Free Guinness and a Minke Whale

Friday morning and the sun was out and some of us made the drive to Bantry Market. More of us were going to go but the clear blue sky and light persuaded some to take advantage and stay behind. Last week the market had been grey and shrouded in rain and there had been plenty of places to park. By way of contrast yesterday the car park was full and we had to drive out to find somewhere to leave the car.

Outside the car park a man was admonished by his wife for parking on the pavement in such a way so as to block off half of the entrance. Another car, a battered green Vauxhall seemed to be struggling to find enough room to make it through the blocked entrance. Shamed the driver of the first car drove off to find somewhere more convenient to park only for the green Vauxhall to back up into the space he had just left and to block up even more of the entrance.

We timed the shopping so it was all done and back in the car by midday ready for when Ma Murphy’s opened. We piled in for a quick pint before heading back to the Cottage and the sunshine. Murphy’s was ordered and then the barman said those magic words, “Would you like Guinness instead – it’s free?”

We didn’t quite catch what he was saying and said we were happy with the Murph’s.

“Are you sure? The Guinness is free. There is a man there cleaning the pipes and I have five pints here that I’ve poured and if you don’t want it I am throwing it away.”

There were five us so we had the Guinness. Just to make it even better they were playing Dr John’s Gris Gris over the music system – one of my favourite albums.

Back at the Cottage we sat outside in the garden and ate our lunch – a collection of meats, cheeses and olives picked up from the market.

We then attempted to catch mackerel. Although it was the right time of day – late afternoon – we were doing it on a falling tide. There were seven of us on the boat and three lines. We dropped them in the just off Owen Island and spent a happy fifteen minutes catching no fish when there was a shout. “What is that!?”

A hundred hards or so ahead of a great black shape heaved itself out of the water and then slid back down a small fin showing just as it disappeared under the surface of the water.

“That was a whale,” we agreed.

We then spent 15 minutes stalking it around the bay.Every time we motored towards where we had seen it it came up again either a hundred or so yards in front of us or sometimes behind us. It came out of the water every couple of minutes always a slow curving black shape coming out of the water with the fin following at the end. Sometimes the head came out as well and we could see the open mouth and baleen and then a puff of water up into the air.

So that was a good day. Sunshine, free Guinness and a thirty foot Minke out in the bay.

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