Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Northward Bound - Cobh

I haven't blogged for a while - sorry.

I wanted to fit Willawaw with some solar panels to help charge the batteries when the boat is left unattended, so ironically, I left her at a boatyard for safe keeping and got a short contract at sea, to earn some money.

It came to pass that I was soon winging my way to Cork in Ireland to join an offshore oil supply vessel, which was bound for the Arctic Circle.

A U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that some 50 billion barrels of oil may be found offshore of Greenland.

The portion of the Labrador Current flowing through Davis Strait off western Greenland is known as “iceberg alley” because huge chunks of ice that calve from the northern glaciers make their way into the northern Atlantic along this route.

Ironically, global warming, which has melted some of the Arctic glaciers, has made offshore drilling in these waters more feasible.

My ship was due to work on the coast of Greenland, to further this end.

It was a further irony that our sojourn into the icebergs should start from the last port of call of the RMS Titanic - Cobh (or Queenstown as it was known in 1912).

This pier could well be the last earthly point that her passengers touched.

There is also a rather gloomy memorial to those lost on the Lusitania when she was torpedoed in 1915 by a German U-Boat off Kinsale Head with the loss of nearly 1200 people.

Its not that Cobh is a sad place - quite the opposite and Kellys Bar on the waterfront at Cobh went a long way to make up for it, with copious amounts of Guinness, Smithwicks and Jamiesons chasers being consumed prior to sailing for Greenland.

Obviously, too much was drunk as I could have sworn that the local Garda police station looked like an aircraft carrier.

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