12 December 2017

Exhibition of Nature Photography by Sheena Jolley…

The renowned wildlife photographer Sheena Jolley brings her stunning exhibition of wildlife photographs to Kinsale. To be opened by the journalist Donal  Musgrave on 6th July at 6pm in her new gallery in Kinsale,  “Island Magic” promises to be a truly magical experience. Sheena brings a quality and “feel” to her wildlife images seldom seen in other wildlife photographers.

Full details of Sheena’s forthcoming exhibition and other details of her work may be seen at her website:

http://www.sheenajolleyphotography.com/

Killer Whales in Baltimore Bay…and minkes and sunfish!

Following several days of stunning Minke Whale and Harbour Porpoise sightings we headed out again this morning on a glassy sea with slight swell anticipating finding some feeding Minke Whales offshore…

…a few moments later I picked up an animal surfacing around 100 metres away. Unmistakably the dorsal fin of a young male Killer Whale. Further scanning picked up two more. A larger animal and a younger, adolescent male by the shape of the dorsal fin. The larger animal had a completely bent over, curled dorsal fin. This happens occasionally, even in wild animals, but it is the first time I have seen this in a wild Killer Whale.

Killer Whales are an uncommon sighting along this part of the south coast so it is expecially exciting to be able to log this in addition to the great Minke Whale sightings we have been having. Later in the trip we encountered a large, feeding Minke Whale in Long Island sound no more than a mile off the old castle of Doonanore.

The presence of Killer Whales so close inshore might have accounted for the lack of Harbour Porpoise normally encountered when crossing Roaringwater Bay!!

All topped off with a medium sized, but rather shy, Atlantic Sunfish…

ENDS

A stunning weekend of Minkes, Baskers, Porpoises and sunshine…

Wow. What a weekend!

Stunning views of all three iconic species for this time of year. The Minky Whales were very cooperative with some lovely feeding behaviour underneath clouds of Gannets diving into the water and Manx Shearwaters “buzzing” back and forth across the waters surface…both east and west of Cape Clear.

With the strong sunshine the plankton is high in the water column resulting in several Basking Shark sightings in all the old haunts along the Sherkin and Cape shorelines and as far east as Barlogue.

As if that was not enough the Porpoise sightings have been sublime. A shy, retiring little cetacean, sightings can sometimes be a little short…not so this weekend. Lovely views of this pretty little animal have made all our many customers very happy as we basked in the beautiful West Cork sunshine amid calm seas.

Weather pattern looking like holding for the immediate future…

ENDS

First Sunfish…

YEAH…FIRST SUNFISH OF THE SEASON REPORTED TODAY…Yeha!

Joy of Joys…

It’s not like me to follow on with another post so soon…but I just have to tell you the Minke Whale watching yesterday was superb…

Several animals both sides of Cape Clear but away off near the Fastnet Rock and Lighthouse we encountered an animal feeding hard. Creating the characteristic huge display of Gannets and Shearwaters this large Minke Whale circled the boat creating a huge bait ball in the water, surfacing regularly with noisy blows and gasps of admiration from my customers on the boat.

Minke Whale watching at it very best. If the weather holds there may well be opportunities for more sightings like that…I am lost for words, not something you are used to!

ENDS

Exceptional sightings for the time of year…

It is always with great expectations that we look at the first part of the season in terms of variety of sightings. The timing of when the animals move inshore to feed varies enormously and the weather conditions can influence our sightings considerably…

Well, for the past three weeks the weather and the sightings have not disappointed in the least and have been, quite frankly, superb. Direct sightings from the boat have included feeding Minke Whales, Basking Sharks, Bottlenose Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises. All species we would expect to see at this time of year. Sightings have been made from as far west as Crookhaven to Galley Head in the east. Lovely sightings of these iconic species in lovely sea conditions.

Although we were “not in the right place at the right time” a Killer Whale was reported by the Cape Ferry as recently as yesterday moving east through the Gascanane Sound. With this being a rare sighting in these southern waters it causes great excitement among the whale watching and non whale watching population equally. The day before we had a group of Bottlenose Dolphins right in the harbour at Baltimore! We have not yet sighted “our” lone Bottlenose Dolphin that we have recorded along this stretch of coast annually now for the past five years…keep you posted.

With the considerable influx of Jellyfish these past 10 days we are expecting that great oceanic wanderer, the Sunfish any day now. Rest assured, we will report as soon as we have a confirmed sighting.

Our move to Baltimore has proved an enormous success. With passenger safety and comfort uppermost in our thoughts, the steps and easy access at Baltimore have made it possible to board many customers this year (and last year) who have some difficulty in movement, something just not possible with the closure of part of Union Hall Pier on safety grounds and the increasingly decrepit state of Reen Pier and the ancient boarding ladder there. With the planned improvements nearing completion at Baltimore, along with wheelchair access, the amenities for the many customers of Whale Watch West Cork can only get better. There is a move afoot to extend the old pier at Baltimore yet further which, along with the excellent places to get a snack or coffee or stay in the village, is fast making BALTIMORE HARBOUR  the whale watching capital of West Cork.

More anon…

ENDS