The Irish Whale and Dolphin Groups new marine research vessel Celtic Mist set sail last Monday 3rd September on a Marine Mammal Observation and Passive Acoustic monitoring week with members Patrick Lyne (IWDG MMO Co-ordinator), Niall Mac Allister (Skipper), Deirdre Slevin, Lucy Hunt, Stephen Comerford, Matti Frisch, Chris Peppiatt, Christiano Roma onboard.
RV Celtic Mist carried a towed hydrophone array for acoustic detections and surveyed offshore shelf edge waters as well as inshore and coastal waters to provide the maximum variety of species and marine habitats.
The team set sail from Dingle, County Kerry on Monday morning and encountered various pods of common dolphins, but as the fog and mist set in, visibility was lost but it provided us with an opportunity to find their sea legs! On a much brighter Tuesday, we sailed around the Blasket Islands and encountered hundreds of Common Dolphins and numerous Minke Whales in a feeding frenzy, they were also accompanied by a Humpback Whale! By Wednesday morning we took advantage of the calm seas and blue sky and ventured further to the continental shelf edge. Soon after arriving at sunrise Thursday morning we were greeted by several fin whales and before long we had the amazing opportunity to witness two Blue whales surface within 500m of the boat.
As the week continued, we encountered 11 different Cetacean species, ranging from Harbour Porpoise to the Blue Whale. A full report of the trips with sightings and photographs will be provided to all IWDG members.
We would like to thank our Skipper Niall Mac Allister (West Cork Sailing) and our MMO coordinator Patrick Lyne for providing members with this amazing opportunity.
R.V. Celtic Mist Secretary