Log: OSS Oceanographic Survey

22nd May 2010 Survey Ended: OSS Oceanographic Survey

Area: Irish Shelf.

Agency: Marine Institute

Ship: Celtic Explorer

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22 May 2010

We made an early arrival in Killybegs marking the end of this survey.

21 May 2010

Another foggy day but with flat calm seas. As we headed west of Arranmore sightings were plentiful during the day but of species that we are not used to seeing on these surveys. During the day we had no fewer than 9 harbour porpoise sightings (14 animals) and 10 grey seal sightings (11 animals). Sightings of harbour porpoise were predominantly inshore but with a few sightings made further out over the shelf. Grey seal sightings were predominantly offshore with many of the animals exhibiting feeding behaviour.


Also sighted were 4 groups of common dolphins (75 animals) and 1 minke whale. Sighting of the day was of two basking sharks which passed close to the ship, whereupon one of the animals breached!

20 May 2010

Our fourth day of dense fog and it was a real pea-souper with visibility down to a few hundred meters. Survey effort was postponed until the late afternoon when the fog cleared as the ship entered Donegal Bay. Alex had a very quiet night on the hydrophones on the Transit north from Galway Bay. Visual survey effort from Erris Head to east of Kilalla Bay yielded four sightings totalling 25 common dolphins, two harbour porpoise and one seal (unidentified as it was about 2km distant).

For those of you longing for a picture of some cetacean action I include this collage of two breaching Sowerby's beaked whales taken two weeks ago during a survey on board the FRV Scotia in the Rockall Trough!



19 May 2010

More dense fog made for difficult survey conditions, however a calm sea state for much of the day helped. Last night Alex picked up alot of dolphin activity west of Dingle Bay and West of the Aran Islands. During todays visual survey four groups of common dolphins were sighted, totalling 29 animals.Three of these sightings occurred in the area just west of the Arasn Islands.

18 May 2010

Another quiet night on the hydrophones with only a few whistles heard. The day brought no relief as heavy fog and force 6 winds meant survey effort was abandoned and the day was spent catching up on paperwork.

17 May 2010

Alex monitored the hydrophone during the night, while simultaneously coming to terms with his first long-duration trip to sea. Some common dolphins were detected just west of the Aran Islands (as always!) and also in the wee hours, but otherwise it was a quiet night. The day was spent doing visual survey while the ship conducted CTD and plankton stations. Though the weather was flat calm (sea state 1-2), a dense fog hampered visibility for much of the day. Despite this a minke whale was sighted just south of the Mizen and four sightings of harbpour porpoise (totalling 9 animals) were recorded during the day as the ship moved offshore to the south of Baltimore, Co. Cork. Tonight we transit out west, towing the hydrophone again (no sleep for Alex!).The usual scatter of seabird species was enhanced by the presence of some storm petrels and a pomarine skua.

16 May 2010

Joined the RV Celtic Explorer in Galway Docks for a one week oceanographic survey of Irish Continental Shelf waters to the south and west of Ireland. As usual we will be conducting a visual cetacean survey during daylight hours but also this trip we have our towed hydrophone on board, which will be deployed during transit to and from survey transects. Also on board is Alessandro Pierini from Italy who is studying with GMIT for a few months, analysing acoustic data collected during the PReCAST project. Alex