LÉ Niamh

Built in Appledore Shipyards for the Naval Service. She is an updated version of her sister ship LÉ Róisín, and designed for optimized patrol performance in Irish waters (which are among the roughest in the world), year round.

Current Mission:

  • MIAMI 1-5 JULY
3rd May 2010

Hello everyone, my name is Lt Cdr Kenneth Minehane and I am the Commanding Officer of LE NIAMH. The day has finally come and we have departed Cork Hbr on our epic voyage to South America. The crew are very excited about the trip and hope that you will follow us for the next 11 weeks on our voyage. We are currently 20 ... See Moremiles South of Cork Hbr heading for the Canaries and the wind is from the North at 15kts. The sea is calm and it is a beautiful day to start our deployment. Over the next couple of weeks I will introduce the crew to you and give you an account of our progression. I will also give you an idea of what we get up to each day onboard. We will attach photos for you to to look at. Tomorrow I will give you a run down on the ship but for today we must get the ship settled into the sea routine. The crew are obviously delighted as some of them have just passed the office singing with joy, good to hear (voice not great but the excitement is excellent). Please spread the word about this page to your friends as we would like to have as many peole as possible follow us. There are 107 fans at the moment but I would like to have that increase into the thousands. This mission is three fold, Economic, Cultural and Humanitarian. We will be putting our best foot forward to represent Ireland in the celebrations of Independance and encouraging South American companies to do business with Irish companies. We have raised almost $3000 to help the poor in Brazil, Argentina and Chile and I would like to thank the Naval Association, Bantry Bay Hbr Commissioners and Eiranova Fisheries for donating those funds. I will keep you updated on how that money is used. Thanks for following our page and look forward to talking to you all tomorrow. Photos will go up shortly. May 3 at 3:20am

Heading South to Tenerife

Fire fighting Exercise

Rope Work
Captain Journal Tues 5th May 2010
Position 36° 50N 013° 50W wind is NNE 15kts

Hello everyone, thank you for making the change to this group page and please continue to follow our progress. Tell your friends. The next member of the crew I would like to introduce is A/Supply Carlene Deehan. She is 22yrs old and is from Waterford. She has been on the Navy for 3 years. Carlene works in the Logistics Department and operates mainly in the galley and the wardroom. She makes sure that the ship is correctly supplied with food and other items that the crew need for spending prolonged periods of time at sea. Carlene is also trained in the use of firearms and is the General Purpose Machine Gun operator during Action Stations. A/Supply Deehan’s hobbies include badminton, tennis and socialising. She also likes to travel and is very excited about this deployment.

Yesterday the weather deteriorated slightly. It was a Force 6 from the NE but was nothing that we hardened sailors couldn’t handle. The day was spent carrying out maintenance and exercises. On Monday we had an abandon ship exercise, always the first day of every patrol and yesterday we had a Damage Control and Fire Fighting exercise (picture attached). We are all trained fire fighters and have to practice regularly to maintain standards. As you can appreciate it is not like we can call the fire brigade if we have a fire onboard. The crew have settled down nicely and starting to find a routine. The Executive Officer Lt Dave Fleming had a head of department meeting to discuss the programme for the coming weeks ahead. We are just waiting for some good weather so that we can do some painting on deck. The gym is getting good use and is a fantastic facility to have onboard ship. As I finish this email to send to Dublin it is 0830hrs on the 5th and it is a lovely day. The sea has calmed and the sun is just breaking through the clouds. The crew are looking forward to arriving in Tenerife tomorrow. We will only be there to get fuel. It should take about 6 hrs and then we depart for Rio.

Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Minehane Captain of L.E. Niamh

The position of L.E. Niamh on 6th May
Captain’s Journal Fri 7th May 2010

Position 24° 58N 019° 20W, Wind NNE 16kts, Temperature 20°C Cloudy Sky.

The crew member I would like to introduce to you this morning is S/Lt Lynne Donnelly (picture attached) from Dublin. Lynne is an Officer Under Training (OUT) and is due to complete her studies and examinations early next year. She is studying to be an Engineering Officer. Once Lynne is qualified she would be responsible for all the machinery onboard the ship she will be assigned to. S/Lt Donnelly is 26 years old and has been in the NS since Sept 2004. I would like to congratulate Lynne on her recent engagement to Richard Lynch. Richard popped the question the week before we commenced this deployment. The first 3 months of their engagement will not afford much opportunity for celebration. I would like to wish Lynne and Richard all the best for the future.

