Celtic Mist sails with Silurian

23rd Jun 2014

Celtic Mist sailed to the North East Coast mid May to attend the Ballycastle and Rathlin Sound Maritime Festivals.  The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group team onboard were given a warm welcome by the friendly islanders and an excellent weekend was had. Our Northern Ireland Officer Suzanne Beck and IWDG volunteers promoted our work throughout the weekend and brought all our new members sailing around Rathlin Island onboard Celtic Mist, where they were accompanied by Harbour Porpoise and  Bottlenose Dolphins.

Celtic Mist departed Northern Ireland on the 4th of June, destination Tobermory. Taking in the stunning scenery of the Hebridean Islands en route, the crew enjoyed the calm seas, clear blue skies and sunny days for the duration of their trip.  We were welcomed by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) in Tobermory and celebrated World Oceans day together, taking the opportunity to photography both Celtic Mist and their research vessel Silurian together.  This visit proved a great opportunity for similar organisations to work together and discuss how we can expand and improve on all the various areas of IWDG and Celtic Mist. 

Celtic Mist manager, Deirdre Slevin gave a presentation at the HWDT Whale Week festival, on the work of the IWDG and Humpback Whale research in the North Atlantic and presented the HWDT team with an image of a recently sighted Humpback whale in Irish waters.   The HWDT are similar to IWDG in a number of ways, they have just celebrated their 20 year anniversary, they also have identified 24 species in Scottish waters and their research vessel Silurian has been recording cetaceans using acoustics for a number of years.   The IWDG team also took the opportunity to meet with Christina Dixon from World Animal Protection to discuss how we can work closer with them on their campaign 'Sea Change' to monitor ghost gear and marine litter in relation to the entanglement of marine mammals.

Celtic Mist has since returned the safely to Ballycastle, following two very successful and enjoyable weeks to the Hebridean islands.  They encountered harbour porpoise, bottlenose dolphins and minke whales throughout the trip. 

In July Celtic Mist will carry out a series of passive acoustic monitoring surveys along the north and north west coast, recording whales and dolphins.

Here's hoping the sunny skies and calm seas continue throughout the summer, providing us with opportunities to continue cetacean research around the coastline of Ireland.