IWDG Aug. Cape Clear Weekend Course Results

21st Aug 2007 The IWDG ran their 3rd and last in the summer series of weekend courses on Cape Clear Is.

We cheated the weather again, as thankfully the worst of the awful weather fell on Fri. night and Sat. was much improved, although still very windy. Unfortunately, with poor weather on the Friday and a really pessimistic forecast from Met Eireann we had to axe the Fri. afternoon watch from Bullig.

The weather may have been a factor in a party of three course participants leaving the Island on Saturday morning. But we'd remind them that as of time of writing they still owe IWDG for the places they occupied and which we had no chance of filling.

On Sat. morning after the 2nd workshop we managed our 1st cliff top watch from Bullig, although this was more a matter of observing the fairly impressive Atlantic swells that kept on rolling. With conditions improving all the time, we risked the pelagic in the afternoon on the MV Naoimh Ciaran, in really big swell conditions. During this 3 hour epic we had a brief common dolphin encounter and several porpoises, but the landscapes & superb light more than compensated for the lack of sightings.

On Sun. we had a lovely two hour watch from Blannan, during which Harbour porpoises put on a great show within meters of Blannan Point. No whales unfortunately were seen over the weekend, although we had high expectations of seeing a minke whale from the return ferry back to Baltimore, as one was seen east of Baltimore Beacon less then 30 minutes ahead of our group......minkes remain alarmingly scarce in West Cork this year, which may be tied in with a similarly poor year for breeding seabirds.

Anyway the course was a great success with 23 happy whale watchers beaming and even sunburnt, as they stepped back on Baltimore pier on Sunday afternoon, after a windy but enjoyable weekend on Cape.

These courses cater for those genuinely interested in wildlife, who are willing to learn more about cetaceans in Irish waters and how to observe, record and identify them. But courses of this nature can and never will cater for everyone. That said, most people leave having had a great experience, even if the whales or weather don't co-operate.

So keep your eyes open on www.iwdg.ie for next year's Whale Watching weekend listings. See you there.

IWDG would like to thank the following for helping to make this year's Cape Clear courses a success: Steve Wing of Cape Clear Bird Observatory, Ciaran & Mary O' Driscoil, Chuck & Nell Kruger, and all the lads on the Island ferry, MV Naoimh Ciaran.

Padraig Whooley

IWDG Sightings C-ordinator

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