Yesterday we arrived in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. It was a wonderful sight early yesterday morning to see the Island towering up from the sea as we approached from the Northeast. The mountains on the north side of the island are really impressive. As we picked up the pilot the sun began to shine and it was a beautifully sunny day. We needed to call there for only six hours in order to top up with fuel. The next leg of our journey is 9 days long and in order to have enough fuel to get there we need to be full to maximum capacity. We will have some fuel remaining when we get to Rio de Janeiro but not an awful lot. As the fuelling operation took 4hrs, some of the crew got to go ashore to pick up some essentials such as deck chairs and sun loungers. I think the beautiful day that today turned out to be has encouraged the crew to start working on their suntan during their time off. The passage into and out of Santa Cruz was straight forward. The pilot enjoyed his cup of coffee and he left us to it, which is the way I like it. The complete operation in the port went very smoothly and departure was on time at 1600hrs.

Captain Journal Sat 8th May 2010

Position 20° 22N 023° 30W, Wind NNE 18kts, Temperature 22°C Partially Cloudy Sky.

The crew member I would like to introduce to you this morning is A/Commop Stephen Morrissey from Waterford. Stephen is 24years old and has been in the Naval Service for 5years. He works as a Communication Operator onboard. This involves communicating with the Naval Base and other Naval Ships while the ship is at sea. Stephen is also trained in Morse code and flag signals. His hobbies are soccer and socialising.
Yesterday the temperature started to rise but it was still very overcast. The dry weather gave the Bosun and the seamen a chance to get some painting done on deck. We have to make sure the ship is looking her absolute best for our arrival into Rio de Janeiro on the 16th May. The lookout on the bridge saw some flying fish yesterday. The Officer of the Watch (OOW) also got some shock when two birds flew in the bridge door and out the other door at different times. In the afternoon there was circuit training on the flag deck, the crew found it more difficult this time with the increase in temperature and the Physical Training Leader (PTL) didn’t go easy on them.

Our PO/Cook is an accomplished rifleman and brought his shotgun (with my permission) and his clay pigeon sling along on the trip. The crew under the supervision of the Executive Officer and the PO/Cook had a little competition to see who could hit the most clays. The result was puzzling! The one person onboard who does not fire a weapon every year won the competition, the Medic. We put him back to his normal job afterwards as he carried out some after hour’s instruction in CPR on the QM’s deck at 2000hrs. Will make the Cape Verde islands later today but unfortunately we won’t be close enough to take any photos. Hopefully we will get some phone coverage.

PO/ERA Alan Hamilton (Petty Officer, Engine Room Artificer). Alan has served 21 years in the Naval Service. He was born and raised in Cobh. His family have a strong tradition of service in the NS. The combined service of his Father, Uncle, Brother and Sister is approximately 132 years. Alan works in the Engineering Branch and stands a watch in the Engine Control Room (ECR) while the ship is at sea maintaining the engines. Alan has also deployed to the USA and Baltic Sea with the LE Niamh.

Captain Journal Sun 9th May 2010

Position 14° 19N 026° 54W. Wind NE 12kts. Temperature 24°C (0800hrs). Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 26°C.

I will not be introducing any of the crew today as it is a rest day onboard but I will pick it up again tomorrow.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. The sun came out from behind the clouds at around 0930 and it got really hot. The crew worked until 1230 and after lunch they got to spend some time training, reading or just plain sun worshiping. Factor 50 was in big demand and it was definitely required. In the evening we had a barbeque on the flagdeck. We have a gas barbeque and the cooks do a great job providing food for everyone, especially in this heat. The temperature was 28°C in the shade. Don’t get me wrong we are not complaining about the temperature, I am merely informing you. The only one complaining is the Engineer because it is difficult to keep the fridges and freezers going in this type of water temperature. They use seawater to help keep the temperatures down.

We came close to the Cape Verde Islands from 9pm to 11pm yesterday evening. It was too dark for photos so sorry about that. They were imposing looking Islands rising straight up out of the sea to a height of 2000metres on the Western side. Some people managed to get mobile phone coverage but not everyone. I think if you were using an O instead of a V you got lucky. As it was such a nice evening the Officer of the Watch took the opportunity to take some star sights at civil twilight (yes we can still navigate by using the stars). The day was rounded off with a movie on the flagdeck.

We are currently 2420 nautical miles from Rio de Janeiro and 2400 nautical miles from our fair old Port of Cork. The distances really put things into perspective I think.

Captain Journal Mon 10th May 2010

Position 08° 25N 0° 54W. Wind NNE 14kts. Temperature 27°C (0800Zhrs). Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 26°C.

As you can see from the photo today the crew member I would like you to meet is PO/RRT (Radar Radio Technician) Stephen Brannigan. Stephen is from Dublin and has been in the Naval Service for 16 years. Stephen is the person we call when ever there is a technical problem with any of the electronic equipment onboard. He maintains the equipment and makes sure everything is working correctly, particularly on the bridge. His hobbies include golf and keeping fit.

