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Displaying items by tag: Aran Islands

#CLIFF DIVING - Russian cliff diver Artem Silchenko wowed the crowds on Inis Mor at the weekend, scoring big with a "breathtaking" new dive to take his second victory in a row in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

As the Irish Independent reports, 700 lucky spectators who won tickets to the limited-capacity event in the Aran Islands saw the 28-year-old steal the thunder from veteran diver Orlando Duque on a weekend that witnessed some spectacular 28-metre dives at Poll na Peist.

"My armstand with blind entry was brilliant and I beat by Orlando by just four points," Silchenko told Red Bull after his victory, which came just two weeks after he topped Duque to claim his first win of the series in the Azores.

"When I came to the platform after Orlando dived I saw nine and nine-and-a-halfs from the judges but I knew what I had to do for my final dive [a back triple triple].

"You know it’s a good dive only when you’re underwater. You’re travelling so fast it’s impossible to take it all in. Only after the entry can you say 'yes, it’s a great dive.'"

Silchenko had to pull out all the stops with Duque putting together his best set of dives all year. And the Colombian, whose programme included a back triple triple and his trademark reverse twister, says it bodes well for the rest of the season.

"This was probably the best competition I’ve done this year," said Duque. "It’s a challenge the way Artem is performing but I’m also doing better.

"This was my highest score of the season. If I can keep up this level then it’s going to be difficult for the others."

Nine-time world champion Duque retains the lead of the overall ranking going into the second half of the 2012 series, which next heads to Boston at the end of August.

Published in Island News

#RED BULL CLIFF DIVING - Red Bull will publicise the risks involved with cliff diving in an effort to avoid copycat attempts by the public after its event on Inis Mór next month, said a spokesperson.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series will make a stop in the Aran Islands on the weekend of 3-4 August, where the world's best cliff divers will converge for the season's halfway stage.

However, fears have been raised by the islands' GP after copycat attempts at a similar event in 2009 resulted in a number of serious injuries.

Video footage of that event posted on YouTube was blamed for inspiring untrained people to cliff dive with no safety or rescue personnel present. In one case this resulted in a "very serious" spinal injury, said Dr Marion Broderick.

Of particular concern is the location of the diving site at the Serpent’s Lair – ‘Poll na Peist’ in Irish – which is in an area with poor mobile phone reception, a situation compounded by the GP's lack of a handheld VHF radio.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#RNLI –  A surprise return visit to the Aran Islands was made recently by former Galway Bay RNLI lifeboat Frank Spiller Locke.  This restored Barnett class lifeboat was stationed at the Aran Islands from 1977 to 1985.  She was previously stationed at Weymouth on the south coast of England.  During her years of lifeboat service she was launched 396 times and saved 181 lives.

The lifeboat was funded through a legacy from Dr. Frank Spiller Locke.  RNLI records show that his widow Mrs E. F. Locke took a strong interest in the work of the lifeboat and her volunteer crew and asked for the returns of service for every callout to be sent to her until her death.

The vessel was built in Cowes during 1958 at a cost of £38,500. It was a Barnett class lifeboat, which was introduced into the RNLI in 1950. Twenty of these 52 ft lifeboats were built by the charity. The institution retired and sold this lifeboat in 1986 and she was rescued sometime later by Colin and Janet Sturmer who are from the Isles of Scilly. They dedicated ten years to restoring this boat to its original form.

aranlifeboatcrew

Pictured on the deck of the former Galway Bay lifeboat in yellow jackets are members of the current Aran Islands RNLI crew who also served on the Frank Spiller Locke lifeboat (L-R) Mairtin Fitz, Micheal O Goill, Johnny Mulkerrin, Enda Mullen.

"It was a lovely surprise to see this lifeboat in the Bay where she used to anchor in the 1980s" said Micheal Heron Aran Islands RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager.

The two lifeboats, retired and current were moored side by side so that past and present crew could look over it. Four of the current lifeboat crew who served on the Frank Spiller Locke, Mairtin Fitzpatrick, Michéal Ó Goill, Johnny Mulkerrin and Enda Mullen, were joined by retired crewmembers Paddy Mullen, Bartley Mullen (Coxswain/Mechanic), Jackie Gill and Tomas Kelly. Many local people also came for a look and remembered stories of times that they or their families needed this lifeboat

Commenting on the visit, serving crewmember Micheal Gill added "there are a lot of differences in the speed and technology of these older boats. She served the west coast well at a time when there were only three lifeboats from Donegal to South Kerry and no helicopters.

This boat is a valuable piece of our maritime heritage, which has been lovingly restored bye Colin and Janet. Hopefully it will visit the west coast again in the future."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#ISLAND NEWS - A 73-year-old man has died after a fall on a ferry in the Aran Islands at the weekend.

The Irish Times reports that the man, named locally as James McClean, sustained serious head injuries when he fell in a stairwell on the ferry, which was heading to dock at Kilronan Harbour on Inish Mór, on Sunday morning.

According to TheJournal.ie, the man is believed to have been working on the vessel Ceoil na Farraige at the time. He was airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard to Galway University Hospital in serious condition but later died as a result of his injuries.

Published in Island News

#FISHING - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has announced a "substantial delay" before it publishes the licence application for the controversial proposed deep-sea fish farm in the Aran Islands, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Though publication was originally planned for the beginning of this month, BIM says it will be another four to six weeks before it will be made available, following "meaningful and informative feedback" from the public during the most recent round of consultations on the project.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm would be located off Inis Oírr on a 500-hectare site in Galway Bay, and would be one of the largest of its kind in Europe, projected to be worth €103 million annually for the economy.

