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Displaying items by tag: Whale

#portsmouthwhales – It's not often children get the chance to put their head in the mouth of a shark, but that's just one exciting adventure they can have at Portsmouth International Port's Marine Wildlife Festival in February.

It won't be a real shark, of course, but one of 13 life sized inflatable models of whales, sharks and dolphins that will be on display in the terminal building. The biggest is 42–feet long, that's 13 metres of whale that you can stand next to. Four will be hanging from the ceiling.

The 'pop up' exhibition opens on the 11th February, with classes from schools all around Portsmouth already booked to come and take part in a "Whale Workshop". Experts from marine wildlife charity ORCA will be taking lessons, with students learning all about the whales, dolphins, porpoises, sharks, seals and turtles that can be found on a Ferry crossing from Portsmouth International Port. Passengers and locals can also come and visit at any time during the four day long exhibition.

Whale watching is becoming a popular holiday pastime, with people paying thousands for trips around the world. Yet few realise they can see a huge variety of whales and other species when sailing from Portsmouth to Spain as part of a holiday or other trip. This is because the ferries travel through the Bay of Biscay, which is a whale and dolphin hotspot thanks to the variety of depth ranging from 200 – 4,999 metres deep and the abundance of food that suits many different species. This includes the deep diving Sperm Whale and Cuvier's Beaked Whale, making it a perfect spot for passengers to go looking for these magnificent creatures.

Martin Putman, Port Manager of Portsmouth International Port, said 'Since Brittany Ferries launched its whale watching mini cruises a few years ago we've become known as a gateway port for seeing whales, dolphins and other beautiful marine mammals. Anyone heading off on holiday to Spain has the chance of a memorable encounter, and this incredible Marine Wildlife Festival gives a great idea of what you might see."

ORCA has been working hard with Brittany Ferries for 10 years, with wildlife officers onboard the 'Pont Aven' and 'Cap Finistère' recording sightings of Marine wildlife. The charity is always keen to share its knowledge with passengers, helping them to understand more about what is in the sea around them.

Anna Bunney ORCA Community Wildlife Officer said, "People don't fully appreciate how accessible a wide variety of species is right on our doorstep. There's no need to spend big money to see whales when it's often an added bonus when travelling from Portsmouth International Port. We're delighted to be a part of the Marine Wildlife Festival, bringing this rich variety of creatures to life inside the terminal building."

On display will be life-size models of a 13m long female Sperm Whale, 8m Minke Whale, 8m Basking Shark, 6m Pilot Whale, 6m Orca Whale, 3m Orca Whale Calf, 3m, Risso's Dolphin, 3m Bottlenose Dolphin, 2m Common Dolphin, 2m Striped Dolphin, 1.5m Harbour Porpoise, 2m Grey Seal male, female & calf, and a 2m Leatherback Turtle.

There will be one more loveable whale also in attendance. Pip, Portsmouth International Port's cuddly human sized mascot, will be making an appearance for photos with young children and families off on half term holidays.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#kayakingwhale – Youtube footage captures the moment two kayakers, a father and daughter were lifted clear out of the water after a whale surfaced underneath them.

The two were paddling in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Puerto Madryn, Argentina, when they spotted two whales swimming nearby.

One of the kayakers had a camera and was able to record as the whales turned around and approached their kayak, before suspending them on its back.

The father jokes: "Look, it's coming over here, it's angry with you.

"It's coming to bite the paddle. Terrible, terrible, we're on top of the whale!"

The whale lifted the kayak out of the water for a few seconds, before sinking back below the waves and swimming away.

The footage, posted on YouTube by user gisela6652, has already received nearly 800,000 views online.

Published in Canoeing
Tagged under

Lifeboat crew at Tramore RNLI were called out this morning to help assist a whale which had become tangled up in lobster pots. Working alongside an inshore fishing vessel, the two crews worked together to free the mammal.

The lifeboat was launched with around 11.30am after a local fishing vessel reported what they believed to be a whale caught up in lobster pots a quarter of a mile out from shore. When the lifeboat arrived on scene they had to wait some minutes for the creature to surface.

On closer inspection it was discovered that the rope holding some lobster pots together had become snagged in the mammal's mouth and it was turning around in the water repeatedly, attempting to free itself.

The lifeboat worked alongside the inshore fishing vessel, which had an onboard winch, to try and cut the rope free from the mammal's mouth.  At first the lifeboat crew tried to take hold of the rope but they were being dragged by the mammal.  This continued when they passed the rope onto the larger fishing vessel.

