IWDG search for Fin whales off Waterford....Update (4)

25th Jan 2007 Update IV 25/01/2007

The IWDG had a successful day attempting to locate and photograph fin whales off east Cork/west Waterford today. Despite choppy seas this morning a fin whale was located and good images obtained for photo-identification. Padraig Whooley did not recognise the whale as one of the ones photographed off West Cork but a full examination will be carried out later.

Andrew Malcom spent the day watching from local headlands and relaying the position of sightings to the team onboard the Holly Jo. Later this afternoon the team located another whale about 4 miles south of Capel Island but could not get close enough to photograph the animal. At least 3-4 whales were thought to be in this srea.

The Holly Jo returned to Youghal harbour this evening and the team will head out again tomorrow morning to try and locate more whales. The sea is set to be very calm over the next few days so hopefully this will assist the team in their quest.

Update III: 24/01/07 14:00

Andrew Malcolm, IWDG has just observed at least two fin whales from Ram Head, Ardmore, Co. Waterford, which is in the direction of Capel Island, east Cork. Andrew is one of a handful of experienced whale watchers who take part in the IWDG's Constant Effort Sighting Scheme and carries out regular land-based "effort" watches from Ram Head.

We have now received three reports from around the Waterford today 24th Jan, of what are most likely to be fin whales. IWDG encourage members of the public to report any cetacean sightings to the Irish Cetacean sighting scheme via www.iwdg.ie.

Update II: 24/01/07 12:00

IWDG Wexford member David Costello has just reported 1-2 large whales blowing SW of Hook Head towards the horizon. They are well offshore at present. This run of large whale sightings in the area suggests that this is where the herring have gathered. The fact that their "blows" are visible from considerable distance with just binoculars, suggests these are most likely to be fin whales.

Update I: 23/01/07 21:45

What were most likely 1-2 fin whales were observed & reported by David Harris on Tues. morning 23rd Jan from the Bay Café, Dunmore East. The whales were in the outer Waterford Harbour area in a line between Dunmore East and Loftus Hall (Hook Head, Co. Wexford). Conditions were so good that this animal(s) could clearly be seen blowing without the use of optics, and if anything conditions should actually improve over the coming days.

If we know that there are whales this far east, it at least gives us the option to widen our search parameters this week. In light of this updated sighting we'd ask any locals in the area to let us know of any large whale sightings off the Waterford/Wexford coast in the coming days.

If reporting any activity on Wed 24th then by email is fine to enquiries@iwdg.ie but if reporting any sightings from Thursday onwards it would be better if you could use the following mobile no. 086-3850568. Text messages will be fine.

Thanks for your assistance and we'll let you know how we get on.

Pádraig Whooley

IWDG Sightings Co-ordinator

With a rare weather window the IWDG are embarking on two days of exploratory cruises in search of fin whales off the Waterford coast on 25th & 26th January. We will be operating out of Youghal, Co. Cork and will carry out transects between Youghal Bay, Ardmore Head, Mine Head and the Helvic area.

After months of seemingly endless storms, we now have a weather window to continue our ongoing photo-identification work on fin whales. As the results of recent land-based “effort watches” by Andrew Malcolm, suggests that the fin whales have moved east with the herring towards the Ardmore/Mine Head area of Waterford, this is where we must re-direct our effort to locate them.

We will charter whale-watch skipper Colin Barnes and his vessel the MV Holl

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