- Help collect important data on the whales, dolphins, and porpoises in Irish waters
- Learn marine mammal identification and surveying techniques
- Assist the crew in all aspects on the trip
- Explore Ireland’s beautiful and unique coastline
- Experience an unforgettable sailing experience like no other in Ireland
- No previous experience required you just need to become a member
Celtic Mist is used to train its members how to survey and record cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) in Irish waters. As an IWDG member, you become a partial owner of Celtic Mist, and at €600 for a week-long survey, we hope you take full advantage of what she has to offer! Anyone can become a member and join us on board for a unique and unforgettable experience.
There are at least 26 cetacean species present in Irish waters, from the harbour porpoise to the largest animal on the planet, the blue whale. That’s over a quarter of the world’s species of cetaceans. Some species are migratory, like humpback and fin whales off the southwest and south coast, while others are resident year-round. We have such a diverse number of species due to the myriad of marine habitats that occurs in our waters. From sheltered bays and the shallow waters of the continental shelf to deep complex canyon systems and abyssal plains, Irish waters are one of the most important places in Europe for cetaceans.
Celtic Mist was donated to the IWDG in 2011, by the family of Ireland’s former Taoiseach, Charles J. Haughey. At 17m, Celtic Mist has become IWDG’s flagship vessel, equipped to accommodate eight people. Celtic Mist has surveyed Irish inshore and offshore waters since 2012, successfully circum-navigating Ireland on several occasions, including in 2022. Blue whales were seen on her first offshore survey, and she successfully undertook an expedition to Iceland in search of humpback whales in 2018. Coastal communities are visited during the summer months with members of the public encouraged to visit the yacht to learn about Ireland’s rich marine life while promoting marine conservation. In May 2019 the education programme Floating Classroom begun where pupils undertake unique ocean educational activities and learn about marine mammal surveying both in the classroom and onboard the vessel.
This year Celtic Mist will travel from Dublin to Kilrush, with a variety of surveys on offer. During the surveys members will help the onboard marine biologists to survey the waters along the south and west coastline, looking out for and recording marine life. The survey route will concentrate on candidate Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as identified by IWDG and Fair Seas, where we will be collecting crucial data on the cetaceans we encounter.
Celtic Mist has undergone two extensive refits since she became an IWDG vessel. These refits were necessary to prepare her for work in Irish waters when she was originally donated to the group in 2011 and to be ready to sail to Iceland in 2018. Both refits would not have been possible without the voluntary effort of IWDG members.
Maintenance is carried out each winter to ensure that Celtic Mist is seaworthy for her summer sailing schedule. This year they have typically taken place on Thursdays and Saturdays at the Grand Canal Basin in Dublin.
If you wish to help with her winter refit in whatever way you can we would love to hear from you. Maintenance jobs vary greatly from chipping rust to sanding or painting among others. Please get in touch with Fiacc O’Brolchain at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
You can see more about this year’s volunteer call here.
Charlie Haughey’s old yacht ‘Celtic Mist’ in Dublin for winter refit
IWDG Humpback Whale Expedition – Ireland to Iceland 2018 : Call for volunteers
Humpback Whale Expedition vessel Celtic Mist off the south coast of Iceland
Endangered White-beaked Dolphins filmed in Faxa Bay, Iceland