Giants of the ocean rise near 'Celtic Mist'

Sat, Sep 15, 2012, 01:00

THE AIR Corps has captured a rare sighting on camera – an encounter with two blue whales by the former Haughey-owned yacht Celtic Mist.

The pair of blue whales – the Earth’s largest mammal – surfaced within 200m of the ketch some 96km west of Mizen Head, Co Cork, late last week.

Coincidentally, the Air Corps Casa maritime patrol aircraft was on a surveillance flight when it recorded the encounter.

The Air Corps has an agreement with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group to record marine mammal sightings.

The Celtic Mist was donated by the Haughey family to the group last year, and this was its first research and training trip since refurbishment. Former taoiseach Charles J Haughey had long been a supporter of the group and declared Irish waters a whale and dolphin sanctuary in June 1991.

An observer from the group, Patrick Lyne, said there may even have been three in the pod, or group of whales. “Three ‘blows’ of seawater were emitted in a very short space of time,” he said. “We also recorded lots of fin whales, the second-largest whale species.”

The trip exceeded expectations, given that there has been only one previous sighting of blue whales in these waters.

See iwdg.iefor more information