HOT on the heels of a visit by a rare leatherback turtle off the Courtmacsherry Coast last week, one of the country’s most famous humpback whales, Boomerang, has returned to West Cork shores.
Aptly named, it seems the male whale has a habit of returning annually around this time and this sighting delighted whale watchers who were at sea with Atlantic Whale and Wildlife Tours.
‘We sent our images of this humpback whale to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and they confirmed that it was indeed the most famous of Irish humpback whales, HBIRL3 or ‘Boomerang’, as he is more commonly known,’ said Christopher O’Sullivan, a whaling guide.
‘His story is incredible and our sighting last week brings to 13 the number of years he has returned to Irish waters in the last 17. He was first photographed by Colin Barnes on the ‘Holly Jo’ in 2001 and because he returns in late August almost every year, it makes him one of the most photographed and recognisable whales in Europe.’
He added that Boomerang was also the apparent inspiration for the now iconic ‘whale tail’ sculpture in Clonakilty.
‘The irony is not lost on us that only a few days after the temporary removal of this structure from the Waterfront plaza, Boomerang decides to make his return to the West Cork coast!’
The IWDG has said that over the past 13 years Boomerang has been documented between West Cork and Co Waterford.
Interestingly, he has never been recorded along the Kerry coast. He was biopsy-sampled by Dr Simon Berrow in September 2003 when his gender was confirmed.