IT’s not just tourists that are flocking to West Cork to catch the good weather this week.
Since last weekend, huge numbers of dolphins, sharks and whales have been spotted along the south-west shore, thrilling spotters and the general public.
Whale and dolphin-watching has become a huge part of the West Cork tourism offering in recent years, and the last few days have provided ample opportunities for the activity.
Among the main sightings this week were two basking sharks off the Beacon in Baltimore last Sunday morning, attracting a huge number of amateur photographers and wildlife fans as the duo happily swam in large circles at the foot of the landmark.
As the Wooden Boat Festival got into full swing, the harmless sharks were keeping their distance from the flotilla of craft, but there were still several other leisure boats in the vicinity, with crews leaning over the side to snap shots of the massive creatures. There were also several dolphins active in the area, off the Sherkin coast.
Later that day there were more shark sightings at Dunworley near Courtmacsherry, and Red Strand near Clonakilty.
And on Sunday, several sharks were seen near the pier at Union Hall. Also on Sunday, Inchydoney was the location of a large group of dolphins seen taking massive leaps into the air in front of delighted surfers.
All week visitors to Sherkin and Baltimore have been able to watch humpback and minke whales in action, with the fine weather due to last for at least another few days, making more sightings likely.
Some aerial shots taken during the week of the basking sharks showed their true size, dwarfing nearby kayaks.
An underwater video of them swimming near Baltimore, taken by local photographer and wildlife fan Youen Jacob, was a massive hit when shared on the Southern Star Facebook page this week. Within days, it had been watched by over 4,600 viewers.
Over the weekend the Baltimore Whale and Dolphin Group rescued a minke whale which was entangled in Roaringwater Bay. Members Nic Slocum, Brendan Collins and Jerry Smith freed the young minke without any damage.