Yesterday was a quiet day onboard. The crew had a day off except for those who were on watch and of course the cooks. There was circuit training on the flagdeck for anyone who was brave enough to battle through the heat. Plenty water was required but everyone got through it without a problem. We hadn’t seen another ship since leaving Tenerife but yesterday we came close to a fishing vessel. It was not like any fishing vessel I have seen before. I called them on VHF to say hello and ask what type of fishing operation they were conducting but there was no response, now there’s a surprise!
There was more clay pigeon shooting yesterday evening and a card drive in the ratings mess in aid of the ships charity. Some of the pictures you see over the next couple of days may have crewmembers with facial hair. The crew have been excused shaving until the day before we arrive into Rio de Janeiro. This is a tradition on long voyages like this and again crewmembers who participate must contribute to the ships charity. As the ship is twinned with Limerick, the ships charity is Children’s Ward and Special Care Baby Unit St Munchin’s Hospital, Limerick. We put back our clocks last night so as I write this it is 0800Z onboard LE NIAMH and 0900A at home.

Captain’s Weekly Journal Tues 11th May 2010

Position 01° 39N 031° 18W. Wind NE 16kts. Temperature 26°C (0800Zhrs). Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 30°C.

Hello friends, we are one week out now and things are going well. The wind was a favourable NE for the voyage from Cork to Tenerife so the ship was comfortable. It was with great pride that we set sail from Cork. It felt as though are following in the footsteps of some of our great Irish Maritime Explorers such as Shackleton and Crean. We got into Santa Cruz, Tenerife on Thursday morning at 1030hrs and immediately set about fuelling the ship. Fuel was the only reason for this stop so a short run ashore for some of the crew and we were gone again at 1600hrs. Since leaving Tenerife traffic has been very light with only one other vessel observed in three days. We passed close to the Cape Verde Islands. They were magnificent Islands rising 2000m straight up from the sea on the Western side. We are now over half way between Cork and Rio de Janeiro. We should be arriving into Rio on Saturday afternoon next. The winds are still favouring our progress and we are making good time.

The crew are all well. Everyone is busy working and getting some physical exercise during the day and there is plenty to keep them occupied in the evenings. A finer crew you will not find and to Command them is a great honour for me.

We will be crossing the Equator today and there will be the usual ceremony for those who have not crossed before. This is my first time crossing so I am expecting that there will be lots of fun and games. Thanks for following the page and I will keep you posted as we progress.

Captain’s Weekly Journal Wed 12th May 2010

Position 04° 29S 033° 02W. Wind E 23kts. Temperature 27°C (0800Nhrs). Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 29°C.

LE NIAMH crossed the Equator yesterday. There were 8 crewmembers that had crossed already so they officiated over the proceedings. The ship was boarded by Neptune, Roman God of the Seas. In this case it was A/Ck Fitzgerald dressed in a fine Arabian costume. Neptune was accompanied by his beautiful wife or in this case PO Dunne. Tests were carried out on the crew before we were allowed to cross the Equator but everyone was successful and LE NIAMH crossed without incident.

The Coxswain, CPO (Chief Petty Officer) Joe Hickey has been in the Naval Service for 39 years and this was his first time crossing the equator. Joe is due to retire at the end of the year and it was great that he was able to cross before his last days in the Service. Well done Coxswain.

Captain’s Weekly Journal Thurs 13th May 2010

Position 04° 29S 033° 02W. Wind E 23kts. Temperature 27°C (0800Nhrs). Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 29°C.

On Tuesday, as we were crossing the Equator the ship was officially in the Doldrums! I’m not talking about the mood onboard, where morale is remarkably high, but the geographical position of the ship. The Doldrums is a band of Latitude at the equator synonymous with light or variable winds known in text books as the inter-tropical convergence zone. It is caused by low pressure at the equator due to the heat making the air rise and travel north and south high in the atmosphere. It descends again at the horse latitudes and then returns to the equator becoming the trade winds. They are called Trade Winds because in the days of sail they powered large ships across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

For us the Doldrums are a guarantee of fine weather and flat seas which allows us to keep our speed up, reducing our wave drag and decreasing our fuel consumption but to the sailing ships, the doldrums where an entirely different prospect. If you can imagine a large four-masted tea clipper trying to make it back to Europe with its precious cargo stuck for day’s maybe even weeks with no wind. You can see how the name became part of a phrase meaning depressed or fed up! The most experienced Masters would be able to scan the calm sea looking for a ripple that would signify wind. The more successful ones where highly prized by the shipping companies.

