12 November 2018

Nice sightings during early expeditions out of Baltimore…

During the beautiful spring weather we have been having since early April, when we put the boat back in the water, we have had some lovely wildlife watching expeditions “out west”…

Running out of Baltimore Harbour at the moment we have found our visitors taking full advantage of the lovely warm weather and enjoying a variety of wildlife encounters from The Kedges to Brow Head and Castlepoint. Voyager’s deck have been buzzing with anticipation of the next key marine mammal sighting off west Cork.

First Basking Shark encounters off west Cork in Rabbit Island sound two weeks ago
(11th April) with some spectacular Basking Shark encounters east of Sherkin Island during the past week. Bird activity, particularly Gannets, Razorbills, Guillemots, Fulmars, Cormorants and Shags with the first phallanx of Swallows putting in an appearance two weeks ago surprisingly far out to sea off Cape Clear. Beautiful Great Northern Diver activity at the head of the Ilen River Estuary round behind Quarantine Island and both Common and Atlantic Grey Seals off Toormore Rocks and behind Ringarogy. West Cork in the spring is a delight to behold! Our many visitors these past three weeks have been marvelling at the Black Guillemot breeding activity. Flying fast and low over the sea these pretty little birds with their irridescent black breeding plumage and white wing bars entertain us for hours. No sign, where we have been, of any Manx Shearwaters…any day I’d say!

Porpoise feeding activity west of the Calf Islands amid diving Gannets and Cormorants with the first west Cork Minke Whale sightings suspected off The Brow Head a week ago. Rather large swell and poor visibilty saw an animal rise once 100 metres away with a dorsal fin and back that looked just like a Humpback Whale! No further sightings unfortunately so we were unable to confirm species 100%. No blows visible so we suspect Minke Whale but memories of our first west Cork Humpback Whale sightings by WWWC off The Toe Head and Sherkin Island last year got us very excited…it does not take much!

Exciting developments with Whale Watch West Cork these past few months. Our new and comprehensive Code of Conduct is a year old today and has been received extremely well in the press and most importantly by our very well informed visitors who demand a high level of professionalism during marine wildlife encounters. We also believe that our methodology results in less potential for stress among those animals we encounter. Writing in her new book Ecoescape Ireland the Irish travel writer Catherine Mack describes us in the following terms “….Nic’s expertise has led him to draw up a Code of Conduct for whale watching to encourage best practice in conservation and education in the whale watching business. Let’s hope all other operators follow suit….”. Our Code of Conduct is the first of it’s kind in Ireland and we hope to incorporate it into an accreditation scheme for marine tour operators. Whale Watch West Cork have been closely involved these past few months in initiatives to develop marine tourism in the southwest and Nic brings his lifelong committment to sustainable development to these initiatives. Nic acclaimed regular newspaper column in The Southern Star on marine conservation matters and the environment today continues to be popular as it enters it’s second year of publication and Nic was asked to provide a comment on the Courtmacsherry Fin Whale stranding which was published in the national newspaper The Examiner in January.

Ann Donnelly of O’Mahony Donnelly who manages our website has included major upgrades to our website this spring make it easier to follow Whale Watch West Cork online through our regular BLOG, our





All our fully verified sightings will be placed on our Blog regularly which will provide a link through to the Sea Watch Foundation to whom we supply all our sightings as part of their extensie UK and Ireland cetacean sightings research database. Dr Peter Evans, Director of The Seawatch Foundation has been collecting data on sightings in the UK and Ireland for many years as part of his organisation’s committment to quality cetacean research designed to enhance the conservation status of marine mammals in the coastal waters of Ireland and UK.

Lastly. Whale Watch West Cork and Nic featured on Duncan Stewart’s acclaimed Eco Eye programme on RTE 1 in February, talking about the whales and dolphins of west Cork and their conservation status. We had a lot of fun during filming when Duncan was down in west Cork and a number of spin off projects are under review at this time…watch this space for further information.


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