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Sea Echoes: UCC joins Beaked Whale study

Very little is known about beaked whales as they are rarely encountered at sea and are shy around vessels. 

In fact, new species of beaked whales are still being discovered because of their rare appearance.

University College Cork, NUI Galway, the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy in Cork, the National Marine Institute, the Marine Conservation Research group and Washington State University combined in a study of beaked whale habitats using acoustic technology because they are more likely to be heard rather than seen.

The survey was carried out by the team of scientists on board the Institute’s research vessel, Celtic Voyager.

“We got more than we bargained for when we encountered four separate groups of breaching beaked whales within a couple of hours at the Rockall Trough. We think they were either Sowerby's or True's beaked whales, possibly both. They are incredibly difficult to positively identify at sea," said Dr Patricia Breen, NUI Galway, Chief Survey Scientist. 

“They undertake huge dives to great depths of up to 2,500 metres for an hour at a time. They feed mostly on squid but also deep-sea fish.” 

It seems could be at least four species of beaked whales in Irish waters - Cuvier's and Northern Bottlenose in addition to the two seen.

RUSHBROOKE ROWING SUCCESS 

Rushbrooke Rowing Club, Cobh, will host the Irish Coastal Rowing Championships next August, the first such coastal event under the auspices of Rowing Ireland. The inaugural meeting of the new Rowing Ireland Coastal Rowing Division in Portlaoise accepted the Club’s plan to use the National Rowing Centre at Iniscarra. The weekend of August 18/19 has been chosen.

REMEMBERING ASGARD

Sail Training Ireland is to hold a ‘Spirit of Asgard Reunion Voyage’ next year. From May 12 to 18 the voyage “will celebrate the spirit of Asgard II” which was the national sail training vessel. 

The intention is to bring 28 former ‘Asgardians’ on a six-day voyage around the Irish Sea on board the Tall Ship, Pelican.” 

A gala ball will also be held for former trainees, families, and friends. “The voyage will take place ten years after the sinking of Asgard,” STI says.  

BIG SUNDAY FOR SPIKE 

‘Sunday night in Vietnam’ will be an important evening for Spike Island in Emerald Bay where the Grand Final Gala Ceremony of the World Travel Awards will take place.

Spike is representing Europe, having already won the top European Travel Award in September.

OPENING AND CLOSING ARCTIC 

Donald Trump’s success in getting his Tax Bill through the US Senate concealed a provision threatening a protected area of the Arctic. It opens up the National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling. In the same week major fishing nations agreed to put a moratorium on commercial fishing in Arctic waters. Canada, the EU, China, Denmark/Greenland, Faroe Islands/Iceland, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Russia and the United States. Seems one part of the U.S. administration doesn’t agree with the policy of the other.

CAPE CLEAR MARINA 

Cape Clear Island’s long-awaited marina pontoon has been installed in North Harbour, a welcome marine tourism asset. The €200,000 project was carried out by Inland and Coastal Marina Systems Ltd.

 Email: tommacsweeneymarine@gmail.com  Tomorrow in ECHO SPORT - Sailing season nears end