Friday 26/01/2024 A whale of a time

Friday 26/01/2024 A whale of a time

A dull morning in Foxford, it looks like we had rain for most of the night. I’d expect that the river will soon start to rise again. It was big earlier in the week, peaking at just over 3m at Ballylahan bridge. The season opens next Thursday, I would not expect conditions to be good.

It was obviously Big but I still had not realised just how big


We had plans to go pike fishing on Sunday last but unfortunately storm Iasha and a red weather warning put pay to that. We did however manage to get out and about to view that power of nature and it was as enjoyable as a day’s fishing. Our first visit was to Killala. A friend had sent me a picture of a whale that had either stranded itself or washed ashore the previous day. It was an early start because we wanted to be there at low water. By first light we were making our way from the car, across the stones and seaweed to the area where the whale was lying. To say I was amazed by the size of it is an understatement. My eyesight is not great but I could see its huge bulk from several hundred meters away. “Wow its big,” “Yeah it seems to be” we were both shocked.

Can you imagine the power in that tail.

One sees whales on tv and even sometimes in the wild and yes, we all know they are big but to see this creature on dry land and to stand beside it is totally different. We roughly measured it at 23 meters long! I neglected to bring the weighing scales 😊

We were not the only people there; I had a brief chat with a gentleman who seemed to know a bit about them. A fin whale he told me, the second largest cetacean on the planet and it could be up to eighty years old. The last one he had seen was ten years ago in Achill, they obviously don’t wash up very often. While I felt a little sad looking at it dead on the rocks, the fin whale we were looking at was very thin and it was obvious that if it was alive when it came ashore, it was not in good condition. Id be happy enough to say that it had lived its life.  Ill include a few pictures but again, they do not do justice to the enormity of the whale.

The body is obviously thin. I’m no expert but id say it came ashore to die.
How would we survive without these warnings. When I was young and walking to school, the warning from my mother was “stay close to the buildings in case a slate hits you” We survived!

Achill had been mentioned and there was a storm on the way. I’m not sure whose idea it was but there was a suggestion that Achill would be an amazing place to be to view the Atlantic as the storm hit. We knew when we were heading off that the main part of the storm would not hit until well after dark. We were confident though that we would get some amazing views. We were not wrong and Achill did not disappoint. During the afternoon we made a little sight seeing tour all round the Island and unlike summertime, we had the place to ourselves. Even at the famous Keem Bay there was not another sole. We took pictures, unfortunately though our phones were not up to the conditions and most came out as blurs. We have the memories though and although a sensible person would not, I’d recommend a visit there in a storm to anyone. “You don’t have to be mad but it helps” or so a friend said when I called him to share the experience.

Keem Bay and not a person in sight.
Waves break as the roll across the stones, the sound was amazing
Hardy Sheep

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