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Colin Barnes of Cork Whale Watch, is Ireland’s longest established whale watch operator and has been enthralling whale watchers and wildlife enthusiasts in west Cork since 2001. Colin has been monitoring whales and dolphins along the Cork coast in a maritime career spanning over 40 years.

Colin’s passion for the marine environment, combined with his unique ability to locate whales is legendary. His work has featured on many wildlife documentaries over the years, such as RTE's (“Wild Trials”, “Living the Wildlife” and “Wild Migrations”) and more recently he has worked with B.B.C Autumnwatch (fin whales), Winterwatch (humpback whales) and B.B.C Seasons. Colin supports the conservation work of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and reports all sightings made on the MV Holly Jo to the Irish Cetacean sighting scheme. His vessel, the MV Holly Jo is the IWDG’s primary research platform for carrying out both photo-identification and biopsy sampling research on fin and humpback whales along the Irish south coast. Cork Whale Watch operate year round and are also available for filming and research charters, as well as pelagic seabird trips.

The species we record most frequently are: harbour porpoise, common dolphin, minke whale, fin and humpback whale. At any time of year we may have occasional sightings of bottlenose and Risso’s dolphins. May-June is the best period to see the planet's second biggest fish, the basking shark, and this can also be the best time for Ireland’s smallest baleen whale, the minke whale. Humpback and fin whales can be seen between July and December but with a peak between late autumn and early winter. When you take a trip with Colin you tap into his vast experience at sea, as a fisherman, whale man and a person with a genuine appreciation and passion for the ocean, its biodiversity and the ecosystems that maintain it.

Trips generally run at 10.30am and 3.00pm in summer and 10.30am in winter. All trips are subject to reasonable weather conditions and bookings must be re-confirmed two days before sailing. The MV Holly Jo is licenced and insured for 12 passengers. Pre-booking is essential year round. Trips are suitable for all ages, although children under 5 may find our trips, which are often longer than 4 hours, quite long. Toilets are available on board, along with a warm wheelhouse for your comfort. No sea going experience is required. There is ample free and safe car parking nearby. Trip payments can be made on the day by cash. A booking deposit is required for all bookings of 6 or more people, which will be refunded in full, in the event of your trip being cancelled to weather.

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