Captain’s Weekly Journal Fri 14th May 2010

Position 016° 30S 037° 34W. Wind NE 10kts. Temperature 27°C (0800Ohrs). Cloud Cover 40%. Seawater temperature 28°C.

As we sail along the East coast of Brazil, I can’t but be amazed by it’s size. We have been steaming now for 2 days along its coast and haven’t even covered a quarter of the countries Eastern seaboard. I thought a few facts about Brazil might be of interest. Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in South America and the only Portuguese speaking country in the Americas. It is both the world's fifth largest country by geographical area and by population. Brazil has a coastline of over 7,491 kilometers. Numerous archipelagoes form part of the Brazilian Territory such as Fernando de Noronha which LE NIAMH past close to on Thursday morning. The most famous of Brazil’s features must be the Amazon with the Amazon Rain Forest covering 8,235,430 square kilometers. The Amazon River is the second longest in the world and spans a distance of approximately 6,400km.

Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the landing of Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500 until it gained its independence in 1822. The country has been a republic since 1889. Brazils Constitution defines it as a Federal Republic made up of 26 States and 5,564 Municipalities. Economically, Brazil is rated as being the eighth largest economy by nominal GDP. Recent economic reforms have given the country new international recognition. It is a founding member of the UN, G20 and the Union of South American Nations.

The crew of LE NIAMH are looking forward to helping the restoration project in the Sao Goncalo School, Rio de Janeiro on Monday. Even though Brazil is a wealthy country there are many abandoned children and this school provides hope them.

Captain’s Weekly Journal Sat 15th May 2010

Position 022° 58S 041° 39W. Wind . Temperature 22°C (0800P). Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 24°C.

Today we arrive into Rio de Janeiro, the ‘January River’ also known as the “Marvelous City”. Rio has a population of over 11million people and is a major tourist destination.

The night before arrival into port on a deployment such as this is always a nervous one for the Commanding Officer. I would compare it to how a manager of a football or hurling team feels the night before a big final. The plans that have been made and all the preparations go round in your head. Is everything ready? Have we forgotten anything? Does the programme reflect everything that must be done over the next four days? These were just some of the questions continuously going around inside my head last night. These questions were easily answered, I know we are ready!

One of the other things that occupy a Captain’s mind before arriving into port is the port itself. What will the berth be like? Is it a difficult berth to manoeuvre into? Approximately one hour before going alongside we will be picking up a port pilot. The pilot will have a wealth of local knowledge and can advise me about local currents, tides and traffic in the harbour but ultimately I am responsible for the safe arrival of LE NIAMH into the port of Rio de Janeiro. I have the utmost confidence in the crew. I know that they will assist me in making the arrival of LE NIAMH into Rio a safe and smooth evolution.

Niamh's Position on the 15th May 2010
Captains Log Sunday 16th May 2010

Alongside Rio de Janeiro. Wind light and variable. Temperature 28°C Blue Sky. Seawater temperature 24°C.

On Saturday we finally arrived into Rio. The view as we sailed into the Harbour was incredible. Christ the Redeemer was prominent, looking down over the city. The Staff of the Irish Embassy and Officers from the Brazilian Navy met the ship on arrival. Plans were finalised and the ship was made ready for hosting the Official Reception yesterday. An Official Reception is hosted in each port we visit and they are used as opportunities for the Embassy Staff to make new connections with prominent people from the Political and Business community of each city…. A life less ordinary.

Captain’s Journal Monday 17th May 2010

Alongside Rio de Janeiro. Wind Light and Variable. Temperature 25°C Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 26°C.

We have now entered week three of our voyage and things are going very well. The ship hosted an Official Reception yesterday for local Political Representatives, Businessmen and some of the Irish Community in Rio. The reception was a great success and gave the Irish Embassy Staff an excellent opportunity to make contacts in this region.

Members of the crew are away from the ship today helping with construction work in a Homeless Child Project in Sao Goncalo. The Irish Embassy sponsor this project and the crew are assisting in the effort to get the building finished. When the building is completed it will be called “Casa Irlanda”. The crew are getting a very warm welcome from the people of Rio de Janeiro. All crew members will get some time off to go and see the local sites such as the Sugar Loaf and Christ the King Monument

Captain’s Journal Tues 18th May 2010
Alongside Rio de Janeiro. Wind Light and Variable. Temperature 26°C Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 26°C.

Yesterday was a very busy day for the crew. Twenty crewmembers went to the Homeless Child Project and helped out for the day. They worked extremely hard and achieved much for the project. Working in the heat was difficult and was very physical but the sense of pride the crew felt in helping was immense. The children have nothing and to be able to help, even in this small way, gave everyone a great sense of pride.

