Besonders behutsam Kontakt mit den faszinierenden Tieren nimmt ein Mann in West Cork auf: Nic Slocum hat die vergangenen fünf Jahre ganz der Walbeobachtung gewidmet, er hat klare Regeln für den verantwortungsvollen und korrekten Betrieb von Walbeobachtungs-Unternehmen entwickelt, um den Schutz der Wale und Delfine in den Küstengewässern Irlands sicherzustellen, und er beschränkt sich ganz auf Whale Watching Touren. Sein Schiff, die Voyager, läuft in der Wal-Saison zweimal täglich mit maximal zwölf Gästen von Union Hall oder Baltimore aus.
Wir fragten Nick, was man auf seinen Trips zu sehen bekommt. Er selber beobachtet Wale und Delfine seit über 25 Jahren. In den Gewässern Süd-Irlands hat er bislang zehn verschiedene Wal-Arten gesehen und identifiziert. Seine Antwort kurz zusammengefasst: Minkewale (Zwergwale), Finwale (Furchenwale), Buckelwale, Schweinswale, Tümmler, Delfine - manchmal auch Orcas oder große Tümmler, dazu Haie, Seehunde, zahlreiche Seevögel, Sonnenbarsche und Schildkröten – und natürlich nicht alle zu jeder Zeit. Nick:
"Minke Whales, Fin Whales, Common Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises may be seen at different times of the year. Humpback Whales are a less frequent visitor to West Cork and we have opportunistic sightings of Killer Whales, Risso's Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins. More rarely do we see White Beaked Dolphins and Atlantic White Sided Dolphins. Common and Grey Seals may be seen year round and a variety of other marine wildlife - Gannets, Shags, Cormorants, Kittiwakes, Skuas, Shearwaters, Peregrine Falcons and various species of petrel are commonly sighted on our tours. In addition we see Turtles, Blue Sharks, Basking Sharks and the most unusual Sunfish at different times through the season."
Whale Watching in West Cork Ireland
Whale watching in Ireland and whale watching in West Cork in particular has now reached a high point for whale and dolphin watching enthusiasts the world over. The Irish government declared the coastal waters of Ireland a whale and dolphin sanctuary during the early 1990's. The first of its kind in Europe, this paved the way for whale watching in Ireland to become a prime activity for the many visitors to this country. Coastal waters off the southwest of Ireland are a summer feeding ground for a number of whale species and a year round home for several resident dolphin species including the Harbour Porpoise. Baleen Whales commonly seen off the south coast include Fin Whales and Minke Whales, which makes whale watching in Ireland some of the best whale watching in Europe. Humpback whales are also seen off the southwest coast. These large marine mammals feed in Irish waters for over seven months of the year on a variety of small shoaling fish and may be seen just a few kilometers offshore.
To date 24 species of the world's whales and dolphins have been recorded in Irish waters. In recent years over 12 cetacean species have been seen in the clear, unpolluted West Cork waters making them one of the richest areas for whale watching in Ireland. Irish whale watching has definitely taken off in West Cork with wide species diversity present for over half the year. Minke Whales arrive off our coast starting in May. Fin Whales traditionally arrive in June or July. Both species continue through August into the autumn and early winter months, providing some spectacular opportunities to view these large marine mammals only a few kilometers from the coast. The less predictable Humpback Whales traditionally arrive during August or the early autumn months. Whale Watch West Cork is aware of the benefits that whale watching can bring to coastal communities when conducted according to a strict code of conduct and is committed to the sustainable development of Irish whale watching whilst maximizing the educational advantages to the public but above all, ensuring the positive impact on the conservation status of the whales and dolphins of Ireland.
Although sightings of these large Baleen Whales is the highpoint of any whale watching in West Cork we must not loose sight of the fact that West Cork plays host to resident populations of Common Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises which may be present in considerable numbers as they move inshore during the summer months. In addition, there are frequent sightings of other dolphin species at different times throughout the year including Bottlenose Dolphins and Risso's Dolphins. There are some opportunistic sightings of Killer Whales (Orca), Long-finned Pilot Whales, White Beaked Dolphins and Atlantic White Sided Dolphins. Other marine mammals in Ireland that are regularly sighted on our wildlife boat tours include Seals. Seals in Ireland comprise the two species, the Atlantic Grey Seal and the Common Seal.
If you would like to go on a whale watching tour in West Cork, this is Nic Slocums Whale Watch West Cork Website. The boat leaves from Union Hall, Reen Peer, or from Baltimore Harbour twice dayly, at 9am and 2pm.