CORPSE BY MOONLIGHT:KILFARRASY BEACH

KILFARR TURQ

KILFARRASY

When I found myself kneeling over a bloated corpse in the moonlight last night with a scalpel in my hand I paused to reflect on what had brought me to this.

It was 3 years ago when it first happened. I was walking down the frosted road to Garrarus Beach when all of a sudden an explosion tore from the choppy surface of the sea just off the beach. The tall plume of spray was followed by a long curving roll of black interrupted by a sharp black fin. I had often feared that I would see a whale and not know what it was but it was unmistakeable. My first whale.

So began my whale watching career which has seen me volunteer for the IWDG Strandings Scheme. I often get contacted to confirm reports of stranded animals, usually always dead. Last night I got an email from the strandings co-ordinator telling me of a ‘badly injured’ dolphin on Kilfarrasy Beach.

KILFARRASY BEACH

KILFARRASY BEACH

When I was young my parents used to bring us to Kilfarrasy, a small beach which is great for swimming especially when the tide is out with its sandy flat bottom and few rocks. Sometimes there are a lot of sand flies which are attracted by rotting seaweed but that is far outweighed by the beauty of the area:the headland with its sea arch, Burkes’ Island slumbering in the shallow bay and the psychedelic cliffs writhing oh-so-slowly in slate blue and red and yellow where they have shrugged off the bright ochre earth.

cubist2

PSYCHEDELIC CLIFFS

GEM ANENOMES

GEM ANENOMES

The rocks at the far end of the beach are jagged and distinctive, like witches hats or twists of hard liquorice rising from jewel encrusted rock pools and a tumble of grimacing boulders that at low tide test the walker who is aiming for the fantastical beaches that stretch beyond to Garrarus. As the tide comes washing around the stacks and islands that rise straight from the rollers the pale stony strands are cut off preserving their unspoiled mystery.

To swim here on a bright empty morning after a long night shift while the curve of cliffs holds the bowl of blue sky overhead is nothing short of heaven.

ISLAND IDYLL

ISLAND IDYLL

Once there was a Golf Resort intended for this stretch of coast. The developers wanted a massive reed bed filtration scheme for the cliff tops of Kilfarrasy to process the sewage from the proposed development. The planned system would have been so big it would more than likely have turned the cliffs, beach and surrounds into a sewer. Thankfully local opposition and a blooming recession put paid to that idiocy.

It was from Kilfarrasy that I had my first kayaking trip. Mick O’Meara of Sea Paddling took us all the way over the Garrarus and back that day, weaving in and out of rocks into sea caves at Garrarus and on Burkes Island.The view of the coast from the water is amazing and gives one an entirely different perspective.

POINTY ROCKS

POINTY ROCKS

KAYAKERS KILFARRASY

KAYAKERS KILFARRASY

Last night when I received the report the ‘badly injured dolphin’ I decided to check it out immediately as I knew the tide was coming in. The beach was deserted under a three-quarter moon, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury rising. It took two sweeps of the beach with a weak torch to find it. In the end it turned out to be a Harbour Porpoise lacking its head, tail and all its fins. Badly injured indeed.

My Stupid Phone camera was not up to the job and I got only very poor photos but I did get some skin samples and it added some excitement to wonder if the corpse was going to explode in my face when I stuck the scalpel into it. Though the hide is thick and the skin samples are only needed from the first millimetre it wasn’t the time to have any major twitches.

I was soon finished and I left to go home. As I drove away up the silvery road I could see in the rear view mirror the pointy rock that is everyones last view of Kilfarrasy its blackened clawed finger a lewd gesture that seems fitting considering how little the sea owes us, how much damage we do.

THE FINGER

THE FINGER

HERON AND WAVE

HERON AND WAVE

 

THE GATEWAY TO GARRARUS

THE GATEWAY TO GARRARUS

BURKES ISLAND 2013

BURKES ISLAND

 

SKY ON FIRE

SKY ON FIRE

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6 responses to “CORPSE BY MOONLIGHT:KILFARRASY BEACH

  1. The word corpse caught my attention I have to admit! But I love this image of you….. Westown Wild Woman of the Moonlight (should you not change your name by the way?) a siren in the night, fired up by a quest. Nothing will ever stop you from doing anything, I would seriously count on you if I was hoping to be found:~)

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    • Thanks Foxglove, I am grinning from ear to ear as I type. Wild Woman in the Moonlight is right, or maybe mad? After I wrote this post I realised I might end up suspected of Witchcraft. I’d better not let on about the cat-swinging in the graveyard…:D

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  2. Nice Kilfarassey write up & images. I do my winter swimming at the Guillamene but I’ll be returning to Kilfarassey soon (to swim), and I’m hoping to bring this year’s Cork Distance Week swimmers, (an international group), over for a swim, maybe across from the Guillamene.

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    • Thanks Lone Swimmer.Love swimming there though I’m not a deep water or distance person, more splashing about:) I must keep an eye out for the Cork Swimmers and maybe blog on it ?Let me know when its happening. I am planning on doing a post on all the beaches around here too.

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      • Will do, it won’t be until the second week of June, I need to work out tides and safety cover, and there’s could be up to 50 distance swimmers. In the meantime, I thoroughly recommend swimming out around Brown’s Island, it’s really fun out there. I’ll be doing a longish swim today (for time of year) but with low tide Kilfarassey won’t be suitable. I’m sure we’ll meet along the coast, and I think I’m the only one who swims out beyond Newtown Head, so if you look down into Ronan’s Bay from Westown and see a swimmer wearing an orange cap, that’s almost certainly me.

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      • That would be great if it happens!Hope it does. In the mean time, I’ll keep an eye out for you. Have a good swim. I was in for a dip yesterday….I have to admit(and I am ashamed to admit it to you as an uber swimmer:) I can’t do deep water even though I “swim” and bodyboard in all conditions through the year.I have learned to swim strongly though, just have to work on overcoming the fear. One day maybe I will be able to swim out

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