Humpbacks and fins off Wexford/Waterford..UPDATE

19th Jan 2010 Report II, 19/01/10.

News just in from our contact, Deirdre Slevin that the large whales are still in the waters off Hook Head today 19th Jan., as despite the awful weather, skipper Brendan Glody has observed further whale's blowing from his house at Dunmore East in the area c3 miles south of Hook Head.


Analysis of the images forwarded to IWDG after this Sunday's trip would suggest that there was just one humpback whale present, others were likely to be fin whales. We can confirm that the humpback was a new animal who has been added to the Irish Humpback whale catalogue and allocated a unique number #HBIRL11. The heavy scaring around the dorsal fin would suggest strongly that this is an adult male, who often receive injuries when competing for females during the breading season. If we obtain fluke shots later this week of this animal, they will be forwarded to our colleagues in College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbour, Maine, USA who run the North Atlantic humpback whale catalogue and they will allocate a unique ref. no. for this animal

IWDG are looking to charter a local Waterford or Wexford boat this Friday and Saturday (22nd -23rd Jan), for two days research charter out of Dunmore East. It should ideally have a PSV licence, un-interupted bow access or a fly bridge. If you have such a boat, and would be interested in taking part in this venture to learn more about humpback and fin whales in the area, then please contact IWDG at Ph. 023-8838761 or email: padraig.whooley@iwdg.ie


Report I, 1701/10.

Sunday 17th Jan was a big "large whale day" off Hook Head area with both humpback and fin whales recorded, while Andrew Malcolm was watching fin whales further west off Ram Head in Co. Waterford.

Kevin Mac Cormick (IWDG) reports on what was an eventful trip out off Hook Head.....



Sunday 17th delivered some awesome whale watching experiences for the 11 hardy soles who braved the swells of the recent storms as we launched from Dunmore East at 11am today. In bright sunshine we soon picked up our first sighting of a lone fin whale about 5 miles south of Hook Head.

The presence of seals and sea birds and the busy herring trawlers suggested bumper fishing so we headed out a little deeper and picked up large "blows" a mile off our port bow and for the next 1.5 hours we were entertained by two humpback whales which were initially well apart, but we were graced by their presence on several occasions, coming within 20 metres of our craft -in fact, they were so close that we could clearly identify one with a distinctive notches on his small dorsal fin. (see photo above)



Our only regret was the lack of tail-fluking behaviour, by which the whale raise their flukes clear of the water. The lack of fluking which may have been due to their feeding in relatively shallow water, may make it difficult to confirm whether these are new humpbacks or existing individuals known to researchers that are currently on the IWDG humpback whale catalogue. (see http://www.iwdg.ie/iscope/sightings/photoID.asp?species=2103)

Many thanks to Paddy Roche for his land-based watches off Baginbun head area which informed us of the whale's presence in the first place and Deirdre Slevin for organising the trip and to skipper Brendan Glody for taking a gamble on both the whales and the sea conditions.

Mac