Results of 1st IWDG weekend Cape Clear course 2009

8th Jun 2009 Last weekend 5-7th June saw the 1st of the IWDG's summer 2009 weekend whale-watching courses on Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork. It was attended by 15 participants, comprising both IWDG members and public alike. Despite a very poor weather outlook, we cheated the predicted torrential rain that was due on Saturday and we enjoyed sunshine for much of the weekend.

The absense of blubber over the weekend was more than compensated for by good humour and robust banter (slagging)! That said, we still managed sightings of 3 species: Atlantic Grey seal, basking sharks x2 (including one breach) and harbour porpoise x3.

Participants had a busy weekend with 3 land-based watches, two from Bullig and one from Blannan. On Saturday afternoon we had a 2.5 hour boat trip with Aidan and David O'Driscoil. Thanks lads. During this trip the path of the MV Spirit of the Isles was blocked by a large basking shark, in the mouth of North harbour, which meant we had to reverse to allow it safely out of the harbour. This 15-20ft specimen was feeding within metres of the shore. The other shark sighting was of a full breach very close to our watch site at Bullig, over-looking the mouth of South Harbour. Incidentally, we also saw a basking shark breach in the exact same area during the June 2008 course.

The weekend included three presentations by Pádraig Whooley, these covered topics ranging from cetacean and marine mammal ecology, conservation and the thorny issue of Species Identification. On Saturday evening participants were treated to a talk on some of Pádraig's whale watching trips around the globe.

So despite the absense of sightings of whales or dolphins, the course was a great success and we look forward to the second one on 17-19th July. We still have plenty of space available for this next course. Enquiries or bookings to email: or ph. 023-8838761

Postscipt.......Whale watching, in common most other forms of wildlife watching frequently delivers a cruel twist, and Sunday 7th was no different when at 18:00 I got a phone call from Aidan from the Cape Clear ferry, to say that they had 20 bottlenose dolphins bow-riding the return ferry trip back to Cape Clear, after we were deposited at Baltimore. Now where's the justice in that!

Pádraig Whooley

Sightings Co-ordinator

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