Approval of the project could see the creation of as many as 400 jobs.

But the scheme has faced opposition from local anglers who fear that the fish farm could have a detrimental effect on wild salmon numbers.

Noel Carr, secretary of the Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (FISTA), described the fish farm plans as his group's 'Alamo'.

Published in Fishing

#ARAN ISLANDS CRUISE CALL – Two vessels, a cruiseship and a lighthouse tender are today off Kilronan, the capital of Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The ships are the 114 passenger cruiseship Island Sky (1992/4,200grt) operated by Noble Caledonia which called this morning having originally departed in Portsmouth and the Commissioners of Irish Lights tender ILV Granuaile (2000/2,365grt) which is based in her homeport of Dun Laoghaire.

Kilronan will be a hive of activity, not just those passengers tendered ashore from the cruiseship but also tourists arriving by frequent ferry services from Rossaveal, Co. Galway and Doolin in Co. Clare. The majority of sightseers will no doubt be heading for the main attraction of Dun Aengus fort on the far side of the island which is reached by shuttle buses and the traditional pony and trap.

The Island Sky's sister the Caledonian Sky which too is operated by the same company made yesterday an anchorage call off Sneem Co. Kerry.  It is along the western seaboard that such smallships are attracting a niche market. In addition it is in these same waters is where ILV Granuaile is more often to be found working during the summer months as the weather is more favourable to carry out aids to navigation duties.

Unlike the cruiseship, the lighthouse tender does not actually anchor. Instead she can maintain a constant position using dynamic positioning (DP) which uses satellite technology to adjust the vessels manouvering systems to precise pin-point accuracy.

Published in Island News

#FISHING - Bord Iascaigh Mhára (BIM) has moved to allay fears that the proposed new fish farm in the Aran Islands would have a detrimental effect on wild salmon numbers, according to the Galway Independent.

BIM was reacting to concerns raised at a meeting of the Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (FISTA) held last Sunday, ahead of which the federation's secretary Noel Carr described the fish farm plans as its 'Alamo'.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, BIM launched the consultation process last December for its proposed deep-sea salmon farm in Galway Bay on a 500-hectare site north of Inis Óirr.

Approval of the project, which would be one of the largest of its kind in Europe, could see the creation of 350 direct and 150 indirect jobs.

Among his group's concerns, Noel Carr told the Galway Independent that salmon farms such as that proposed for Galway bay were finding wild fish out in the North Atlantic and “hoovering it up to make fish meal”.

But Donal Maguire, aquaculture development manager for BIM, said that argument was "not true", adding that "the world catch for fishmeal has been sustainable for about the last 35 years".

The Galway Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#ISLAND NEWS - Red Bull Cliff Diving will come to Ireland's west coast for the fourth stop of the 2012 World Series on 3-4 August.

The competition will see the world’s best cliff divers converge on the biggest of the three Aran Islands for the season’s halfway stage.

A ferry ride from Galway, Inis Mór is home to the Serpent’s Lair – ‘Poll na Peist’ in Irish – a natural formation that fishermen call a ‘blowhole’.

"What makes the Serpent’s Lair special," says Red Bull, "is that it’s a near-perfect rectangle, its inexplicable shape ensconced in Gaelic legend."

“The Serpent’s Lair is one of those places you only hear stories about,” said Colombian cliff diver Orlando Duque ahead of the first ever World Series in 2009. “Finding this place and being able to dive there was one of the highlights of my career."

Orlando’s hopes to return will surely be answered during the first weekend of August as he sets his sights on securing the 2012 title.

Other stops in this year's World Series include France on 22-23 June, Norway on 6-7 July, the Azores on 20-21 July, the USA on 24-25 August, the UK on 7-8 September and Oman on 27-28 September.

Published in Island News

#ISLAND NEWS - Writing in the Boston Globe recently, Cork native Thomas Breathnach extols the virtues of the Aran Islands as "a bastion of native culture".

"The country’s roughest seas and 1,000 miles of ancient stone walls have successfully preserved Celtic tradition within their spellbinding shores," he writes of those western isles referred to as "the stepping stones to the Atlantic".

Traversing the archipelago by foot, bicycle and plane, Breathnach sees the sights and greets the characters that make the Aran Islands such an attraction for tourists the world over.

The Boston Globe has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#FISHING - The licence application for a proposed new deep-sea fish farm in the Aran Islands is expected to be lodged in January.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Bord Iascaigh Mhara's (BIM) planned 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm off Inis Oírr would be the largest of its kind in Europe, and would create hundreds of jobs in the area.

Commenting on the plans, Galway West Senator Fidelma Healy Eames said it was "a major opportunity for Galway and would represent a very significant economic boost for our coastal communities."

She added: "Deep sea fish farming has proven to be very economically beneficial in countries such as Norway, Chile and Scotland. It is timely that Ireland would capitalise on our fantastic marine resources as these countries have."

According to Healy Eames, the project is expected to "meet all environmental standards and will be barely visible from 2km away and effectively not visible from land.

"It would take up a negligible amount of inshore fisheries ground in the bay (0.22%) and would not interfere with existing fishing routes or Galway Bay ferry routes."

Published in Fishing
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