Coast Diary – January 22nd

On the cliffs

This week was a busy week mostly spent in the city which meant I did not get out to the sea much but still I saw more than I dreamed I would in a life time as child. Monday a single whale – a couple of tall, spiralling blows and a long, black, rolling back letting me know it was a fin whale. And all week there were dolphins nearly every time I took out the binoculars. When I was growing up beside the sea I never saw dolphins. We were not the most salty of seaside dwellers and I never knew how to look for them or that I was supposed to. I thought if they were around they’d be right in your face. Dolphins were totally technicolour and utterly exotic and as far away as you could get from dreary grey-brown Ireland. Most of my assumptions were of course influenced by the TV show Flipper

“Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning, ever so frightening, King of the Sea!!!!’ Maybe the frightening bit is just me because in fact bottlenose dolphins are thugs and would not think twice about beating you up.

But, as I have since found, there are dolphins galore off the Irish coast, predominantly common dolphins but quite a few bottlenose thugs too. I think January is my favourite time of year for whale and dolphin watching especially days like today which was grey, windless, dry and cool – though, not crisp. It was one of those days that had a muffled quality, the light diffused yet lingering, suggestive of all the light still to come so I went down to the cliffs again for a little bit as the light faded. Sure enough there were dolphins scattered about so I lay next to the cross for the boy who died in a fall here many years ago and watched for a while.

When I came back to the house I opened a parcel from my niece and godchild, the exceptional Charlie, who lives on the other side of the world. It was recently her 16th birthday and typically I have yet to send her a present. I usually get my act together by June. She has obviously decided to take matters into her own hands by sending me in a present instead (I like this development!). When I opened the packet out fell a beautiful charm bracelet and the first charm, cavorting among blue and crystal beads, a tiny silver dolphin.

If you see dolphins or whales be sure to report your sighting to the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group (IWDG) here.

20 Comments

      1. Sorry, didn’t mean to sound flippant. We have 5 wind turbines up at Blythe, with 5 more floating ones proposed, nothing like the scale of those being proposed for your neck of the woods. It would be nice if we had sun all year round instead of wind, so all the roofs could have solar panels. Trying to harness nature to replace digging up the planet for fuel is not an easy thing to do. Seems like exchanging one shit solution for another shit solution.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hah…I have the flippant gene myself and what can you do but laugh?Ours will be a huge problem unless we can get them moved a little offshore. In the UK a lot of the farms are 20km plus off, Here they are proposing 5-10km. It ll be like we are in a massive cage!It does seem like a shit solution, certainly not long term and even if it works our electricity supply is set to become way more unstable…on my recent travels around the country I saw turbines everywhere…sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Clare. Lovely to read your stuff about the beautiful nature off the coast of Ireland there.
    We see dolphins from our beaches here in Adelaide, and it’s always a special thing. XX

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Mostly its spending time scanning the sea. When I am watching people come and go in their cars and take photos and are gone so they probably have no idea whats out there. Previous reports help too, as do calm seas and sunshine. Binoculars are pretty important though you can see whale blows from a long way off by the naked eye and they hang in the air…they look exactly like you imagine a whale blow to be! A friend saw one while driving the cliff road and thought there was a smudge on his windscreen…dolphins splash a little (tuna splash a lot!), and sometimes jump, mostly you see their fins…look for gatherings of birds on the water, and any birds hovering above and anomalies in the water surface…hmm theres a bit to it alright!!

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      Reply

      1. Blimey, there is a lot to it. I suspect they don’t venture into the Channel, what with it being so busy, but I should take the binnoculars with me on my next trip to a cliff or beach, just in case.

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