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Displaying items by tag: National Geographic

#WestIslandsCruising - Two former Norwegian 'Hurtigruten' Coastal Express Voyage ships today visited the west coasts of Ireland and the UK, where passengers on board experienced totally contrasting scenery, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Anchored off the Dingle Peninula Co. Kerry this evening is National Geographic / Lindblad Expedition cruises small ship National Geographic Explorer (1982/6,471grt) which arrived from the Isles of Scilly.

The former Lyngen which took on other names since becoming a full-time cruise ship is understood to be calling next to the stunning Skelligs that pierce out of the Atlantic. 

Having boarded the 'Explorer' during an anchorage call off Inishmore, Aran Islands in 2008, the on board library been of National Geographic Magazine fame was not surprisingly well-stocked!

While making this ship visit, it was particularly noted how rebuilt the former Norwegian coastal cargo-car-carrying ferry/cruise ship had undergone conversion. The ship prior to then had served the routine Bergen-Kirkenes circuit.

The work involved a new extended aft gym structure on the top-deck. Also the fitting of a stability ducktail sponson at the stern which dipped up and down in the swell offshore of the island's Kilronan Harbour.

A Hurtigruten vessel that is currently in the fleet, Fram (2007/11.647grt) which unlike her counterparts is designed primarily as a polar expedition cruiseship was in nearby waters of the Natiional Geographic Explorer. As the 418 passenger vessel had anchored in Galway Bay off the city at the end of last month. 

As for the second former Hurtigruten ship, Serenissima (1960/2,598grt) which today visited the Scilly Isles, the low-lying archipelago off the Cornish coast. This former fjord fleetmate was the Harald Jarl that in her current role had anchored off St. Mary's the main island. It is also understood she is to be making a next port of call across the English Channel to St. Peter Port, Guernsey.

Serenissima was particularly smart (see photo) when within Dun Laoghaire Harbour in 2013 and year one after the revived cruise business began. She berthed at the Carlisle Pier while on the same day of Serenissima Cruises port call in stark contrast the giant Cunard flagship liner, Queen Mary 2 anchored on her maiden call off the south Dublin Bay harbour.

This evening Royal Princess which called to Cobh is underway. It will be the turn of the Princess Cruises 3,600 passenger caller as previously reported to make her maiden visit off Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the morning.

Published in Cruise Liners

#UCC – Irish research which led to the discovery of smoking vents on the mid Atlantic Ridge will feature in a National Geographic programme to be broadcast next Sunday, 28 October.

National Geographic has produced a five part series, The Alien Deep, which takes viewers into underwater worlds where no human has gone before.

The programme will be broadcast this Sunday 28th October at 6pm on National Geographic channel on Sky (channel 526) and also UPC (channel 215). The programme presenter is Dr Robert Ballard, famed explorer who found the Titanic at its final resting place.

The series takes viewers into an underwater world 3,000m deep, where, on the slopes of the Mid-Ocean ridges that divide the earth's tectonic plates, chimney- like formations spew black plumes of superheated water packed with chemicals, minerals and dissolved gases allowing life to thrive against the odds. The leader of the scientific team was Dr Andy Wheeler, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork who worked with scientists from the National University of Ireland Galway, Geological Survey of Ireland, the University of Southampton and the National Oceanography Centre in the UK. "It's great to see Ireland's expertise recognised on TV", says Dr Wheeler. "Discovering a new volcanic landscape three km below was a thrill."

The scientists were on board the Irish National Research Vessel, Celtic Explorer and used the Remotely Operated Vehicle Holland 1 for their explorations of the deep and was supported by the Marine Institute under the 2011 Ship-Time Programme of the National Development Plan.

The team named the previously uncharted field of hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the first to be explored north of the Azores, the Moytirra Vent Field. Moytirra is the name of a battlefield in Irish mythology, and appropriately means 'Plain of the Pillars'. Patrick Collins from the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway led Ireland's marine biological team on the surve

Published in Marine Science

#FORMER IRISH PRESIDENT ON CRUISE – Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson was a guest speaker on board the National Geographic Explorer during the first leg of a 14-day 'Exploring the British Isles and Irish Isles' cruise which departed the UK last week, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The theme of the lecture was about the perspective and context of 'modern' Ireland which formed part of the 'Global Perspective Programme' organised by the cruise operator Lindblad Expeditions.