The children have just left the ship after having a party onboard for two hours. They are fantastic children! They have so little but are extremely happy and full of joy. Well done to Homeless Child for the work they do for these beautiful children. On behalf of the Naval Association and Bantry Bay Harbour Commissioners, the LE NIAMH donated $1000 in order to help towards the cost of completing the school project.

Calls of Protocol were carried out yesterday also. This is a naval tradition where the Captain of the ship calls on the local Military and Civil Authorities to ask permission to bring his ship into the Harbour. In past times the Captain would not be able to bring his ship into the Harbour until permission was granted. Nowadays permission is granted diplomatically but the tradition is continued. I then hosted a lunch for the authorities to show our appreciation for being accepted into the port. This tradition is reciprocated when foreign Warships visit Ireland.

Captain’s Journal Wednesday 19th May 2010

L.E. NIAMH departed Rio de Janeiro at 10 am local time on its way to Buenos Aires, Argentina, after a visit that generarted lots of goodwill all around. Photo: Ship prepares to salute the Brazilian Navy on its way out of the Port of Rio.

Captain’s Journal Thursday 20th May 2010

Captain’s Journal Friday 21st May 2010

Position 031° 47S 050° 55W. Wind E 22kts. Temperature 19°C (0800 P). Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 21°C.

We are back on track after having to slow down yesterday. We encountered gale force winds from 0900hrs yesterday until approximately 1600hrs. The swell and sea were from the south. As we were heading straight into it, I had no alternative but to slow the ship from 16kts to 9kts. I was confident however that the winds would decrease and we would be able to make our ETA at the pilot station. Gladly the sea has now calmed and we are making 18kts and will be on time for our planned arrival into Buenos Aires. Even with the strong winds and rough seas there was a moment of enjoyment yesterday. We were joined by a pod of around thirty dolphins, bottle nose dolphins I believe. They are such elegant a graceful creatures. They seem to have great fun playing in the bow wave and jumping out of the water, almost like as if they are showing off to us.

Captain’s Journal Saturday 22nd May 2010

Captain’s Journal Sunday 23rd May 2010

Captain’s Journal Monday 24th May 2010

LE Niamh Arrives in Buenos Aires

See Video.. LE Niamh Arrives in Buenos Aires

Captain’s Journal Tues 25th May 2010

Alongside Buenos Aires. Wind Light and Variable. Temperature 14°C Clear Sunny Sky. Seawater temperature 19° C.

It was a lovely day for the crew of the LE Niamh yesterday. There was a bus tour for 24 members of the crew to see the sights of the city organised by the Argentinean Navy. Later in the day ten of the crew and I went to the Hogar Santa Rosa Home in Tigre, Buenos Aires. It is a home for special needs and disabled girls. The home is run by the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity Association. Sister Amalia and Sister Emma are the two sisters that run the home with some helpers. They are truly two wonderful people. The home currently houses 40 girls and women of varying ages. They suffer from a wide range of illnesses and disabilities. When the crew arrived first the girls did not know what to make of them but before long, in the true Irish spirit, they were laughing and joking. The crew really enjoyed the visit and were really glad to have been given a chance to visit. We were able to give clothes and toys to the girls which they really appreciated. Thank you to everyone who donated the clothes and toys. We were also able to give the Sisters US$700 which was donated by Bantry Bay Hbr Commisioners, The Naval Association and Eirnova Fisheries Limited Castletownbere. The Sisters at the home were extremely grateful for your generous donation. In my Official capacity I had the honour of attending the opening of the Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires Theatre) yesterday evening. I was invited by the Governor of Buenos Aires. It was the opening of the theatre after three years of refurbishment and it was a lovely evening.

Today is the National Holiday to celebrate the Bicentennial of Independence for Argentina. The Navy had a big Colours Parade this morning at 0730hrs and the Naval Service had pride of place. Photos to follow tomorrow

Captain’s Journal Wednesday 26th May 2010

Captain’s Journal Thur 27th May 2010

Alongside Buenos Aires. Wind East 19kts. Temperature 14°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 19° C.

It was a great honour yesterday to be involved in the laying of a wreath in memory of Admiral William Brown. Born in Foxford, Co Mayo, Admiral Brown was the founder of the Argentinean Navy and is a hero of this country. There are a huge number of streets and schools named after him in Argentina. The wreath was laid in the grounds of the Naval Headquarters where there is a very nice monument to Admiral Brown. On it are the words he used during one of his battles. It reads “I would rather sink the ship than surrender the flag”. The links with Admiral Brown are kept very much alive through the Admiral Brown Society in Foxford who do great work to keep the memory of a great Naval Hero alive.

I had the privilege of having Admiral Godoy at the Official Lunch yesterday . Admiral Godoy is the highest ranking Officer of the Argentinean Navy and is a great friend of the Naval Service. All the guests were very impressed with the Clonakilty Black Pudding.

