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Displaying items by tag: west cork

Researchers from Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences were in West Cork earlier this month to tag some of the many basking sharks that have been frequenting our shores — and learn more about the second largest fish in the world’s oceans.

Funded by the Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland, Assistant Professor Nicholas Payne and PhD candidate Haley Dolton spent a week on the water with West Cork Charters in which they managed to apply tags to four basking sharks.

These electronic tags will accumulate data about the sharks’ behaviour and physiology as they move around the coast feeding on plankton.

The goal, the researchers say, is to learn more about the anatomy and physiology of these gentle giants and hopefully guide conservation efforts for this endangered marine wildlife species.

“Basking sharks are a difficult species to study because they are not very abundant and they only grace our shores for a brief period each year, from April to August, so I am delighted we were able to learn so much about them this past week,” said Dr Payne.

Sadly the first phase of the pair’s work involved dissecting the remains of two basking sharks that washed up on the West Cork coast at the end of April, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

“We would rather not have have had the opportunity to examine the two sharks that died prematurely before we took to the sea, but these sad events did at least help us learn more about them,” Dr Payne explained.

“Basking sharks are an endangered species and at risk of death from fishing bycatch and from getting struck by boats, so the more we know about them — especially their behaviour and physiology — the better chance we have of protecting them.

“The experience we had of observing live sharks in all their glory really emphasises that we should do our best to protect these incredible animals.”

Dolton added: “The amount of data we managed to collect throughout the whole week was phenomenal and beyond what I’d hoped for. We are currently analysing all the results and look forward to sharing our findings with everyone later in the year.”

Published in Sharks

The Commodore of Schull Harbour Sailing Club, Sean Norris, has confirmed that the 2021 Calves Week Regatta is going ahead as planned in August.

Calves Week has had a strong interest and has received 17 entries across all classes to date with reports of interest in entering also being expressed by some high profile new and returning campaigners.

"I would like to confirm that with the current easing of the Health Restrictions, our event will proceed on the previously announced dates of August 3rd to 6th, 2021" Norris told Afloat.

Class Zero yachts Rockabill (on starboard) and Eleuthera competing in the 2019 Calves Week. Photo: Bob BatemanClass Zero yachts Rockabill (on starboard) and Eleuthera competing in the 2019 Calves Week. Photo: Bob Bateman

Notably, the regatta has a number of entries to date in Class 4 and with more expected, Norris believes this will probably be the biggest in participation numbers in any regatta for a number of years.

Calves Week Race Officer Alan CrosbieCalves Week Race Officer Alan Crosbie

On the water, it will be very much business as usual at the CD Environmental sponsored Calves Week with Alan Crosbie returning as Race Officer, and organisers also hope to have some new course options available for participants.

"We are very hopeful that the heath regime will be very different by the time our event comes around but we are equally satisfied that all the necessary arrangements are and can be put in place to enable the event to proceed even if we do not move forward significantly from where we are now", Norris said. 

"While things will be different ashore this year, we would ask all participants to bear with us and the local businesses in ensuring that all is done in accordance with whatever guidelines are in place at that time so that everyone can enjoy our event in the safest possible way, he added.

Published in Calves Week

West Cork is enjoying a veritable bounty of whale sightings “in dolphin numbers”, as the Southern Star reports.

Video recorded last week near Union Hall shows two humpbacks who followed a whale watching vessel “in a very sociable mood”, according to Cork Whale Watch’s Colin Barnes.

He descried it as the best marine wildlife sighting of its kind in the last two decades — a sentiment echoed by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s Padraig Whooley.

Noting a recent report of as many as 100 minke whales spotted on a single boat trip, Whooley said the whale activity off the South Coast at present is “exceptional on a global scale”.

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The carcass of a second basking shark has washed up on the coast of West Cork just days after the discovery of an unusually fresh specimen 20km away.

According to Cork Beo, the second large fish was found at the weekend near Courtmacsherry and is believed to have been dead for some time.

Another basking shark carcass measuring a whopping seven metres that beached at Inchydoney last week presented a rare opportunity for marine biologists to examine relatively fresh remains.

It’s unknown how the female shark died, but dissection revealed that the marine wildlife giant still had food in its stomach.

