Cobh, Ireland

May 12, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer


At 6 a.m., National Geographic Explorer entered the outer harbor of Cobh and slowly cruised up the channel to dock right by the town. Cobh is famous for being the last place Titanic moored before she departed on her fateful journey. It is also the place where thousands of migrants boarded ships to find a better life in the United States, Australia, and Canada.

We disembarked and headed off to various locations including the Titanic museum and Cuskiny, a nature walk. On the walk, guests spotted birds including chaffinches, little grebes, brent geese, and moorhens. We heard several more species, such as the reed warbler. A bonus was seeing a peregrine falcon near the end of the tour. What really made the day special though was the weather! It was a beautiful spring day with lots of sun and almost no wind.

In the afternoon, we watched a hurling match. Hurling is an ancient sport played in Ireland and in several countries where Irish emigrated and brought it with them. Players have a stick or a “hurley” and try to get a baseball-sized ball through the goals of the other team by hitting it with the hurley or hand, rolling it, or briefly carrying it. It’s rather complex but is incredible to watch the skillful players.

After the match, we watched a live Irish music performance while enjoying a few pints. Most of us opted for a Guinness or Beamish, the locally brewed stout.

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About the Author

Peter Webster

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Born in Scotland, Peter became fascinated with nature and wildlife from a very young age. This early interest led to him earning a degree in conservation biology followed shortly after by an M.Sc in marine and fisheries ecology. He is currently studying for another M.Sc in digital mapping. After working as a commercial diver for several years Peter was offered the position of Field Diving Officer with the British Antarctic Survey in 2012. He then spent the next 16 months in the Antarctic, stationed at Rothera Research Station, on the peninsula where he managed the dive operations and a team of scientific divers working on a wide range of research on climate change, ocean acidification, and increased seabed disturbance by icebergs. As well as diving Peter also spent several months in the Antarctic deep field working in aircraft operations, depot laying, and meteorological work whilst living in tents in conditions below -30oC. 

About the Photographer

Clara Fuquen

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Despite her origins high up in the Andes mountains, Clara has built a career working beneath the surface of the world’s oceans. Being trained as a diver in the Colombian Navy, she began her archaeological career working on the 18th century Spanish shipwreck Conquistador. Working on various underwater and terrestrial archaeological sites in the following years, Clara completed an undergraduate degree in anthropology at the Colombian National University, followed by a Masters degree in Maritime Archaeology in the UK’s Southampton University. Her subsequent PhD research focused on traditional boatbuilding in the remote jungles of Colombia’s pacific coast.

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