No sign of whale activity ending any time soon.18th Feb 2010 Report 8 Update 17/02/10.
The humpback whale known to IWDG as #HBIRL11 or locally as "Hook" was seen as recently as yesterday 16/02/10 by Liam Colfer of Hook Lighthouse within a mile of Hook Head. It was seen breach 10 times within a half hour period.
Today, 17/02/10 upwards of 3 fin whales were reported by Joe Molloy and Paddy Roche within outer Waterford harbour, feeding between Ardnamullet Head and Red Head. This is an exceptional record, although not without precedent. But to have the 2nd largest creature on the planet (up to 20m+) feeding in as little as 17m of water, gives us an interesting insight into their feeding ecology. During an RNLI exercise last night, herring could be seen as far as the eye could see (under lights) jumping clear of the water, suggesting there is still plenty of food for the fin whales and humpback (HBIRL11). Long may it last.
Watch the amazing footage on YouTube!
Report 7 Update 09/02/10.
The humpback whale and up to 3-4 fin whales are still present off Hook Head and can be seen from land about 2 miles south of Slane and also from the Waterford coast from Dunmore Head. Enjoy !
Report 6 Update 05/02/10.
Amid increased concern and complaints received by the IWDG about harrassment of the humpback whale by boats, the IWDG have mobilised their 6m RIB "Muc Mhara" for Saturday. The IWDG/GMIT team will be supporting the NPWS who wish to establish a presence on the water and will be visting boats out watching the whale to remind them of their legal obligations regarding harrassment. It is an offence under the Wildlife Act and Marine Notice 15 of 2005 to deliberately disturb whales and dolphins and we hope all boat users will respect this simple request to allow evertyone to enjoy watching one of natures amazing creatures.
Report 5 Update 02/02/10.
The humpback whale remains inshore off Baginbun Head area and was once again very active, with several breaching displays observed yesterday 01/02/10 by Martin Colfer. Skipper Brendan Glody of MV Keltoi Warrior informs us that the whale was seen in the area this morning 2nd Feb. So with all the herring evident in the area (see photos below) it doesn't seem to be in any hurry to leave these happy hunting grounds.
IWDG continue to receive a steady stream of reports of boats "harrassing" the whale. Ironically, most of these reports are from people who were out on boats. It should be pointed out that every vessel actively whale watching has the potential to disturb whales. Even boats which stick rigidly to the strictest of guidelines, by their engine noise alone are contributing to "noise pollution" for these acoustic mammals. There are volumes of published work from around the world that show that poorly regulated whale watching represents a potential conservation threat to local whale populations.
IWDG isn't interested in naming and shaming individuals or boat owners, and so will refrain from publishing some of the disgraceful images which have been sent to us. But you know who you are, and so do we.
So what can you do? Well, the obvious thing is to watch from the cliffs. It's free, you won't get sea sick, you can leave when you want, and most importantly your activity is having zero impact on the whale.
If you do decide to take a boat trip, don't be afraid to articulate to your skipper any concerns you may have about how your boat is behaving around the whale. The chances are that your skipper will appreciate the feedback. Tell him/her you are too close if you are closer than 100m, tell him you have spent too long with the whale if you have spent much more than 30 minutes watching the same animal, tell him if you feel the whale has had to change course to avoid a collis