Log: LE Róisín December Patrol

12th Dec 2008 Survey Ended: December Patrol

Area: Southwest and South Coast

Agency: Naval Service

Ship: L.E. Róisín

Observer: Dave Wall

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12th December 2008

Hauled anchor this in the late morning and returned to Cobh, marking the end of my survey.

11th December 2008

Spent the morning heading offshore through some pretty awful conditions with winds picking up to gale force in the afternoon. Despite the weather three groups of common dolphins (totaling 8 animals) and one pilot whale were seen, though many more may have been missed in the swells and rolling waves. As evening came down we returned inshore for shelter at anchor.


10th December 2008

Much of the morning was spent west of Kenmare and Bantry Bays. Despite good survey conditions (sea state 3) there were no sightings. In the afternoon we headed southwest over the Irish shelf. As we cruised south suddenly a group of bottlenose dolphins appeared off our port bow, about 12 animals in all including at least two juveniles. Ten minutes later the second and last sighting of the day was a brief view of two harbour porpoise swimming rapidly away from the ship.

9th December 2008

This morning we struck out southwest from Bantry Bay into some rough conditions. With a sea state of 6-7 and a high swell, we pounded our way west towards the Porcupine Seabight. Despite the conditions 3 groups of common dolphins were encountered (some 20 animals in total though more could have been hidden in the swells and waves).

8th December 2008

This morning brought wet and windy conditions as we patrolled west of the Bull Rock. The sea state rapidly worsened from 4 to 5 to 6. A single sighting of a group of 5 common dolphins was all that was recorded before we headed to shelter in Bantry Bay.

7th December 2008

Today we were offshore again patrolling the 200m contour on the east slopes of the Porcupine Seabight, some 100km west southwest of Bere Island. Despite a moderate swell the seas were calm with sea state 3 for much of the day. Despite this there were few sightings and by days end we had encountered a single pilot whale and a large group of 100-150 common dolphins.

6th December 2008

The day was spent patrolling from the Old Head to west of Mizen Head. This took us across the familiar haunts of west Cork, past Seven Heads, Galley Head, The Stags and The Fastnet. Five groups of common dolphin were encountered between the Old Head and just east of Galley Head (totaling 33 animals). South and Southwest of Galley Head we started picking up whale blows and had six encounters with single whales or feeding groups. In all at least 10 whales were counted with 8 fin whales and at least one possible humpback. Also encountered were the whale watching vessels the Holly Jo and the Voyager both of whom were enjoying close up views of the whales.

Fin whale surfacing off Galley Head 6/12/2008 © Dave Wall GMIT/IWDG

4th & 5th December 2008

Two days spent at anchor in Bullen's Bay, Kinsale sheltering from gales.

3rd December 2008

The day was spent patrolling offshore to the east of the Kinsale Gas rigs. Sea state was good at 3-4 all day, however things were a lot quieter with only two sightings of common dolphins (totaling just 3 animals, although there were undoubtedly more present) and one grey seal.

2nd December 2008

Today found us patrolling an area in the south of the Celtic Sea, near to the limits of the Irish EEZ. The weather was rough with sea state 6 for most of the day, only decreasing slightly in the late afternoon. Despite the conditions it was a good day for sightings ended with 17 encounters with groups of