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Humpback whale off the Blaskets, update



                                                                                                                      Photos by Britta Wilkens

23.07.2011  Having been on high humpback whale alert for a few days now we set out for a special evening trip yesterday at 5pm with a view to get photo  identification of them. Conditions at sea were good and with long daylight hours we were hopeful to have enough time to find them. We steamed out toward the coordinates where blows were last seen through a telescope from a clifftop watch and after some searching Conor Ryan from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group saw a blow a couple of kilometres off. Soon enough we saw the blows with our naked eyes and then found ourselves surrounded by dozens of common dolphins, feeding Manx shearwater and plenty of minke whales, together with the one we were hoping for all along - the humpback whale. The animal surfaced numerous times and also we were able to observe it 'bubble netting' -blowing bubbles to trap the fish inside this 'net' - before it came up in the middle of it, its mouth open wide, trapping the fish in its baleen. It also obliged us several times with tailfluking and we were able to obtain the photo id shot of its unique tailfluke pattern. After that we just enjoyed this fantastic spectacle for another few minutes before leaving the humpback in peace again to continue with its feeding. A simply wonderful evening out at sea!

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