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Bottlenose dolphins in Black Sound in first boat trip of the season

common dolphin and passengers 2
Common dolphin following our boat ( photo by Britta Wilkens)

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Bottlenose dolphins visit the Blaskets

On our first trip out last week we were lucky enough to find a group of about 25 bottlenose dolphins close to the far end of the Great Blasket island. Bottlenose dolphins are much rarer in these waters than their somewhat smaller cousins, the common dolphins (see picture on left) and are always a great excitement.

Large numbers of common dolphins - and a few minke whales too

While the bottlenose dolphins seemed to have moved on by the following day, there were plenty of common dolphins around to keep us busy with our cameras. Most of the Blasket Island area of Dingle Bay was teeming with small groups of common dolphins - all in all there were in the region of 100 common dolphins leaping and jumping and happy to bow-ride our boat for most of the afternoon.

Apart from the dolphins there were also about 2-3 minke whales close to the Blaskets - due to the fact that  they tend to resurface quite a distance apart from where they go down, it is sometimes difficult to give exact numbers. All in all it is looking very promising on the cetaceans front and it seems as if the long awaited plankton bloom has kicked in, starting the food chain and drawing in hungry dolphins and whales.

Basking sharks have made their first appearance

The plankton bloom has drawn in another giant, and we are all silently relieved that it isn't Lydia, the much-hyped Great White Shark, but the much more placid, if potentially bigger, basking shark. So far we have only observed them from Slea Head, the headland overlooking Dingle Bay and the Blasket Islands, but where there's a few to be seen from land there's bound to be some to be spotted from the boat any day now. Weather conditions for the next few days are looking very favourable and we're very much looking forward to checking out all the act

Update: 25-04-2014

Basking shark now cruising around in our home port of Ventry Harbour just a couple of hundred metres offshore! Dingle Bay teeming with common dolphins and Minke whales are back.  Happy days!

Book one of our tours for the start of May while the baskers are around and the common dolphins which appear to be feeding on the plentiful shoals of sand eels which can easily be seen shimmering near the surface of the water. Same prey species that the puffins will be feeding their young on shortly.  

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