Life on the Edge, Exploring Irelands Canyons

18th Jun 2016


Outward Cruise: Dates 28th of August to September 7th Castletownbere (West Cork, Ireland) to Camaret (Brittany, France)

Return Cruise: September 8th to 18th Camaret (Brittany) to Castletownbere (West Cork).

Places are still available to join a cruise recording cetacean activity principally in the Irish EEZ from West Cork to Brittany where the shelf edge is targeted from Ireland to France on Jessy of Adrigole a 37ft yacht (Jessy).

Participants will receive instructions on how to record and recognise sightings prior to joining and these will be covered again on start up and reinforced during the survey.  This data will be submitted to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group database and available for future publications on the distribution of cetaceans in Irish waters.  Data from UK and French waters will be made available to relevant authorities in these jurisdictions but this will be limited as the emphasis will be on the Risih EEZ.  Participants will be introduced to cetacean acoustics and it is planned to use a towed array to record and track sperm whales and other cetaceans where and when found.  Emphasis will be on visual observation and recording of behaviours of animals on the shelf edge. This is an opportunity to gain experience of a wide variety of cetaceans in Ireland’s most prolific marine environment. Crew must be prepared for 4 to 5 days without seeing land.  Sailing time can be logged for experience if required.  No prior experience of sailing, or marine mammals is required but some prior experience or interest is typical of all previous crews members.  This will be the fifth year of operation but the first time exploring the rarely visited canyon systems off the South West of Ireland where it is expected large baleen whales (fin/blue),beaked, sperm and pilot whales may be encountered among others .  It is a unique opportunity to see a rarely visited part of the world’s oceans.     

The objective for the entire crew is to gather as much sightings and acoustic data on species encountered as possible, along the shelf edge, in sea states of 3 or less, so rough weather will be avoided.  While 10 days are allowed, sailing a direct crossing from West Cork to Brittany can very comfortably be undertaken in two days.  Participants should expect to spend about 5 to 7 days at sea depending on weather and will be required to assist in sailing the vessel, recording sightings and other crewing duties.  Night time sailing will be required and crew will sleep in shifts at night.  While time at sea is not luxurious, it is hoped to record a large variety and number of species and this is an opportunity for participants to see the greatest variety and abundance that the Irish (plus French and UK) waters have to offer.  Early September typically sees periods of settled weather so we will utilise these to cover track lines on the shelf edge.

Cost for joining the crew on this survey will be €1280 for either outward or return journey.  Food on board will be provided, although when in port crew will buy their own meals ashore typically.  We may spend days in port while waiting for good weather and will hope to arrive in port before appointed final date. Participants will be expected to organise their own travel to and from  Cork/Brittany but we will assist and can collect/drop in Cork city.  Further details are available on request by emailing Patrick Lyne at .