Whale-watching Weekends 2003 Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork.

16th Nov 2002 The IWDG are organising three weekend whale-watching courses in summer/autumn 2003:

July 18 - 20th.

August 15 - 17th.

September 19 - 21st.

All 3 will be led by Pádraig Whooley, IWDG Secretary, who can be contacted at the address below for enquiries or bookings. The weekends are open to members and non-members alike. To ensure attention to detail, places will be restricted to 20 people, on a first come first served basis.

The weekends will be a mix of outdoor activity in the form of cliff and boat based whale watches, which will be supplemented by cetacean identification workshops and slide/video presentations; the mix will depend on the weather. We will of course try to maximise your time outdoors, which will require our being flexible with the schedule, which will be forwarded to you in advance of your course.

Participants must arrive on the Island on Friday, otherwise the 1st ferry from Baltimore will not get you to Cape until midday Saturday and by the time you've located your accommodation and sorted gear, you'll have missed half the day. We also give an introduction slide show on Friday night, which is a nice way to get to know one another over a pint (or two). You will be given your resource packs at this talk. I generally arrive on Cape on the 2.15 pm ferry which allows time to get a Friday afternoon watch in, this is a relaxed affair, so if you're already on Cape and would like to join us, then you are more than welcome.

Despite being open to all, we would advise that the courses may not be suitable for children under 12 years, but this will depend on their attention span. It goes without saying that children and cliff tops can be a dangerous combination. Also Cape's terrain is hilly, and you will need to be in reasonable condition to enjoy the three or so 30minute hikes up to the cliff-top vantage points.

Cost:

IWDG members - €60 per person.

Non-members - €80 per person*.

*includes one years membership to the IWDG.

These prices do not include accommodation, transport, food or the price of the pelagic boat trip should it happen. Non-refundable deposits of €25 pp are required on booking to secure places and should be paid by cheque (not cash) to the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group and posted to the address below.

Once you have paid your deposit, we strongly advise you to book accommodation immediately, as Cape is a very popular summer destination with limited bed spaces. Details of accomodation and ferries is available at http://www.oilean-chleire.ie/

We encourage participants to book Cape's bird observatory, as it is reasonably priced at €15 per night (self-catering), supports a good cause, has an experienced warden in Steve Wing, has an extensive natural history library and above all has a friendly atmosphere. Book early as it can only accommodate seven people, on a first come first served basis. Booking should go through Declan Murphy, Booking Sec., BirdWatch Ireland, Ruttledge House, 8 Longford Place, Monkstown, Co. Dublin. Phone: 01-2804322, or e-mail: bird@indigo.ie.

Optics are essential. At a minimum, participants will need to bring a good pair of binoculars with which they are familiar. If you do not own binoculars, please obtain a pair in plenty of time to get used to them. The better your optics, the more likely you are to see cetaceans and see them clearly. Better again if you have a spotting scope.

You should dress for field conditions, with waterproof clothing, sturdy boots and sun hats. Sun- screen, insect repellant and a water container should be brought. Cushions or blow up pillow are invaluable when spending long hours sitting on cliff tops. Cape's landscapes and wildlife can offer stunning photo opportunities, so bring your camera and zoom lens.

Contact:

Pádraig Whooley

Irish W