Celtic Mist News Feb 2014

By Deirdre Slevin

After sheltering in Kinsale Harbour, County Cork for the stormy month of December, Celtic Mist sailed to New Ross, County Wexford on Saturday the 11th of January, quite possibly the only sunny day with calm seas we have experienced so far in 2014.  Our recent storms have unfortunately destroyed our plans for ‘large whale season’ in County Wexford.  Fin whales were seen off the Hook Peninsula earlier in the day, on the day of our arrival back to New Ross, but sea conditions have not been suitable since then to go in search of our annual visitors.

As the weeks passed and the storms continued, my concerns swiftly moved from the location of whales to the safety of Celtic Mist! It has been a challenging few weeks here in the not so sunny, ‘Sunny South East’, we have had some minor damage to the vessel including damaged ropes, paintwork, railings and torn sails but Celtic Mist has stood strong and proved she can handle the worst of weather!   We took the opportunity to service the engine and complete some required annual maintenance on Celtic Mist while she was marina bound.

Hopefully the worst of the weather is behind us and we can soon look forward to some calm seas, fair winds and sail in search of Cetaceans.  The large whales might have already left the Wexford/Waterford coastline by now but coming into Minke and Basking shark season, we look forward to setting sail once again.

We are currently working on the Celtic Mist schedule 2014, this will be confirmed over the next few weeks and provided to all members.

Preliminary schedule as follows:

We hope to provide IWDG members in the South East the opportunity of sailing in search of Cetaceans off Hook Lighthouse before the vessel leaves once again.  Celtic Mist will again be taken into dry dock in New Ross Boatyard to complete some required maintenance including touching up the paintwork and anti fouling.

In April we hope to sail Celtic Mist to Dublin to promote the work of IWDG by inviting guests to visit the vessel in port to learn about the work of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. We will also offer day trips off the Dublin coastline once again. In May we hope to sail to County Antrim and complete various research trips on the Northern coastline during June and July.  Celtic Mist will then return to the West to carry out bottlenose dolphin research along the Mayo and Galway coast, perhaps giving members the opportunity to observe our recently discovered offshore bottlenose dolphins if the weather permits.

Celtic Mist sails to New Ross at sunset  © John Burke

In September our MMO Officer Patrick Lyne and Education Officer Lucy Hunt will once again provide members with the opportunity to observe and study offshore Cetacean species in the Porcupine seabight during our 5 day trips.  Celtic Mist will then return to Kilrush, County Clare for bottlenose dolphin research in October. We will then offer day trips to members weather permitting along the Kerry and Cork coastline during October, November and December in search of large whales as she sails back towards County Wexford once again.

If you would like to get more involved with Celtic Mist and in particular help organise various different projects in your area, please do email me to celticmist@iwdg.ie

Once again we would like to thank all the voluntary skippers amongst our members, without whom, none of this would have been possible. Your time and knowledge is invaluable to us, I would like to thank in particular Karl Grabe, Jerome Lordan, Mick Byrne and Paddy Roche for their help with Celtic Mist during the storms ensuring she was safe at all times.

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