Overview

  • 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.

The Vessel

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.

Survey
Schedule 2023

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.

2023 schedule

  • LEG 01 – Dublin to Waterford
    22 – 28 April
     
  • LEG 02 – Waterford to Cork
    29 April – 5 May
     
  • LEG 03 – Cork to Kinsale
    6 – 12 May
     
  • LEG 04 – Kinsale to Crosshaven
    13 – 19 May
  • LEG 05 – Cork to Baltimore
    10 – 16 June
  • LEG 06 – Baltimore to Baltimore
    17 – 23 June
  • LEG 07 – Baltimore to Bantry
    24 – 30 June
  • LEG 08 – Bantry to Dingle
    1 – 7 July
  • LEG 09 – Dingle to Dingle
    8 – 14 July
  • LEG 10 – Kilrush to Fenit
    5 – 11 August
  • LEG 11 – Fenit to Dingle
    12 – 18 August
  • LEG 12 – Dingle to Dingle
    19 – 25 August
  • LEG 13 – Dingle to Kilrush
    9 – 5 September

If you are interested to take part in one of these surveys please contact celticmist@iwdg.ie for more.

NEWS

Volunteering
Opportunities

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 fiacc.obrolchain@iwdg.ie if interested.

You can see more about this year’s volunteer call here.

  • Photo Credit: Marcus Hogan

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