whales west cork
 
recent sightings of whales and dolphins, © Pádraig Whooley, IWDG
 
book your west cork whale watching trip, © Pádraig Whooley, IWDG
 
amazing gallery of photgraphs, © Mike Brown Photography
 

Testimonials & Media

I stopped counting when I got to 37 dolphins. The jumping, diving, jostling pod had surrounded our catamaran like a gang of silver grey muggers, but my attention had been sidetracked by two bulky, menacing shapes to the left of the group......

Ian Belcher, The Guardian

A giant head broke the surface and a plume of spray erupted seven metres into the air. The head was followed by the graceful arch of an enormous back and, several seconds later, by a small curved dorsal fin...

Calvin Jones. The Countryman

read more here
 
colin barnes
 
marine life in west cork waters, © Ian Slevin
 
For more information: call 028-36832/086 3273226

Whale Watching FAQ's

Questions:

(please click on the questions below)

What am I most likely to see on the trip?

Will I always see whales on the trip?

What happens if the trip is cancelled?

Do you do group bookings?

What should I bring on the trip?

Where does the trip leave from?

How long is the trip?

Is it suitable for children?

Is there wheelchair access?

Can you recommend local accommodation?


Answers:


What am I most likely to see on the trip?
Common dolphins are as the name suggest are the most frequently cetacean observed in summer, autumn and winter, often in large groups with their calves. The harbour porpoise is also a commonly observed small cetacean in West Cork. Bottlenose dolphins are occasionally seen. Every year brings occassional visits from Risso’s and Atlantic white-sided dolphins.

Year after year minke whales, fin whales, and humpback whales return along with several species of dolphins to feed in West Cork's in-shore waters.

Also resident are Atlantic grey and common seals, most often seen basking on any of the beautiful uninhabited islands of the area.

West Cork waters are home to both oceanic and coastal sea birds, seen in thousands on WHALE WATCH trips, often in association with feeding whales. Colin can help identify all the species found here and is a fountain of knowledge on seabird ecology.

During the summer months, other visitors include basking sharks, leatherback turtles, sunfish, jelly fish.

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Will I always see whales on the trip?

Unfortunately there are no guarantees of sightings and no gimmicks such as "money back guarantees" , if there are no sightings. But given reasonable weather conditions Colin can generally find clients a range of species.

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What happens if the trip is cancelled?

Colin will have a good forecast of weather conditions prior to a trip.   However, if Colin considers the weather and sea conditions unsuitable or unsafe for a WHALE WATCH, he reserves the right to cancel the trip.  It is essential that the contact details you give with your booking are correct at the time of sailing so that WHALE WATCH may forewarn you of any changes.

Sometimes, for whatever mishap, passengers may have to cancel their trip.  Please ensure that you contact Colin at the earliest possible moment if you find you cannot keep your booking.  During the summer months, WHALE WATCH does have folk awaiting spaces freed up by cancellations. 

Deposits will be refunded if a cancellation is received forty eight hours before scheduled trip time.

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Do you do group bookings?

Yes, we do take bookings for groups and larger families and prices are negotiable.

Bookings for five or more require deposits (by posted cheque or telephoned credit card details).  The postal address is:
WHALE WATCH WITH COLIN BARNES,
Castletownshend,
Skibbereen,
Co. Cork,
Ireland. 
The deposit cheque will be held until  day of trip.  If weather conditions are unsuitable for a WHALE WATCH, the cheque will be destroyed.

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What should I bring on the trip?

Even on the finest day, as the ‘Holly Jo’ picks up speed, the breeze can be surprisingly chilling.  Please ensure you bring a windproof/waterproof jacket for protection.

Although there is free tea and coffee on board, you are welcome to bring snacks or a picnic as fresh sea air can make you very peckish!

Don't forget to bring your camera, spare batteries and a zoom lens !

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Where does the trip leave from?

WHALE WATCH trips leave from Reen Pier on the eastern side of Castlehaven harbour, signposted at every crossroad from Union Hall village, via a turning off the N71 at Leap between Clonakilty and Skibbereen.  There is ample free parking close by the pier. 

View our location map here >>

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How long is the trip?

WHALE WATCH TRIPS are of four hours’ duration. 

Summer Timetable
10.00am to 2.00 pm
3.00pm to 7.00 pm
Winter Timetable
10.30am to 2.30 pm

Bookings can be made by telephoning:
(00-353)028-36832 or (00-353) 086-327-3226.

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Is it suitable for children?

As long as children are accompanied by a parent, all age groups are welcome.

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Is there wheelchair access?

Reen Pier is not suitable for wheelchair access to the ‘Holly Jo’.  However, Castletownshend slip (on the west side of the harbour) offers suitable access at certain tide times. which Colin will be able to advise on, depending on day of trip. This will need to be discussed with Colin in advance. Please contact Colin for directions to Castletownshend slip.

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Local Accommodation

Seascapes Bed and Breakfast, Union Hall - Tel: 028 33920 , contact Julie

Casey's, Union Hall - Tel 028 33590, contact Martha Casey

Atlantic House, Castletownsend - Tel 028 36440, contact Kathleen

Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, visit website

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Acknowledgements