The LE NIAMH also hosted our Reception yesterday evening and it was a great success. Approximately 180 people attended the function. The Irish Embassy organised an exhibition of Argentine and Irish Dancing which was very much appreciated by everyone there. It captured nicely the close cultural ties that exist between Ireland and Argentina. Today we leave Buenos Aires and there will be a lot of very sad crewmembers to be leaving this wonderful city.

Admiral William Brown

Founder of the Argentine Navy, William Brown is considered a national hero in Argentina, with more than 1,200 streets named after him. Admiral William Brown (also known in Spanish as Guillermo Brown) was born in Foxford, County Mayo, Ireland on June 22, 1777 and died in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 3, 1857. Brown's victories in the ... See MoreIndependence War, the Argentina-Brazil War, and the Guerra Grande in Uruguay earned the respect and appreciation of the Argentine people, and today he is regarded as one of Argentina's national heroes. Creator and first admiral of the country's maritime forces, he is commonly known as the "father of the Argentine Navy” In 1809, at the age of thirty two, Brown became part owner of a ship called Eliza, trading between Montevideo and Buenos Aires. When Eliza met with disaster and ran aground, Brown carried his cargo inland, and having disposed of it profitably, he next crossed the Andes to Chile. He had by now accumulated sufficient capital to enable him to purchase a schooner called Industria, with which he opened a regular sailing-packet service between Uruguay and Argentina, the first such venture in South America. At this point, the Spanish colonial government stepped in, sensing a threat to its mercantile interests. Spanish ships destroyed Brown's schooner, and took drastic effects to nullify Argentina's attempts to defend her coasts against Spanish raiders. As a result of the incident, Argentina resolved to provide ships to protect her coasts and trade, with Brown being commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel at the service of the Navy and appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine fleet, these were the first steps in a story that would see William Brown become known as “The Father of the Argentine Navy”. In his final years, after the fall of the Rosas regime, many naval officers found themselves discharged, but not the Commander of the Navy. Brown remained honoured for his long and loyal service to the nation. Retiring to his villa, Casa Amarilla at Barracas. On March 3, 1857 William Brown died in Argentina and was buried with full military honours. The Argentine government issued a comuniqué stating that "with a life of permanent service to the national wars that our homeland has fought since its independence, William Brown symbolized the naval glory of the Argentine Republic".

Captain's Journal Tues 28th May 2010

Position 037° 47S 056° 17W.. Wind NNE 16kts. Temperature 15°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 15° C.

The city of Buenos Aires was great. There were lots of things to do, I even overheard one of the younger crewmembers describing what he saw at the zoo in Buenos Aires and he was delighted. The amount of restaurants was incredible. The steaks were good but other than size and price any good Irish butcher would provide as good a quality steak. The people were warm and friendly and as soon as they heard we were Irish they couldn’t do enough for us. The crew also had a great time meeting the sailors from the other ships in the port. There is always a good rapport between sailors when they meet in different ports and Buenos Aires was no different.

The passage out through the River Plate went well yesterday. We departed on time from Buenos Aires with two pilots onboard, one was a harbour pilot and the other was the river pilot. The harbour pilot brought us to La Plata and disembarked at 1330. The other pilot advised us on our passage out to deeper water just off Montevideo. We were without pilot and heading southeast by 2000hrs yesterday evening. We are now well on our way to Punta Arenas in Southern Chile. We are scheduled to dock there at 0900 on Monday morning. In this part of the world arrivals are dictated by the weather but we have some time in hand if we experience rough seas.

Captain's Journal Saturday 29th May 2010

Position 042° 46S 059° 53W.. Wind S 16kts. Temperature 10°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 11° C.

We are now 6222 nautical miles from the Fastnet Rock. It is a long way from home but the crew are making good use of the email facilities to keep in touch with family and friends. Everyone onboard is thrilled with the response we have had to the facebook page. We are delighted you are all interested in following our endeavours. Please tell your friends and get them to sign on as friends of the page.

Due to the large number of people we had onboard in Buenos Aires we had a day of cleaning yesterday. The alleyways needed to be striped down and polished again. Then in the late afternoon we had a major fire fighting exercise. We simulated a fire in the laundry and the ship went to emergency stations. The fire teams fore and aft quickly sprung into action and the situation was quickly brought under control. Regular drills like this are essential so that every member of the crew knows exactly what they have to do in the event of a fire. As we are making good progress I was hoping we would be able to dock almost a day early in Punta Arenas but I was told yesterday evening by the agent that the berth will not be available and we will have to wait at anchor until the original intended docking time of 0900hrs on Tues. There is not much dock space in Punta Arenas so that is understandable.

