WHALE WATCHING

WHALE WATCH

WHALE WATCH

NOVEMBER 2011

I said I’d eat my legs off if I didn’t see a whale today and thankfully I didn’t have to:the south-east coast is whale watchers paradise right now. The morning was bright and crisp and the sea calm. When I got to Dunabrattin Head the wind had risen and the sea gone from a sea state 1 to a sea state 2 but I saw a blow to the east opposite Annestown as I pulled up in the car then another opposite Burkes Island 4 or 5km to the east and yet another blow towards the south eastern horizon.

I took my gear and sat out on the cliff. In all I would say there was at the very least 5 or 6 Fin Whales~the most common whale in these waters~spread from Kilfarrasy in the east to Helvick in the west. I took some very bad photos. My zoom lens is broken again. I wish Tonka would start making cameras.

NOVEMBER 2010 FROM DUNABRATTIN(PHOTO:PADDY DWAN)

NOVEMBER 2010 FROM DUNABRATTIN(PHOTO:PADDY DWAN)

There’s nothing like looking out the blue expanse of sea and seeing the unmistakeable explosion that is a whales blow followed by a leisurely black curve of back, rolling and slowly disappearing. The Fin Whale, unlike the Humpback whale, rarely if ever show their tail.

The Fin Whale is the second biggest creature on the planet after the Blue Whale with a length of between 60 and 90 foot. Their blow is generally long and tall as opposed to the Humpbacks which is lower and bushier. I have yet to see a Humpback whales which are smaller than the Fin Whale but showier in that you will nearly always see their fluke and they often jump out of the water. They are becoming more common here so its only a matter of time.

NOVEMBER 2010 FROM DUNABRATTIN-MOTHER AND BABY?(PHOTO:PADDY DWAN)

NOVEMBER 2010 FROM DUNABRATTIN-MOTHER AND BABY?(PHOTO:PADDY DWAN)

If you want to go whale watching pick a bright calm day and a high point on land. A pair of binoculars is handy though you can see blows a long way off even with the naked eye. Look for differences in the surface of the water~easier the calmer the sea is~and also for feeding and diving birds particularly gannets.

Have patience. You’d be amazed what you see if you just stay. Also check the sightings at www.iwdg.ie that will give you a good idea if whales are around. November to December are peak but other times of year can yield a lot of sightings too.

I left Dunabrattin for Kilfarrasy where I watched two whales feed around Burkes Island for half an hour before heading to Garrarus where I watched for a while longer. After a while I headed for home leaving the the gulls gliding on the air currents as the sun slowly sank over the blue sea knotted to infinity.

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WEST FROM DUNABRATTIN

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