Tuesday, 7 July 2009

From Sue,

Cliff,
We have a mutual friend/colleague, Shirley Matthews and in the course of conversation she described her interest in wildlife both via work on skomer and with the Sea trust. I am a keen sailor and canoeist and to which Shirley said that you would appreciate any sightings of dolphins etc whilst I was on holiday on my boat over last couple of weeks in June. So here they are

22.6.9 – whilst making passage from Dale to Dunmore East in S Ireland

16.30 – 51 39.76 N and 5 43.95 W – two common dolphins travelling west – played in bows of boat briefly before moving on

17.42 – 52 41.7 N and 5 43.51 W – one seal apparently snoozing basking in the sun

18.30 – 51 44.39 N and 5 50.2 W pod of maybe 5 or 6 common dolphins travelling east – they did not stop to play in the bows

19.27 – 51 47.23 N and 5 56.8 W – one porpoise (I think) travelling west – did not stop to play

19.53 – 51 48.54 N and 6 00.3 W – pod of 3common dolphins travelling west – they stopped to play in the bows for about 10 minutes

There are two other sightings which I put in the boats log and can retrieve the precise details when I am next aboard the boat but from memory

Monday 29.6.9 making passage to Kinsale from Crosshaven – apparently two large animals with tall fins behaviour unlike anything seen with dolphins – sort of circling and snuggling one another (sorry for the anthromorphic description) – they were not particularly interested in the boat dived once and came up again maybe 20 feet further on east of initial position.- I immediately looked them up on a handout kept on board about animals in the area and thought that the only thing they could be were Orcas because of their colour size and shape of fin it was early afternoon and we were a couple of miles east of entrance to Kinsale and about half a mile of the coast.

On Saturday 4 July 2009 south of the Smalls on way back to the haven within 10 minutes or so two very large pods of common dolphins passed the boat travelling east/south east about midnight and not clear whether they stayed to play in the bows as dark, heavy seas and windy so did not want to go forward to see! On each occasion there were more than I had ever seen in a pod with waves of them surfacing together – difficult to say how many but at least tens if not hundreds – it was certainly so many to be in my experience exceptional.

If it is of interest the boat is a 29’ yacht - her hull below the waterline is painted black and I think that all sightings were whilst sailing rather than motor sailing with the engine on. I do not ever approach animals whilst at sea – I would like to say this is because of consideration for the animals but really it is because there is little point – their attention is in their gift rather than any possibility of me being able to pursue them in my boat – they are much more capable in/on the water than me….

Hope this info is of use to you

Sue

Perfect Sue, just what we need and great attitude, looks like you may have relocated our superpod! Re Orca's see last posting! allthingsgood, cliff