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Danú of Galway Adventurers Record Scientific Achievements in Greenland's Fjord System

3rd September 2022
Danú of Galway in Rodefjord, eastern Greenland
Danú of Galway in Rodefjord, eastern Greenland. See drone video below Credit: Paddy Griffin

You don’t want to run out of Marmite, butter or Guinness on board a yacht in a remote part of Greenland.

One piece of advice from a very elated Richard Darley, who sailed the 3,300 nautical mile trip by Danú of Galway to Greenland and back to the west coast with skipper Peter Owens.

A calm sea and a beautiful setting sun marked the yacht’s arrival at Parkmore pier on Thursday evening, with Kinvara musicians and many friends and family turning out to welcome the crew after a successful scientific, sailing and mountaineering expedition to the world’s largest and deepest fjord system in Greenland.

Among the welcoming party were Owens’ wife and accomplished sailor, Vera Quinlan, and the couple’s two children Ruairí and Lilian.

Peter Owens, his wife Vera Quinlan and two children, Lilian and Ruairí, along with family and friends celebrate the return of Danu at Parkmore Phone: Tony MaguirePeter Owens, his wife Vera Quinlan and two children, Lilian and Ruairí, along with family and friends celebrate the return of Danu at Parkmore Phone: Tony Maguire

The group of independent adventurers had recorded some new mountaineering achievements in the remote Scoresby Sound fjord system on Greenland’s eastern coast.

Kinvara musicians who play with Peter Owens, Danú of Galway skipper, welcoming the yacht at Parkmore pier Photo: Tony MaguireKinvara musicians who play with Peter Owens, Danú of Galway skipper, welcoming the yacht at Parkmore pier Photo: Tony Maguire

They also took daily sea and freshwater samples to assess the extent of microplastics spreading into Arctic waters and affecting marine life as part of a research project with Trinity College, Dublin’s Centre for the Environment.

“Mesmerising” was how Owens, a University of Galway scientist, described the experience in the remote Greenland fjord system.

He was speaking en route from the Aran island of Inis Mór where he and his crew spent Wednesday night.

Danú of Galway had left Kilrush, Co Clare, bound for Iceland and then Greenland, in late June with Owens, Darley and Paddy Griffin, also from Kinvara, on board.

They were joined on the Iceland-Greenland leg by Paul Murphy from Carran, Co Clare and Dublin mountaineer Sean Marnane.

The Scoresby Sound expedition aimed to be self-sufficient in the Arctic, with a strict policy of “leave no trace” on the environment.

Owens has paid tribute to his crew, family and friends for their support, and to the expedition sponsors - the Gino Watkins Arctic Club awards, the Ocean Cruising Club challenge grant and Mountaineering Ireland.

Wavelengths spoke to Owens, who had his violin out, and his fellow sailors, and to Vera Quinlan, who recalled how it was just over two years since the Owens-Quinlan family berthed Danú of Galway at Parkmore after their own Atlantic adventure.

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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