

Samples of skin and blubber will be tested by marine science experts at the Irish Cetacean Tissue Bank in the Natural History Museum as well as at the Marine Institute, while a student studying for a PhD on the feeding ecology of fin whales will also examine the remains.

As reported yesterday on Afloat.ie, the whale carcass has been towed out of the inner harbour as preparations are made to sink it to the seabed, where marine life such as fish and crabs will quickly strip it down to a skeleton that locals hope to put on display in the West Cork town.

A post-mortem will not be carried out by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) due to lack of funding for the specialised procedure. A previous necropsy of a fin whale stranded at Courtmacsherry was funded by the US-based magazine National Geographic.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 10 of 15

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