Friday, 24 February 2012

COTF3 Day 1: Departure from Cork City to Labadie Bank

We are well underway now :) 

The R.V. Celtic Explorer disembarked from Horgan's Quay at 16:00 hours and made the trip down to Cork Harbour. Once in Cobh the crew launched the IWDG rib for a test run. We are now steaming SW to Labadie Bank where we will be deploying 2 C-Pods for acoustic detections of bottlenose dolphins

The first mammal sighting of the day was of a few curious grey seals just coming into Cork Harbour. The journey to Cobh kept the bird team quite occupied with sightings of kestrels, black guillemots, gannets, kittiwakes, 2 Mediterranean gulls, 27 great crested grebes, black and bar tailed godwits. There was even a unusual sighting of a first winter ringed-billed gull spotted passing close by the bow of the ship near Cobh. These birds breed in North America and are a scarce but regular visitor to Irish shores. 

We have also had a couple cetacean sightings with the first being 5 bottlenose dolphins - one of which was a juvenile, who came and enjoyed a brief bow ride just before dinner. These dolphins are most likely part of the resident pod here in Cork. A single common dolphin was spotted just after sunset and enjoyed some quality time with the wake being created by the stern propellers a few kilometers off the coast. 

The last cetacean sightings tonight were 3 common dolphins chasing the aft light of the ship surfing the waves on a clear starry night. Our location at 22:30 hours is + 20 nautical miles offshore. 

Here are some of today's pics:

The IWDG RIB being loaded onto the R.V. Celtic Explorer Thursday evening (c) Conor Ryan

Students, scientists and crew undertaking a safety drill (c) Conor Ryan

R.V. Celtic Explorer as seen from the IWDG RIB during it's test run in Cork Harbour (c) Conor Ryan

R.V. Celtic Voyager on it's journey into Cork Harbour for another expedition starting tomorrow (c) Conor Ryan

R.V. Celtic Explorer in dock at Cork Harbour pre-departure (c) Teresa Martin

Passing by Cobh on our way out to the Atlantic Ocean (c) Teresa Martin

** Check back tomorrow for position updates and expedition highlights. **

Today's blog contributor: Teresa Martin (Marine Mammal Observer)

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