Monday 23 October 2017

20 tonne humpback whale spotted by watchers off Hook

By david looby

The humpback whale.
The humpback whale.

A TWENTY TONNE, 40FT HUMPBACK WHALE was spotted feeding off the coast of County Wexford on Wednesday.

The whale, which is over 12 metres in length and which weighs around 20 tonne, was spotted by Martin Colfer, who runs a whale and angling boat from Duncannon harbour.

Colfer, 45, was taking a group out on a whale finding journey when they came across the whale which could have been in the area for a fortnight.

'We left at 10 a.m. and came across a pin whale and the first humpback of 2017 spotted in Ireland. It was his first time in Irish waters. This was at around 12.15 p.m. three miles south of Hook Head. They come here on an annual basis around this time to feed. The whales are identified by marks on their tails. This one is a fine specimen. He was feeding and would come up for three blows before going down again to feed and returning to breach the surface. It was a fantastic sight to behold.'

He said humpback whales are common in the area, adding that fin whales, which are the second largest mammals on the planet after blue whales, often return to the same feeding grounds year after year off the County Wexford coastline.

'The mammal was never in Irish waters before. We know this through studying the markings on the tail. His topside is black and he is white and other colours underneath. He could be here for another two or three weeks or he could be gone in a week once the herrings shift further east.'

Anyone who wants to go in search of the humpback whale or a similar whale can contact Colfer, who runs the Rebecca C angling and whale boat from Duncannon, on 087 2657177.

Wexford People

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