Celtic Mist sets sail to Iceland for its longest sea voyage ever !

24th May 2018

Celtic  Mist, formerly owned by Charles J. Haughey and now a research vessel owned by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, sets sail today to Iceland. Leaving Poolbeg Yacht Club in Dublin first thing this morning to catch the ebbing tide, skipper Liam Quinn, from Wicklow says “we are excited and slightly apprehensive, it’s a long journey, but we have carried out a huge amount of work on her this winter while berthed in Grand Canal Dock and we are confident of a fair wind and tight sails for the passage

It will take 7-8 days to cover the 850 nmls (1500km) journey to Reykjavik in Iceland.  The total expedition, which will finish in Lough Swilly, Co Donegal on 13 July, will cover around 4000km, certainly the longest journey Celtic Mist will ever have undertaken. The crew of eight includes Mate Paul O'Neill from Kildare, Seamus MacGearialt, Irene Reidy, Annette Morissey and Jane Holland all from Dublin, Emmett Johnston from Co Donegal and  filmmaker Tony Whelan who will document the whole expedition and prepare vlogs (video blogs) for posting on social media to share the experience.

 Celtic Mist in Grand Canal Docks at Expedition launch on Sunday 

Over the past 15 years the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have matched the same individual humpback whales between Ireland and Iceland, through a technique called photo-identification, where unique markings on the underside of the whale’s tail fluke are used as a “thumb print”. By sharing images from Ireland with colleagues in Iceland we have shown that the same individual whales use both Irish and Icelandic waters to feed, often in the same year. IWDG Sightings Officer Pádraig Whooley, who manages the Irish Humpback Whale Photo-id catalogue on behalf of the IWDG said “it has been slow progress to gather enough images from Ireland to attempt to match these whales to other areas. It’s exciting to be able to visit colleagues in Iceland but also to see where whales from Ireland also travel to”. Humpback whales are increasingly becoming a very important part of Ireland’s booming whalewatching industry, as their regular presence off the south and southwest coast supports boat-based marine tourism.

The IWDG’s research vessel, Celtic Mist, will spend a month exploring Icelandic waters, aiming to locate humpback and other whale species to obtain more photo-identification images.  The IWDG will work in collaboration with the Icelandic Marine and Freshwater Research Institute and with colleagues from the University of Iceland.  The IWDG will also provide Celtic Mist as a research platform for Icelandic scientists to build links and share experiences. During the expedition, the IWDG will visit coastal communities to promote links between our two island nations and remind the Icelandic people we share a responsibility for humpback whale conservation and management.

This research expedition is being sponsored by Wicklow based Inis, the Energy of the Sea, who are proud sponsors of the IWDG since 2001. Inis each year provide essential core funding support to IWDG, as well as sponsoring this humpback whale expedition.

IWDG Chief Scientist Dr Simon Berrow says “when these whales are in Irish waters we call them Irish, when they are in Iceland they are Icelandic ! we still don’t know where they breed but we are learning about other feeding grounds and we need to build a strong relationship with Iceland to ensure that we all look after these amazing whales throughout their annual migration”.  

Iceland still hunts whales for food and export so it is important to remind both residents and visitors to Iceland that whale populations are highly migratory and do not belong to any one nation, but to us all. 

You can track the progress of Celtic mist on https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:290781/mmsi:250002411/vessel:CELTIC%20MIST

Follow the expedition on http://iwdg.ie/iceland2018/

 

For further information, please contact:  Sandy Clements, Digital Marketing Manager, Inis the Energy of the Sea ‐ Fragrances of Ireland  sandy@inisfragrance.com   +353 1 286 7125 –  888‐543‐6320.

IWDG Skipper Liam Quinn 086 3323328

Dr Simon Berrow, IWDG Chief Scientist 086 8545450

 

Notes to Editor:   

About Inis the Energy of the Sea – Fragrances of Ireland

 Inis the Energy of the Sea is the unisex signature fragrance collection from the boutique perfumery, Fragrances of Ireland. Inspired by the beauty and energy of the wild western coast of Ireland, Inis means  ‘island’ in Irish. Family owned and operated since 1983, InisFragrances of Ireland is devoted to the independent market.  

In support of local businesses, it is our privilege to partner with unique shops and small enterprises around the world. See www.seathebeauty.net

 

About the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group: 

Founded in 1990, the IWDG is a registered charity, dedicated to the conservation and better understanding of whales, dolphins and porpoises. For nearly three decades, the IWDG has studied cetaceans in Irish waters, contributing scientific data and interpretation to conservation efforts.   See www.iwdg.ie