Thursday 14 December 2017

Once more into the breach, dear friends

The arrival of a group of humpbacks has turned a fishing village upside-down, writes Louis Jacob

In Baltimore, west Cork, the language has suddenly changed. The familiar vocabularies of fishing and sailing, which normally permeate worthwhile conversation in the village, have been temporarily relegated. Bubble-netting, breaching, pectoral-slapping and tail-fluking are just a few of the terms driving the discourse in the village now.

This all began about a fortnight ago when a pod of humpback whales showed up just outside the harbour and began to gorge on the abundance of Atlantic sprat, which shoal along the coast at this time of year. The arrival of these gigantic sea creatures triggered an epidemic of humpback-mania in Baltimore. Now you need a pretty sound grasp of the ol' whale speak just to get on.

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