Log: SW Herring Acoustic Survey 2009

27th Oct 2009 Survey Ended: FSS Celtic Sea Acoustic Survey 2009

Area: South and Southwest Shelf.

Agency: Marine Institute

Ship: Celtic Explorer

______________________________________

27th October 2009

At dawn we were already in Galway Bay and due into Galway Docks at midday, thus marking the end of survey... the 5th successive year in which a cetacean survey has been completed during the FSS Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey.

The full Cruise Report is available to download. Click Here - PDF 1Mb.

26th October 2009

Though the wind was blowing hard from the southeast at 20 knots plus this morning, we were in the shelter of Dingle Bay - for the second time this trip. As we headed for the Blasket Sound, a minke whale was spotted feeding beneath a flock of gulls and gannets. We rounded Slea Head and through the Blasket Sound with its stunning scenery. Heading later past Smerwick Harbour and into Brandon Bay the seas calmed even more, but no cetaceans to be seen. Dusk came early, with the changing of the clocks, and survey effort ended at just 5pm.


25th October 2009

The day was spent at anchor at Lawrence Cove, Bere Island while calibration was conducted on the acoustic survey equipment.

24th October 2009

With winds blowing force 8-9 and mountainous seas there was little prospect of any survey happening today... another day in the office.

23rd October 2009

Conditions were good this morning as we surveyed in sea state 3-4 just south of Cork Harbour. The activity in the area was also good... to our east we had the LE Emer practicing helicopter manoeuvres with the Air Corps and to our south we had a feeding frenzy of common dolphins and gannets! In all we came across 6 large groups of common dolphins feeding in among the Cork fishing fleet, totalling 157 individuals in all.

Amongst all this action a few large splashes caught my attention. Next a large dorsal fin sliced through the surface with a white body visible just below. 4 Risso's dolphins tore through the area, in a mad rush to get somewhere fast.

In the early afternoon 3 blows from a large whale were sighted by the bridge crew just to the west of Cork Harbour. Then the fog came down and stopped the show. With no improvement in visibilty before dusk, that was the end of the days survey.

22nd October 2009

Another very quiet day spent surveying just off the east Cork coast in moderate conditions. Again plenty of whale food... but no dolphins or whales until late in the afternoon when the blow from a single large whale (probably a fin whale) was sighted about 8 miles south-southeast of Knockadoon Head.

21st October 2009

The identity of the distant whale remains a mystery as, though we spent the day just east of Ram Head (where the whale was seen last night) the weather was blowing a gale and the sea state foiled all attempts at survey effort.

20th October 2009

Sea state of 4-5 with a heavy swell as we surveyed south of Tramore, Co. Waterford. Despite lots of fish, there was no dolphin or whale activity in the area. Then at dusk a single blow from a large whale was sighted to the west...

19th October 2009

Conditions were blustery at dawn, with a sea state of 5-6 and it only got worse. By lunchtime the wind was blowing 30knots+, it was time to give up and retire to the office. No cetaceans seen.



18th October 2009

Sea state deterriorated overnight and was 4-5 all day. We spent the day surveying offshore, south of Kilmore Quay before moving in towards the Saltees in the late afternoon. Despite there being sprat in the area, no sightings were made