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Humpback whale season has started off Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Ireland

new humpback whale dingle kerry 2

                                                                                          (c) Nick Massett

nick and fluke 2

First humpback whale of 2013 off the Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry

On July 28 2013 we had our first encounter this year with undoubtedly the most fascinating of all cetaceans in Irish waters, the magnificent humpback whale. Early in the morning we got a call from our friend Nick Massett, telling us that he had spotted a humpback off Sybil Head on the Dingle Peninsula. He took to the water in his own RIB and after much searching up and down the Dingle coast located the animal a few miles off the mainland. With the help of the coordinates he forwarded to us we were able to find the needle in the haystack and treated our passengers- and ourselves! - to an unforgettable sight of the whale as it slowly approached the boat, surrounded by hundreds of common dolphins and a few minke whales thrown in for good measure.

 

A new humpback whale for the Irish catalogue

Apart from having an amazing encounter with a rare and magnificient animal, seeking out humpback whales and obtaining the all-important tailfluke and dorsal fin photographs also helps us gain more knowledge of the distribution and movements of whales in Irish waters. In this case it has been confirmed that the humpback we encountered is in fact a new animal not previously recorded around the Irish coast. It is the 23rd recorded humpback whale for Ireland, and with a long and hopefully calm and settled summer and autumn season still ahead of us we are hoping to get more humpback whale sightings off the Kerry coast yet.

Orca and minke whales around the Blasket Islands

Whille the humpback whale has been stealing all the limelight in the last two days, it is worth mentioning that there has been an abundance of the smallest of the baleen whales, the minke whale, in Dingle Bay in recent weeks. As well as that we had a wonderful visit by two killer whales, or orca, some weeks ago, a male and a female, quite probably a pair from the Scottish West Coast Community of orca.

                                                                               (c) Britta Wilkens

 

 

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