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A blue whale of a time.

THIS is the incredible sight of a blue whale - the planet's largest living animals - off the west coast of Ireland.

One lucky man witnessed the animal in Kerry while on board a fishing vessel on Monday.

Ivan O'Kelly, a member of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, was searching for albacore tuna when he spotted the whales.

He photographed them and they were later confirmed as blue whales on account of their pale coloration and unique mottling pattern.

Ivan said he felt rather special having been one of few to witness such an extraordinary event.

He added: "I feel very priviliged - it is such a unique event - I felt as if I was in a nature documentary of sorts. The thing about these whales is they are huge, the biggest is about 60ft. I wasn't scared about it coming towards me because I am used to seeing fin whales which are also quite big."

A IWDG spokesman said: "Hopefully this sighting will herald the beginning of a new era in which blue whales will continue to recover and begin to visit our inshore waters."

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MAGNIFICENT Size of human in comparison to blue whale
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 18, 2008
Words:195
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