After a day of running around Killybegs getting our final medical certificates needed to go on the voyage, we were back on the ship and ready to set sail for the Norwegian Sea. Before setting sail, we took the tender, the Tom Crean, out for spin to get some shots of the ship from the water. It was a lovely day (I could have stayed out all day), but we ventured around the harbor, checked out a few things, and then were hoisted back into position on the ship.
The RV Celtic Explorer
The ship from the Tom Crean. (Thanks Pat for the lift)
A scenic area in Killybegs
We pulled away from the dock just after 1500 hours (3pm) with calm seas, light wind, and sunshine. As always, I was up on the bow as we steamed out of the harbor, past the lighthouse and along the Irish coastline. It was a beautiful voyage for the next few hours as we passed by sea cliffs and hidden beaches.
The lighthouse on the way out of Killybegs
The Cliffs of Slieve League (Sliabh Liag)
Now it is a three-day steam until we reach our first sampling area. Plenty of time to get acquainted with everyone and the ship…
In order to sail on an Irish research vessel, one must obtain training and certification in personal survival skills. We were unable to find an appropriate course in the US so we had to get the certification here in Ireland before departing on the expedition. We found ourselves at the Leisure Park in Westport, Ireland bright and early to take this one-day course. The course was quite interesting as we learned about all kinds of tools and skills for surviving an emergency at sea. We also watched footage of real sea disasters, not the best idea for the day before a sea voyage. Basically we learned about how easy it is to die in cold water but that it all comes down to the proper gear. Isn’t that the case for nearly everything? Your “window of opportunity” for survival is increased dramatically if you have the proper gear and know how to use it.
While the first part of the course was in the lecture hall, the second half of the day was in the pool. Yes, the pool. We donned our swimsuits and performed all the skills talked about in the morning. With our life jackets on, yes the uncomfortable orange ones, we paddled around in the pool and learned how to stay warm by huddling together, how to swim together and how to pile into a lifeboat with seven complete strangers. We became close quickly. Needless to say, it was an interesting afternoon but nice to know all of these skills.
With certifications in hand and a new knowledge of how difficult it is to get into a lifeboat in the calm water of a pool, we set off for Killybegs to meet the ship arriving just at sunset.
The RV Celtic Explorer at Sunset in Killybegs, Ireland