Thursday, 26 August 2010

A whale story with a happy ending

While we were away last week, a 20ft minke whale was stranded on Tyrella Beach, fifteen miles southwest of Islandmore. My mum and I take her dog to Tyrella every week, and although we have occasionally seen basking sharks I'm not aware of having seen a whale.

This was that rare event - a beached whale story with a happy ending. A four-man Environment Agency team from Quoile Countryside Centre managed, on the second attempt, to turn the disoriented mammal round on a rising tide and encourage it into deep water, where it disappeared.

Minke whales are spotted quite often in the Irish Sea, and indeed prefer the cooler oceans of the world. Adults grow to between seven and ten metres, weigh five to ten tonnes and live up to the age of forty-seven.

Moby Dick, incidentally, was a sperm whale.
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