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“We had a whaley good time!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cork Whale Watch

Cork Whale Watch
Reen Pier | Union Hall, Skibbereen, Ireland
+353 86 385 0568
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Owner description: Colin Barnes is Ireland's longest established and best known whale watch operator, and has been enthralling whale watchers and wildlife enthusiasts in West Cork since 2001. Cork Whale Watch offers wonderful opportunities to observe marine wildlife in West Cork. These productive coastal waters provide critical feeding habitat for a diversity of species including cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), seals and sea birds, along with prolific fish life.If you've seen natural history documentaries on whales from anywhere in Co. Cork or Waterford, the chances are it was filmed from the MV Holly Jo. Among Colin's contributions are: RTE's "Wild trials", "Wild Journeys", "Living the Wildlife" and in recent years Colin has worked with both BBC Autumnwatch and Winterwatch and BBC Seasons to film large whales off the Cork coast. As a former fisherman of 40 years experience observing whales in West Cork, Colin may not have letters after his name, but those that do, know who to contact if they need to find, film or carry out research on whales and dolphins along the Cork coast. Colin has contributed to and co-authored scientific publications on both fin and humpback whales in collaboration with Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), and contributes to the All-Ireland Cetacean Sighting Scheme, by reporting sightings data to IWDG. Colin is a rare breed of conservationist, who has evolved from the fishing industry, his passion and understanding of local marine ecosystems is second to none. Colin is available for longer filming and research charters year round.
Cork, Ireland
1 review
“We had a whaley good time!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

Finally got around to seeing what our own Cork waters had to offer last weekend and we were not let down. Went out with Colin Barnes on saturday and had a fantastic time. Saw fin and minke whales and lots of dolphins. Colin was a fantastic hope. His passion and enthusiasm was infectious. We learned so much and really enjoyed the whole trip. Having seen so much whale footage on television it was fantastic to see these amazing creatures in our own seas. We didn't see any humpbacks though Colin tried his hardest. Oh well we'll just have to go back out for another tip. Happy days!

Visited October 2013
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PadraigWhooley, Colleague at Cork Whale Watch, responded to this review, October 15, 2013
Thanks so much Helen for taking the time to review your trip with Cork Whale Watch. Hopefully you'll have a chance to observe humpbacks with us at some point in the future. Bin in touch and thanks again.
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Cwmbran, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Assault on the senses”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2013

I was lucky enough to go out on the Holly Jo in August with Colin Barnes and the Cork Whale Watch crew. I can’t say enough about this experience.
The Holly Jo itself is very spacious, so plenty of room for all on the boat. Think about the conditions out at sea though, definitely take extra layers of clothing plus a drink and snack.
On this trip we got to see Minke Whales, Dolphins and Gannets (plus various other sea birds), feeding on herring. This was fantastic!! The speed of the Gannets hitting the water as they dive is a joy to behold. Seeing dolphins at such close quarters, working as a team to shepherd the herring was thrilling. As for the Whales themselves...wow! I’ll never forget the first time I saw a Whale surface. Seeing these majestic creatures so close up is an absolute privilege, and pretty humbling. This was natures answer to 360° Cinema. It was hard to know where to look as you are bound to miss something, thankfully there was no shortage of action though so if you missed one whale surface another would be along soon. The close proximity of the wildlife was breathtaking....in more ways than one. You could smell the breath of the whales as they surface.
I must stress, that even whilst getting this close to the Whales, Colin Barnes’s priority was the welfare of the animals. He was very mindful of impacting upon their environment and wouldn’t jeopardise their wellbeing to please the crowd. He is clearly passionate about the Whales and was full of enthusiasm for the trip. He was more than happy to engage with the passengers and share his knowledge and answer any questions. It added a lot to the experience that he displayed a level of enthusiasm rare in someone with this many trips under their belt. It really felt like he wanted his passengers to get as much out of the trip as possible and come away feeling as passionate about the wildlife as he does.
Highly recommended.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cork, Ireland
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4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Have a whale of a time!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2013

Had a fantastic morning out whale, dolphin, seal, seabird watching! Who knew that something so unique was just on our doorstep (I'm from Cork). Colin is a gentleman, very knowledgeable and genuinely passionate about what he does. I would imagine going out on a trip with him would be like your first time every time, he exudes such excitement. And he makes such a great effort to make sure we see these marine giants in action. It's an exciting, refreshing and exhilarating experience. We saw fin whales, minke whales, dolphins, which are a joy to watch. By the time the trip was over, due to the info Colin gleefully passed on, I felt like an experienced whale watcher! I personally enjoyed watching the seabirds, especially the gannets taking dives into the sea with effortless skill. I would definitely recommend this trip, no matter the weather. To watch these amazing creatures just living their daily life is an amazing sight and to watch them respectfully and joyfully is a privilege. Thanks so much Colin.
Just a little word too for Julie in Seascape in Union Hall. Fab place to stay, comfortable, spotless and so welcoming, a home away from home. Maria J.

Visited October 2013
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Burton, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“The time of your life”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2013

We've been travelling to West Cork during the winter months for more than ten years now for the excellent opportunities it offers for whale watching at this time. We take as many trips as the weather allows with Colin Barnes of Cork Whale Watch whose passion, enthusiasm and knowledge of both the marine wildlife and environment are second to none. The sightings we have had from his boat have been have been numerous and fantastic. Thank you Colin. See you in November.

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PadraigWhooley, Colleague at Cork Whale Watch, responded to this review, October 8, 2013
Thanks John and Mary for review. We look forward to seeing in West Cork for some more whale watching with Colin Barnes in a few weeks.
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Belfast, United Kingdom
1 review
“Brilliant!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2013

My first time with Cork Whale Watch and Colin Barnes was part of a whale watching course with the IWDG and it was really good! It was a brilliant time out in the sea, where we observed a big variety of sea birds, loads of common dolphins, harbour porpoises and vast amounts of water, which I very much appreciated as someone who love the ocean! Unfortunately the sea conditions were not the best for whale watching, which made us miss the sighting of some sort of whale, of whom we spotted the blow, despite all the efforts of the skipper. The choppy sea did make for a fantastic jumpy ride back to the harbour. But when it comes to observing animals in their natural habitat you have to remember that not everything is depending on the people carrying the activity and that a lot of other factors come into play, so it was not disappointing at all and it just made me want to go back so I can definitely "catch" these elusive animals next time.
And next time I'm down in Cork I know who I'll be looking for to take to see some whales!

Visited September 2013
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