Solitary pilot whale in Glengarrif Harbour, West Cork.

6th Apr 2003 On Thursday 3rd April the IWDG received the first report from Sea Kayak guide, Frank Conroy, of a solitary small, jet black whale, which was swimming inside Glengarrif Harbour, West Cork.

On investigation it appears that the whale had been in the harbour since Wednesday 2nd April. Dúchas were advised immedietly by the IWDG and local Dúchas Ranger, Clare Heardman, confirmed it to be a Long-finned Pilot whale.

On Friday 4th the c15ft+ animal was seen swimming within 10 meters of the pier from which the Garnish Island boats depart.

On Saturday 5th April the whale was observed throughout the day, some 500M out from the pier by Pádraig Whooley and Mick O' Connell of IWDG. The whale spent much of the day behind Bark Island, remaining out of view from the pier and shoreline.

Later in the day the IWDG got an opportunity to photograph the whale and assess it's general condition. The whale, which was swimming strongly bore no signs of external traumas, or obvious signs of malnutrition and appeared in reasonable health.



A 3 hour extensive search of Glengarrif Hbr. and Bantry Bay area by the IWDG on Sunday morning 6th April failed to produce any signs of the whale. While we are optimistically cautious that the whale managed to successfully navigate its way out of the complex harbour system into deeper water during the night, we are all too aware of the poor track record pilot whales have for survival in these situations.

For more information on this species, which is rarely observed inshore, please visit the 'species profiles' section of this website.

We will keep you updated with any developments on the whale's wellbeing or whereabouts.

Pádraig Whooley