Puffins and Humpbacks
17.07.2011 It is hard to believe that the summer season is going so quickly and that within a couple of weeks our puffins will be departing from lovely Inishvickillaun and the other outlying Blaskets for their life on the ocean billow before they return to us again next March/April for their breeding season. Anybody wishing to see this most comical and iconic of our breeding sea birds should not delay in taking one of our afternoon tours from Ventry Harbour, Co. Kerry as the puffins departed our shores circa July 26th last year.
In the last few days cetacean activity has increased enormously and we now have daily sightings of harbour porpoises who are easy to spot in calm weather conditions; numerous schools of playful common dolphins in various locations who love to chase and bow ride the tour boat much to the delight of our passengers and many and almost daily sightings of minke whales feeding on the surface. The top three metres or so of the sea surface at the moment are dense in places with zooplankton and tiny fishes and we have come across numerous bait balls with minke whales feeding and surrounded overhead and on the surface with accompanying Manx shearwaters.
But the stars of the show are the two humpback whales which we have been lucky enough to have alongside the boat on a couple of occasions. They were first notified to IWDG [Irish Whale and Dolphin Group] www.iwdg.ie members by a local fisherman, then local member Nick Massett tracked them from the shore with his telescope and generously stayed nearby in his boat to put us in the right location. What a show! Two humpbacks beside the boat, the sea thick with common dolphins and numerous minke whales feeding voraciously from the bait balls created by the two humpbacks. All this against the backdrop of the wonderful Kerry coastline of the Dingle peninsula stretching from the Three Sisters and Mount Brandon in the east to Inish Tuaisceart [The Sleeping Giant] and Tiaracht [The Western Isle] in the west.
At the moment there is a small break in the weather but we hope to be on the water again from next Tuesday, July 19th and of course we are hoping that our two humpbacks will continue to enjoy the rich feeding in Dingle Bay and give our visitors a chance to see these wonderful creatures and the spell binding sight when they lift their tail flukes high in the air in a sort of farewell as they plunge for the deep.