It was then the mammal was hoisted onto the winch of the inshore fishing vessel and the rope was cut free.  The lobster pots where then hauled onboard and the mammal on becoming free from the pots calmly swam out to sea.

whale2

Commenting on the callout Tramore RNLI crewmember Tom McConnell said, "This was a huge creature.  We had to be extremely cautious and work carefully with the other vessel to free it. We felt that one wrong move and we could be flipped over in our inshore lifeboat.  We had asked our colleagues in Dunmore East RNLI to be on standby with their all weather lifeboat but thankfully the whale was freed and able to return the deeper waters."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#VOLVO OCEAN RACE - The incredible finish of the latest leg of the Volvo Ocean Race wasn't the only drama on the high seas for one competing team.

Just days before CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand had the misfortune of stalling metres from the line in Lisbon on Friday night, they were involved in a near-miss with a whale in the North Atlantic, as the UK's Mirror reports.

The video above captures the team working quickly to alter their course to avoid the marine giant on their port side at a speed in excess of 20 knots.

It's that kind of quick thinking that separates the good from the great who take part on this round-the-world odyssey across the planet's toughest seas.

The CAMPER team currently lies fourth in the overall standings, 21 points behind new leaders Groupama.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

#BUSINESS - Water systems firm Whale has featured in The Sunday Times' Best Small Companies to Work For list for the third year running.

The 2012 edition of the list sees the Bangor-based company - and the only Northern Irish representative - rise 19 places to number 77.

Whale was particularly commended for looking after the wellbeing of its staff, its overall ranking of eighth place reflecting the faith in managing director Patrick Hurst and the employees trust in the “sound capabilities” of the leadership.

Patrick Hurst commented: “To be listed again in 2012 is just fantastic for all the team at Whale. Our employees and their attitude and loyalty is what defines the business and is core to its continued commercial success.

"The Whale team in the are a credit to the company and themselves. They have all worked hard together to continually maintain the quality and introduce innovative, market leading products."

Whale (Munster Simms Engineering Limited) is a key player in the leisure marine, recreational vehicle, shower drainage and industrial markets. The company specialises in the design and manufacture of water, waste and heating products including manual and electric freshwater, bilge and waste pumps, Quick Connect plumbing systems, faucets, showers, space and water heaters, and accessories.

Published in News Update

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Times reports that the sperm whale that was stranded in Connemara at the end of last year has been buried at sea.

The 13-metre whale carcass has attracted thousands of onlookers to Omey Island in Co Galway.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the sperm whale was found beached with a broken lower jaw and shed of its skin.

The whale carcass was towed out to sea west of High Island on Thursday after being deemed too large to bury on land.

"Chances are it died offshore and got washed in with the wind," said Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

The IWDG added that such strandings were relatively common, although as reported on Afloat.ie last year there has been growing concern over the rising number of dolphin deaths along the south coast in particular.

Published in Marine Wildlife
A sperm whale that beached on a sand spit in Dungarvan, Co Waterford on Friday has died.
The male whale had been spotted off the coast in the 24 hours before it was discovered 'live stranded' on Cunnigar Strand.
Rescuers said there was "no effective way" of refloating the 10+ metre long whale from what became its final resting place.
"Once they come this far inshore they are pretty much doomed," the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) Pádraig Whooley told the Irish Examiner.
No decision has yet been made regarding disposal of the whale carcass, but Irish Weather online quotes Whooley as saying it is "a wasted opportunity when these magnificent specimens are simply hauled off for incineration".

A sperm whale that beached on a sand spit in Dungarvan, Co Waterford on Friday has died.

The male whale had been spotted off the coast in the 24 hours before it was discovered 'live stranded' on Cunnigar Strand.

Rescuers said there was "no effective way" of refloating the 10+ metre long whale from what became its final resting place.

"Once they come this far inshore they are pretty much doomed," the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) Pádraig Whooley told the Irish Examiner.

No decision has yet been made regarding disposal of the whale carcass, but Irish Weather Online quotes Whooley as saying it is "a wasted opportunity when these magnificent specimens are simply hauled off for incineration".

Published in Marine Wildlife

I am reflecting this week on a varied list of maritime issues which have arisen in my writings on marine topics.

Following recent pieces I wrote about the attitude of political parties in the General Election towards the marine sector, I had a telephone call from a senior Fine Gael politician and, lo and behold, the party included the marine sector in its manifesto, pledging to restore the Department of the Marine, abolished by Fianna Fail. I await post-election developments with interest.

It has been a good week for those interested in protection of whales and dolphins. Hundreds of dolphins were spotted off the Old Head of Kinsale, apparently following shoals of herring and sprat on which they were feeding.

