The Spirit of Oysterhaven sail vessel takes on Coastwatch materials and Citizen Science activities.

Start of a long Journey: On Wednesday 28th Sept. international coordinator Karin Dubsky, Cork regional coordinator Bernie Connolly and a group of surveyors will meet Oliver Hart and crew on the Spirit of Oysterhaven sailing boat at 10 am. The morning programme includes a Coastwatch survey of the shore as training session, material hand over to the sailing vessel and a good bye. In Portugal the Spirit will be welcomed by GEOTA the Portuguese Coastwatch partners who work with schools and groups right down the Portuguese coast.

On 16 November 1994 the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) came into force, which established a new legal framework for the right of the sea. Two countries with largest sea to land ratio – Portugal and Ireland – are planning a special collaboration in anticipation of the event this year.

The sail training vessel ‘Spirit of Oysterhaven’ which has done citizen science initiatives with Coastwatch is taking materials on board this Wednesday before sailing south with the swallows from Kinsale in Ireland to Lisbon in Portugal, then down along the Algarve coast to Faro. In early November she sets sail again bound for the Portuguese island of Madeira and on south to reach the Selvagens Islands  around Nov 16th the UNCLOS signing day.  Jacques-Yves Cousteau once said he found the cleanest waters in the world around these islands which are still only inhabited by 2 wardens.

That same day which is Portuguese ‘Day of the Sea’  GEOTA is hosting an international Coastwatch coordinator meeting in Lisbon and hope to make contact via the boat’s ‘ Yellow Brick’  satellite tracker while she is at anchor off the remote island.

The boat owner Oliver Hart said: This presents a wonderful opportunity to combine a great sailing adventure with some practical citizen science, helping to draw attention to the wealth of marine resources that flourish around our coast and their vulnerability to litter and pollution.  With marine biologists among the crew they will be carrying out some scientific work on route including Coastwatch marine litter and ‘eyeonwater’ research to track water transparency, litter and micro litter as they progress south. Along the shores, the annual Coastwatch survey is in full swing in Ireland and will just be starting in Portugal.

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