“It’s sad of course to see such a big beautiful animal like that, but it’s good to try and get something positive out of it,” Trinity lecturer Dr Nicholas Payne said.

Basking sharks have been spotted in great numbers off West Cork this month, with video of a kayaker surrounded by the second biggest fish in the sea making a splash last week.

Published in Sharks
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RTÉ News reports that a 22-year-old man has died after falling into a blowhole near Garretstown Beach last night (Saturday 24 April).

It’s understood that the man had been part of a group camping overnight at the beach, and that a friend who tried to rescue the casualty is being treated for hypothermia.

Published in Coastal Notes
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The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has warned the public to stay away from the final resting place of a humpback whale carcass that washed ashore in West Cork last month.

And according to the Southern Star, poor weather forecast for later this week has dampened hopes to potentially retrieve the marine wildlife remains for public display.

The carcass of the juvenile humpback whale is only the ninth recorded stranding of the species in Ireland, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

First spotted in the waters of Roaringwater Bay, it eventually came to rest on the rocky shore at the foot of steep bank at Colla West near Schull, where IWDG volunteers have examined the remains over the weeks since.

Plans had been mooted to preserve the skeleton as a potential tourism draw for the area, the IWDG’s Pádraig Whooley said, though this would be “at great expense”.

“Although the plan was tentative, if successful, it would be a wonderful opportunity because the only other humpback whale on display is in the Natural History Museum, and that dates back to 1893,” he added.

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

RTÉ News reports on West Cork farmers’ dismay at the decision to reduce the operating hours of the cable car link to Dursey Island where they graze their livestock.

The winter schedule, which sees the service shut down at 4.30pm daily, usually ends at the beginning of March but has been extended by Cork County Council amid the continued national Level 5 lockdown.

However, mainland farmers argue that the reduced service leaves them little time to manage their animals ahead of the calving and lambing season.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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A 19th-century house in West Cork that once comprised six coastguard cottages is now on the market for €1.95 million.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Rocket House — named for the lifesaving rocket launch that once stood on the grounds — sits in the picturesque environs of Castletownshend on ‘Ireland’s Riviera’.

And it comes at a bargain price for this class of property, as it previously sold to overseas buyers for more than €3.5 million.

That’s quite a deal for a house whose history includes rescues from the Lusitania among other notable disasters off a notorious stretch of coastline.

The Irish Examiner has much more on the home and its history HERE.

Published in Waterfront Property

A woman was rescued from a sea inlet in West Cork after a more than 90-minute ordeal yesterday evening, Thursday 25 February.

The casualty had got caught in the swelling tide just off the slipway at Dunworley Beach near Butlerstown before 5pm.

Fortunately her shouts for help were heard above the sinkhole leading to the inlet a local walker, who immediately called the rescue services.

Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat attended the scene alongside the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter Rescue 115 from Shannon and the land-based Old Head/Seven Heads coastguard unit, who rigged up their ropes to climb down the sinkhole and reach the casualty.

The woman was then successfully raised up the sink hole cliff face to the care of a waiting HSE ambulance crew.

Courtmacsherry RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Vincent O'Donovan said: “It was great to see the total dedication of so many voluntary people from all the rescue services today and everyday in these difficult Covid times, who drop all and rush to the aid of others in difficulties.”

O'Donovan reiterated the importance of calling the rescue services at 112 or 999 quickly once any incident like this occurs, as they are always at the ready 24 hours a day — and every minute is so important to any person in difficulty.

Published in Rescue

Seabed survey operations in the Kinsale, Greensands, Ballycotton and Seven Heads gas fields off West Cork are set to commence from tomorrow, Sunday 6 December.

PSE Kinsale Energy will undertake the decommissioning works on and around the relevant subsea infrastructure over the next week, weather permitting, from the RV Celtic Voyager (Callsign EIQN).

The surveys will extend over an area of 2.5km radius (including the area required by the vessel to turn) from each well head, towing a submerged cable of up to 500m behind the vessel.

Full coordinates for these survey operations and a map of the area are included in Marine Notice No 56 of 2020, a PDF of which can be downloaded below.

Published in Marine Warning
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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