Monday, 1 August 2016

Whale watching

I've always wanted to go whale watching but, until now, never had the opportunity. Bug Mad Girl and I got very excited when we booked ourselves on a whale watching tour out of Baltimore in West Cork.

Kitted out in fetching life jackets and lots of warm clothes, we headed out to sea and were told to look out for a couple of different indicators of whale and dolphin activity. The first was diving gannets and the second was 'excited' manx shearwaters, as both feed on the same fish (or remains of fish) as the dolphins and whales. We saw both (but I'm still not sure what an excited manx shearwater looks like!) and knew to search for fins or jumping dolphins around the birds
Gannet
The wind was really cold and the sea was quite choppy making it hard to see. After about an hour we both thought we might not see anything, but the wind suddenly dropped and we saw a dolphin jumping out of the water in the distance.
 
Rubbish photo I'm afraid, but they were tricky to get a photo of as you just
don't know when or where they're going to appear
That was followed by a wonderful display as the dolphins leapt out of the water around the boat. It really did look like they were showing off for us. They also swam around the boat and right along side us.


Short-beaked common dolphin
Our tour leader had seen minke whales earlier in the day, so we looked hard for them, but didn't spot any which was a shame. We were both happy to have seen so many dolphins though.It was a fantastic experience and one we won't forget in a hurry!


After several hours (which flew by) we headed back to Baltimore, which looked beautiful all lit up for the evening.

Baltimore, West Cork

3 comments:

  1. Very successful day of dolphin watching then? Reminds me of last year when I was watching dolphins around Cornwall. Magical creatures aren't they?

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  2. I’m glad you got to see dolphins. When we went whale-watching in Canada several years ago, we were kept at a distance. Even though large whales were jumping right in front of us, it was very difficult to see them. We also had bad weather like you did at the start of your trip.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you - they're such an amazing sight!

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