Robinson who was also a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was also a guest speaker on the same vessel a year ago, where she shared her insights on what was then the recent historic visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland.

The 148 passenger cruiseship is today on the start of an itinerary of the western Scottish Isles, having passed yesterday evening the 2,000-foot Slieve League, the highest sea-cliffs in Europe. The 6,471 tonnes vessel departed Killybegs from where her guests travelled to Glencolumbkille.

In addition she had anchored earlier in the morning between Inishmurray Island and Grange, Co. Sligo. The 228-acre island which has a 6th century monastery was inhabited until abandoned in 1948.

Since the cruise began in Portsmouth the vessel has called to several locations and the Irish west coast to the Skelligs, Dingle Peninsula, Kilronan on Inishmore of the Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher.

It is to such destinations that are typically visited by Lindblad Expeditions in partnership with the National Geographic Society (NGS) which produces the renowned monthly magazine. At isolated and more inaccessible destinations passengers make shore excursions using Zodiac tenders.

In addition to hosting forums such as the Global Perspective Programme, the strategic alliance with NGS enables renowned experts from the society scientists, naturalists and photographers to accompany guests on visits to field sites that include those committed in sustainable geo-tourism.

National Geographic Explorer was built as Midnatsol in 1982 for Hurtigruten of the Norwegian Coastal Voyages. She is ice-strengthened and is the largest of the Lindblad fleet.

Several years ago the interiors were completely gutted-out in a Spanish dry-dock, resulting in an essentially different ship for her new role with many high-tech features and equipment incorporated. The most impressive being a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, which can dive 1,000 feet below the ice.

Published in Cruise Liners

#TITANIC - Next month's edition of National Geographic magazine features startling images with the first ever complete views of the wreck of the Titanic.

The large-scale panoramas were produced by combining "thousands of high-resolution images" of the wreck on the North Atlantic sea floor, according to the Guardian - which has a sample gallery of the Titanic as it is today HERE.

Published in Titanic
A new Irish-led marine research mission has set off to discover strange new lifeforms that inhabit the deepest parts of our oceans.
In collaboration with scientists from the UK’s National Oceanography Centre, the team sailed from Galway earlier this week bound for the Mid-Atlantic Ridge to investigate life at 3,000m below the surface of the sea.
Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) they will explore for the first time the 45o North MAR hydrothermal vent field, where vents spew mineral-rich seawater heated to boiling point in the earth’s crust. These are home to a rich variety of marine life that thrives in complete darkness on bacteria fed by chemicals.
Patrick Collins from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute will lead Ireland's marine biological team investigating this unique ecosystem, which could tell us not only about how life might have evolved on other planets, but may also be a rich source of new biochemical processes with valuable medical and industrial applications.
"There is potential here to put Ireland on the global map as a serious player in deep sea science," said Collins. "This is all the more timely with the exploitation of deep sea and hydrothermal vents for precious metals and rare earth minerals now a reality.”
The mission carries geochemists, marine biologists, marine geologists, marine geneticists and technicians from Ireland and the UK as well as a three-person TV crew from National Geographic.
They will spend 25 days at sea and will be posting a regular blog on scientistsatsea.blogspot.com

An Irish-led marine research mission has set off to discover strange new lifeforms that inhabit the deepest parts of our oceans.

In collaboration with scientists from the UK’s National Oceanography Centre, the team sailed from Galway earlier this week bound for the Mid-Atlantic Ridge to investigate life at 3,000m below the surface of the sea. 

Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) they will explore for the first time the 45o North MAR hydrothermal vent field, where vents spew mineral-rich seawater heated to boiling point in the earth’s crust. These are home to a rich variety of marine life that thrives in complete darkness on bacteria fed by chemicals.

Patrick Collins from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute will lead Ireland's marine biological team investigating this unique ecosystem, which could tell us not only about how life might have evolved on other planets, but may also be a rich source of new biochemical processes with valuable medical and industrial applications. 

"There is potential here to put Ireland on the global map as a serious player in deep sea science," said Collins. "This is all the more timely with the exploitation of deep sea and hydrothermal vents for precious metals and rare earth minerals now a reality.” 

The mission carries geochemists, marine biologists, marine geologists, marine geneticists and technicians from Ireland and the UK as well as a three-person TV crew from National Geographic. 

They will spend 25 days at sea and will be posting a regular blog on scientistsatsea.blogspot.com.

Published in Marine Science

Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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