We will, of course, remember 2021 for a lot of things, but one of the biggest, clumsiest, happiest memories has got to be Wally the Walrus.

 

Here's a complete record of his year's adventuring.

 

UNEXPECTED NOVEMBER NEWS!!

 

Another Walrus has been spotted in Northumberland...!

Have a look at this footage from Serenity Boats

 

WALLY THE WALRUS

 

In March 2021, a five year old girl, out walking with her father, spotted a very very large seal on Glanleam Beach, Valentia in County Kerry. It turned out to be a Walrus. 

 

Walruses are usually to be found in the Arctic, places such as Greenland, and rarely venture as far south as Ireland and England, not least because they prefer colder seas.

 

Since that first sighting March, Wally has completed an epic 1,400 nautical mile round trip - through Wales, Cornwall, France, Spain, the Scillies, and back to Ireland. And he must already have swum around 1700  nautical miles (3000 kilometres) to get to Ireland from Greenland in the first place.

 

He has now swum an additional 1250 nautical miles to Iceland. Hi is now resting in Hofn - on the east coast of Iceland. Presumably, his next stop will be back home in Greenland!

 

 

 

Click on the map to zoom

Click on the map for a closer look


A LONG STAY IN WALES

 

After the first sighting on Valentia Island in the very south-west or Ireland, Wally travelled to South Wales. He stayed in Tenby - mostly on the RNLI slipway - for around seven weeks and gained a huge number of fans and a lot of media interest.

 

HEADING SOUTH

 

We barely had time to realise that he had left Tenby, when there was a sighting of him in Padstow, Cornwall on 19th May. But that turned out to be a brief stopover. By 5th June, he had made it down to the Basque Country after a brief pause in Vendée, in the Loire region of France and a few days in the docks of La Rochelle.

 

There was some concern that he may be carrying an
injury - after potentially being hit by a boat (although
there were no actual sightings of such an incident. French marine experts, however, have viewed him (from a safe distance) and have reported that he seemed well.

 

For a week, there were no reported sightings and we had no idea whether he was continuing south or where he might be headed.

 

THE SCILLY ISLES

 

On 17th June 2021 - more than a week after the last sighting in Spain, there was a walrus sighting in Porthcressa in the Scilly Isles. He was filmed trying to get into a boat and that was the pattern through his stay on the Scillies. He stayed around the islands for some time managing to upturn some boats and burst others. Kindly locals built him his own pontoon in St Mary's Harbour which he loved dearly returning to sleep on it after each fishing trip.

 

 

After Storm Evert at the end of July, there were concerns for him as he lay low for a time. But, on 2nd August, he was sighted back in Eire - this time in Clonea Strand, Co. Waterford, a journey of around 140 nautical miles. He has since been in West Cork up to his usual tricks of clambering into boats to rest. 

 

ANOTHER WALRUS?

On 23rd August, there was a sighting of a walrus on the Scillies from a couple of reliable sources. It was on a day, however, when Wally was in West Cork. On 7th September, a walrus was seen in Baltrum, East Frisian Islands, Germany. This turned out not to be Wally (as we first thought...) but a female who has stayed on the coast of Germany / Netherlands throughout September and into October. Is she the Walrus sighted in the Scillies?

 

 

 

CONTINUING WALLY'S JOURNEY

 

The last sighting of Wally in Eire turned out to be on 30th August. There was then a long period of concern about his welfare and where he might be. On one occasion he was even pronounced dead as a boat in North Devon mistook the body of a whale for Wally!

 

On 19th September, however, a walrus showed up in Hofn in Iceland and hauled himself out onto a busy pier, exhausted. The scars on his fin were matched with scars that Wally carried and we were confident we had found our Wally once more!

 

In the Scillies, Wally has been visiting - and attempting to board - several boats. He may have accidentally burst a couple of dinghies...

 

Wally

 

When Wally was first seen, he was described as being the size of a large cow. Experts believe, based largely on looking at his tusks, that he is a young male. He was perhaps underweight when he arrived in Ireland, weighing around 500kg - the approximate weight of a grand piano!

 

Photographer: Factfinder404. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Wally's journey

 

Walruses are great swimmers and can stay underwater for half an hour. In terms of speed, they can travel at just over four miles an hour which means, for example, that Wally's journey of 350 nautical miles from Valentia to Broadhaven in South Wales would have taken a minimum of 93 hours - just under 4 full days.

 

It has been suggested that Wally travelled from Greenland. From Greenland to Valentia could be (depending on where he started from and the route he took) a distance of around 1700 nautical miles. This would equate (unless he got a lift on a ice sheet in the style of Buddy the Elf...), to a swimming time of 440 hours - 18 full days.

 

What do walruses eat?

 

Walruses are not particularly fussy eaters but their favourite food is clams - small bi-valves. Because walruses are very large and clams are very small, walruses will typically eat 3,000 to 6,000 clams a day.

 

They feed by sliding along the sea bed, with their snouts in the sand feeling out clams which are partially or wholly buried. 

Our first sighting of Wally on his epic journey