Monday, January 31, 2011

RV Celtic Explorer - Newfoundland Mission DAY TWO

Date 30/01/2011 Time : 1800 hrs (UTC)

Position: 50 deg 05 N 16 deg 11 W  , Speed 12 Knots

1440 miles to go to St Johns    Wind 28 Knots SSW

Activities onboard today

Every one has settled into their watches and the Oceanographic team of Sheena Fennell and Aodhan Fitzgerald have completed 10 XBT/CTD deployments at this stage, the systems are giving very good data to 1830 metres water depth , the water depth where we are now over the abyssal plain is 4650 metres! The vessels ADCP is up and running and collecting good current data.

Sunset - by Conor Ryan

The bird numbers have decreased a lot as we make our way out into the Atlantic, Emily Wilson  the bird researcher is maintaining a 10 hour watch from dawn to sunset but bird sightings are few but none the less  the list of species sighted today includes Kittiwakes, northern Fulmars and a puffin. 

Striped Dolphins by Conor Ryan
Conor Ryan and Alessandro the whale watching team  have had numerous dolphin sightings (Striped Dolphins, Bottlenosed)  as well as  a mother fin whale and calf,  the sperm whales which they expected to be in the area have just began to appear in the signal from the towed hydrophone.

Lowlands Queen - by Conor Ryan
The Fisheries team from Marine Institute Newfoundland have been busy running the fisheries echo sounders and are seeing some interesting correlations between cetacean sightings / cetacean acoustic signals and occasional marks or shoals of pelagic fish on the echo sounders in an otherwise barren upper ocean.

Crows Nest View by Conor Ryan

 The ship's crew are also keeping quite busy assisting with the XBT deployments with the engineering staff organising the installation of numerous photographs of Marine Institute (Ireland) vessel  activities in the vessel  passageways as well as their day to day work  and the bridge officers are busy assessing the pretty grim weather forecasts  for the days ahead in the hope of navigating through as safely as possible .

The amateur navigator Aodhan Fitzgerald is also managing to brush up his celestial navigation  with assistance from the ships officers!


Aodhan Fitzgerald - Marine Institute

RV Celtic Explorer - Newfoundland Mission DAY ONE

29/1/11: Time 1910 utc, position 15 deg 28'N  8 deg 56'W   just south of Galley Head   Speed 14 knots

The vessel is now  making best speed towards St John's Newfoundland,  we are sailing in a North easterly breeze and are hoping to make good progress to the west over the next 24 hours  whilst the weather is in our favour  as we expect very strong headwinds  towards the middle of next week which will slow the vessels progress significantly .

Newfoundland fisheries expert Prof. George Rose and (left to right) Aodhan Fitzgerald, Ciaran O'Donnell and Robert Bunn (Marine Institute), Wade Hiscock and Cecil Bannister (Newfoundland) Dave Stokes and Sheena Fennell (Marine Institute) - Photo: Cushla Dromgool-Regan (Marine Institute)

We departed Cork at 1500 hrs after a very busy day of  getting the vessel fuelled and provisoned for the trip and loading lots of scientific equipment.  

Prof. George Rose is briefed by Ciaran O'Donnell
on the workings of the ship

Wade Hiscock and George Rose being briefed on the layout of the wet fish laboratory aboard RV Celtic Explorer by Robert Bunn of the Marine Instiute - Photo: Cushla Dromgool-Regan (Marine Institute)

Three of our fisheries science services team  David Stokes , Robert Bunn and Ciaran O'Donnell had a busy morning helping the Canadian scientists  get to grips with the wide array of fisheries research equipment aboard the vessel which will be required for the  overwintering Cod survey which Prof. George Rose will be leading once the vessel reaches Newfoundland.

Prof. George Rose - - Photo: Cushla Dromgool-Regan (Marine Institute)

The Bird and mammal research team of Emily Wilson from memorial University , Alessandro Pierini  and Conor Ryan from GMIT   who are conducting visual observations for Whales  and Dolphins from the crows nest during daylight , bird observations from the bridge and  24 hour a day acoustic monitoring using a ultra sensitive towed hydrophone have settled into their watch pattern already and have already spotted  a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins just outside Cork Harbour as well as numerous acoustic contacts using the towed hydrophone.

Marine mammal acoustic gear being loaded on board -
Photo: Cushla Dromgool-Regan (Marine Institute)

Sheena Fennell who is leading the Oceanograophic component of the survey is preparing and planning for the acusition of expendable Bathythermmograph data  (xbt) beginning   later tonight which basically are expendable temperature probes which when used every 20 miles of the journey will give a detailled picture of the  oceanographic structure of the Atlantic over the entire crossing .

Sheena Fennell checks oceanographic buoy system -
Photo: Cushla Dromgool-Regan (Marine Institute)

Prof. Rose  and his technician Wade Hiscock  are getting to grips with the vessels fisheries acoustic equipment and are very impressed with the quietness of the vessel!They hope to collect echosounder data for the entire transit.

The sea-going scientific team - Photo: Cushla Dromgool-Regan (Marine Institute)
Thats it for the moment , the crew and scientists are settling into watch patterns and hopefully everyone will have their sealegs by the time the heavy weather comes our way!

Passing Cobh on the way out to the Atlantic - Photo Conor Ryan

Blog by Aodhan Fitzgerald - Marine Institute

Friday, January 28, 2011

Welcome to Scientists@Sea

Ireland’s national research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager are set to lead Europe in 2011 with an all time record of 627 days at sea between the two ships, well above the average for equivalent European research vessels. Their work will range from fisheries surveys to underwater mapping and from climate studies to deepwater surveys with the remotely operated submarine vehicle ROV Holland 1.
R.V. Celtic Voyager

RV Celtic Explorer

They will also undertake training missions and carry out essential maintenance work on Ireland’s network of data buoys that, in parallel to their research function, supply the vital information on which weather and shipping forecasts are based.  Their increased activity reflects the growing imperative to understand and sustainably manage the economic potential of our offshore marine territories, an area over ten times that of Ireland itself.
We'll be following their progress on this blog. So . . . welcome aboard!