Captain's Journal Sunday 30th May 2010

Position 047° 00S 063° 46W. Wind SSE 35kts. Temperature 8°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 9° C.

As I write this I am having trouble sitting at my desk. The weather turned for the worst last night and we are currently in gale force winds. At approximately 0330 last night the winds reached strong gale force and not many people onboard were able to sleep. The ship handles this kind of weather very well. If we slow the ship to around 7 knots she just rides up over the waves effortlessly, but as the ship is pitching and rolling, the crew find it hard to get any rest. This weather system is due to pass over in about 2 hours time so things should get back to normal then. We will be anchoring tomorrow in the Magellan Straits to await our pilot at 0100hrs on Tues morning. As we changed our clocks back again on Friday night we are now 5hrs behind the time in Ireland.

Captain's Journal Monday 31st May 2010

Position 049° 35S 065° 49W. Wind N 20kts. Temperature 6°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 8° C.

The gales continued until lunchtime yesterday and it was 1800hrs before the swell had died sufficiently to resume 16kts. The crew finally got some sleep last night. It was difficult for people to sleep with the constant pitching and rolling during the gale. There were many tired crew around the ship yesterday but they are all well rested by now. We now anticipate going to anchor approximately 1800hrs today to await our pilot at 0100hrs on Tues morning for the passage into Punta Arenas.

See Video..Niamh in rough Seas

Captain's Journal Tuesday 1st June 2010

At Anchor in the Straits of Magellan. Wind NW 15kts. Temperature 8°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 8° C.

There is a definite chill in the air in this part of the world, the short sleeve shirts are gone. The jumpers, coats and gloves are the uniform of choice around here. We are almost as far south as we are going to go. We entered the Straits of Magellan yesterday at 1430hrs and proceeded to an anchorage to await the pilot’s arrival. As I write this the pilots have just arrived onboard. We were lucky with the weather for the past day and our anchorage was calm enough to be able to get a quick scrub down of both sides of the ship. By the time this appears on facebook we should be alongside in Punta Arenas but in the mean time here is a bit about Magellan.

Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521)
Ferdinand Magellan was born in Portugal in 1480. Magellan’s early nautical career consisted of work he carried out for the Portuguese monarchy. Magellan took part in Portuguese conquests in India and Malacca between 1505 and 1512. He was honoured for his work during these campaigns. During this time he also became interested in the Spice Islands of the Far East. After a quarrel with the King of Portugal in 1517, Magellan went to Spain in search of funding for an expedition to the Far East. Since the Eastern trade route via the Cape of Good Hope was reserved for Portugal under the Treaty of Tordesillas, Magellan obtained funding from Spain for an expedition to navigate a new trade route to the West. Magellan set out on this expedition in September 1519. It was on this expedition that Magellan discovered a passage through the Southern tip of South America, which he named the ‘All Saints Channel’. This was later named the ‘Strait of Magellan’, after Magellan himself. The Strait is some 340 miles long compared to the 740 miles which it takes to navigate around Cape Horn. Magellan’s expedition was the first to circumnavigate the world. Magellan named the Pacific Ocean. The need for an international date line was discovered because of this expedition. Upon returning to Spain, they found that their date was behind, even though they had faithfully maintained the Ship’s Log. Magellan himself did not complete the trip as he was killed in the Philippines, however Magellan’s legacy lives on today due to the advances that were made during his expedition.

Captain's Journal Wednesday 2nd June 2010

Alongside Punta Arenas in the Straits of Magellan. Wind NW 05kts. Temperature 6°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 8° C.

We had a good passage through the Straits of Magellan last night. We departed anchor at 2359hrs and arrived alongside the berth at 0900hrs yesterday. It was extremely calm. The pilot said there had not been so little wind in the Straits in a long time. The only unfortunate thing about the passage was that it was at night and we could not see the Straits. The currents in the Straits of Magellan are strong. When we were coming through one of the narrowest parts there was 5.5kts of tide running but the navigation was no problem. It must have been incredible for the explorers who found this place. They were in sailing ships with no navigation equipment like we have now and no idea how shallow or deep the waters were. They were truly incredible men. This passage was discovered by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

