Rare sighting of blue whale pod off Cork coast by observer group

Wed, Sep 12, 2012, 01:00

Blue whales, the earth’s largest mammals, have been sighted during the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s maiden research voyage on the former Haughey-owned yacht, Celtic Mist.

Two 25-metre-long blue whales surfaced within 200 metres of the vessel on the Porcupine Bight, some 60 miles west of Dursey Ireland, Co Cork.

However, there may have been three in the pod [group], as three “blows” of seawater were emitted in a very short space of time, according to Irish Whale and Dolphin Group marine mammal observer co-ordinator Patrick Lyne.

Blue whales, as featured in Heman Melvilles' novel Moby Dick,were hunted almost to extinction during the whaling era.

The sightings are only the second in Irish waters on record, and are very significant, as there are estimated to be just 3,000 to 4,000 blue whales in total in the northern hemisphere, Mr Lyne told The Irish Times.