Log: FSS Mackerel Egg Survey 2010

27th Jul 2010 Survey Ended: FSS Mackerel Egg Survey

Area: Irish, UK & French Shelf.

Agency: Marine Institute

Ship: Celtic Explorer


27th July 2010

Sea state five, increased to six by late afternoon. No sightings were made in between the procession of heavy rain showers that intermittently obliterated the view. Tomorrow we dock in Galway, marking the end of the survey.

26th July 2010

Another day of fog, which finally cleared away in the late afternoon. Sea state 5 didn't offer good survey conditions and yielded no sightings.

25th July 2010

Awoke to fog a the porthole and began the game of waiting for it to lift. Throughout the day the fog woyuld vary between very dense and light. Just when I thought it was about to clear and made my way to the bridge, we'd enter another dense bank of fog. And so it was all day, never clearing. Ironically the fog began to lift just as the light began to fade...

24th July 2010

Better luck with the weather this morning. Sea state 3-4 prevailed all day, with a light swell and good vis. The day was spent on a transect passing along the base of the north slopes of the Porcupine Bank. In the past this area with its slope & canyon habitat has prooved to be good for cetacean activity and so it was today with 4 sightings of sperm whales (6 animals in all), 2 groups of pilot whales (11 animals) and one group of Atlantic white-sided dolphins (6 animals).

23nd July 2010

With sea state 5 and rain, an effort was made at survey in the morning. This was rewarded with a blurred view of a group of 35 common dolphins approaching the bow. However our run of bad luck with the weather continued as dense fog settled in and stayed for the rest of the day, marking an end to survey effort for the day.

22nd July 2010

The morning started badly with rough seas and poor visibility. However by early afternoon things had calmed to sea state 4 and by late evening had dropped to sea state 2. Despite the good survey conditions no cetaceans were encountered as we trackked west across the top of the Porcupine Bank.

21st July 2010

An attempt at survey in force 6 winds was abandoned by mid-morning as it became clear the winds were increasing. By mid afternoon winds were at Gale Force 8 and the ship spent the day dodging into the weather. All this didn't stop the dolphins however and we were treated to a show of breaching, surfing and other acrobatics as groups of common dolphins played around the ship during the day.

20th July 2010

Despite a large swell, conditions were reasonable with sea state 3-4 for most of the day as we surveyed west across the Porcupine Seabight. Only a single sighting was logged for the day of a group of 6 Pilot Whales close to canyon systems on the eastern slopes of the Porcupine Seabight.

19th July 2010

Another morning of grim weather with rough seas and big swells indicated another day in the office... However just after lunch someone turned the wind off and within a very short time the seas settled right down to sea state 3, all be it with a large swell.

As we passed some 20miles S/SE of Galley Head I started picking up blows and within the space of half an hour had counted five separate groups of animals, numbering some 8-10 animals. Though too distant to see the animals themselves, these were almost certainly all fin whales. Many of the animals were feeding below flocks of gannets.

That was it until late evening when a small group of c10 common dolphins were spotted feeding beneath gannets to the south of Roaringwater Bay.

18th July 2010

Another dismal day weatherwise. Attempted some survey effort in force 6 this morning but as conditions deteriorated furthe