In the Antarctic the Japanese whaling fleet was forced to give in to pressure to stop culling. The Japanese have killed hundreds of whales every year, claiming this was for "scientific purposes," even though it has been identified worldwide as for human consumption. The fleet was ordered home by its Government after increasing international pressure.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group published its annual report this week. It was formed in December 1990, dedicated to the "conservation and better understanding" of cetaceans - whales, dolphins and porpoise - in Irish waters through "study, education and interpretation." IWDG turnover in 2010 was around €300,000. It has dealt with up to 10,000 queries a month for information on its website. A total of 92 strandings of 128 individual cetaceans was reported to the IWDG in 2010. This compares to 137 strandings of 169 animals for 2009.

This week oil prices rose because of the unrest in Libya and David Surplus, Chairman of B9 Energy Britain's largest windfarm operator, warned that sooner or later oil will run out. BP is examining the possibility of building a fleet of carbon-neutral, wind-powered sail ships planned, to carry world trade.

On the international sailing scene the new AC 45, forerunner of the next generation of America's Cup boats was launched in New Zealand and had its first capsize. The wing-sailed catamaran is designed for speed and close racing, capable of making up to 30 knots, while intended to be handled in tight, tactical courses. An exciting boat to sail, it will also be very testing of ability. The first capsize of the new boat occurred on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, hit by what was described as "a freak gust of wind," while the crew were doing maintenance on board before a sailing test.

FIRST_CAPSIZE_OF_ADMIRALS_CUP_45

Back in dock after the capsize

It capsized fully, ending upside down. Three support vessels were needed to pick up the crew and right the boat which was sailed back to its base in Auckland. There was damage to the wing sail, but no injuries to the crew. However, helmets may be an additional precaution needed for sailing these boats, which are to be used in the AC World Series! This will be a circuit of eight regattas for which venue bids are being made at present, with fleet and match racing, to raise the profile of high-performance sailing on worldwide television. Racing is to start in July, with regattas running until May of next year, leading into preparations for the next full AC series in the bigger AC72 catamarans in 2013 in San Francisco.

As the past week showed, there is always something interesting in the sea.

This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation
Rescuers were sadly unable to save an 18ft juvenile minke whale found stranded at Blackwater Pier, near Kenmare, Co Kerry last Friday.
The Irish Independent reports that despite the best efforts of local people and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to refloat the whale, the call was made to put it to sleep.
"It was so long out of the water it was pointless to try to refloat it as its internal organs would have been damaged," said local ranger Michael O'Sullivan.
The tragedy - the latest in an increasing number of strandings in the UK and Ireland - brought out more than 100 local residents to pay their respects at Blackwater Pier, a popular fishing spot.

Kenmare is no stranger to animal wildlife but rescuers were sadly unable to save an 18ft juvenile minke whale found stranded at Blackwater Pier, near Kenmare, Co Kerry last Friday.

The Irish Independent reports that despite the best efforts of local people and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to refloat the whale, the call was made to put it to sleep.

"It was so long out of the water it was pointless to try to refloat it as its internal organs would have been damaged," said local ranger Michael O'Sullivan.

The tragedy - the latest in an increasing number of strandings in the UK and Ireland - brought out more than 100 local residents to pay their respects at Blackwater Pier, a popular fishing spot.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Plans to carry out a post-mortem examinations on thirty-five Pilot whales found dead on a beach in Co Donegal yesterday have been cancelled due to bad weather according to Dr. Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Up to thirty-five  Pilot whales were found dead on a beach in Co Donegal. The whales were discovered on Rutland Island near Burton port yesterday afternoon on a beach and have been confirmed as pilot whales, mostly mothers and calves.

A team from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology led by Dr Ian O'Connor and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group are planning to travel to record length, gender and obtain photographs to see if they can be matched to the recently observed Scottish animals. Skin samples and teeth will also be collected for genetics and life-history studies.

According to locals the whales had been seen feeding in the area around Aranmore Island since Tuesday. 

A group of around 30 pilot whales were monitored in South Uist in the outer Hebrides, Scotland last weekend for fear of their live-stranding. The IWDG believe it may be the same group.

Pilot whales have a tendency to strand themselves in large numbers and a similar incident occurred in Co Mayo a few years ago. In June Cape Verde islanders abandoned hope for the survival of 92 pilot whales that were found washed up in a mass beaching. In September in New Zealand at least 25 pilot whales died after beaching themselves in a north Wellington bay as rescuers battled to save almost 50 more stranded.

RTE News has pictures HERE

 

Published in Marine Wildlife
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