Ferdinand Magellan was born in Portugal in 1480. Magellan’s early nautical career consisted of work he carried out for the Portuguese monarchy. Magellan took part in Portuguese conquests in India and Malacca between 1505 and 1512. He was honoured for his work during these campaigns. During this time he also became interested in the Spice Islands of the Far East. After a quarrel with the King of Portugal in 1517, Magellan went to Spain in search of funding for an expedition to the Far East. Since the Eastern trade route via the Cape of Good Hope was reserved for Portugal under the Treaty of Tordesillas, Magellan obtained funding from Spain for an expedition to navigate a new trade route to the West. Magellan set out on this expedition in September 1519. It was on this expedition that Magellan discovered a passage through the Southern tip of South America, which he named the ‘All Saints Channel’. This was later named the ‘Strait of Magellan’, after Magellan himself. The Strait is some 340 miles long compared to the 740 miles which it takes to navigate around Cape Horn. Magellan’s expedition was the first to circumnavigate the world. Magellan named the Pacific Ocean. The need for an international date line was discovered because of this expedition. Upon returning to Spain, they found that their date was behind, even though they had faithfully maintained the Ship’s Log. Magellan himself did not complete the trip as he was killed in the Philippines, however Magellan’s legacy lives on today due to the advances that were made during his expedition.

Captain’s Journal Thursday 3rd June 2010

Patagonian Channel . Wind S 15kts. Temperature 6°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 7° C.

LE NIAMH departed Punta Arenas yesterday. We got a very warm welcome from the Chilean people and in particular the Chilean Navy. The scenery around the town is breath taking. Some of the crew went for a hike up Mount Tarn yesterday which is just outside Punta Arenas and they said the views of the Straits of Magellan were spectacular. Yesterday we reached the most southerly point of the deployment. We are now heading north and will be getting closer to home every day. As we transit through the Patagonian Channel the Navigating Officer is having to work very hard. The Channel is a passage through thousands of islands. Some of the courses are in wide channels but some are narrow with only hundreds of yards form rocks. It is a fantastic opportunity to do this and the views of the snow covered mountain peaks as we steam along are amazing.

Captain's Journal Friday 4th June 2010

Position 048° 18S 074° 32W. Wind N 17kts. Temperature 8°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 9° C.

We continued our journey North through the Patagonian Channel yesterday and last night. The views are just incredible. It is difficult to capture the sheer size and vastness of the Channel on camera. The mountains come straight up out of the water to around 1000 meters and we were steaming at 20 knots only a couple of hundred yards away. The only place I could compare it to at home is Killary Harbour but on a much bigger scale. The depths were generally around 400 meters but decreased to 30 meters in one area. The wind increased to gale force last night but has calmed again as I write this. I am happy that the wind has decreased as we are heading out into the Pacific tonight on our way to Valparaiso. Our ETA in Valparaiso is 1600hrs on Monday.

Captain’s Journal Sat 05th June 2010

Position 042° 44S 075° 11W. Wind W 39kts. Temperature 10°C. Heavy Rain. Seawater temperature 11° C.

Well here we are on a Saturday Night steaming along the West Coast of Chile. This might not be such a bad thing except for the weather. When we exited from the Patagonian Channel last night around 2000hrs the weather was fine and only forecast to reach a force 6 or 7 on our route to Valparaiso. We have been buffeted by force 8 Westerly winds since 0300 this morning. The sea and swell are on our beam and the ship is handling the weather very well. We are currently on schedule for our arrival in Valparaiso.

Captain's Journal Sunday 6th June 2010

Position 036° 42S 073° 47W. Wind S 15kts. Temperature 12°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 12° C.

The weather was much better yesterday. The wind calmed from early morning and the swell turned to the Southwest which made our journey much more comfortable. We have two Chilean Officers with us at the moment. They came with us from Punta Arenas to advise us on our voyage through the Patagonian Channel and along the coast of Chile. We haven’t had much chance to talk to them until yesterday when we had a long conversation with them in the wardroom. They are really nice people. They have a good outlook on life. They are very much influenced by Britain and the USA. They were a pleasure to talk to and are very impressed with our ship. We showed them the RTE programme “The Navy” about the Naval Service which aired in 2006. The liked it and said some of the work they do is similar to ours. They are involved in Fishery Protection, Drug Interdiction and SAR just like us. By the time this article appears, we should be in Valparaiso.

Captain's Journal Monday 7th June 2010

Alongside Valparaiso . Wind S 8kts. Temperature 16°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 13° C.

The ship was very comfortable last night as we steamed north along the West Coast of Chile. The size of this country from South to North becomes apparent when we have travelled for 4 days and are we are now only half way along. The city of Valparaiso is impressive. It is built on hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean and was a major trading port before the Panama Canal was opened. The crew are looking forward to exploring the city later. As we have continued on our journey I have been surprised by the amount of people of Irish decent that I have been introduced to. The Irish really are every where. One famous man of Irish decent in Chile is Bernardo O’Higgins. He is regarded as one of the founding fathers of Chile and this is a little bit about him.

Bernardo O'Higgins was a Chilean independence leader who freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. O'Higgins was born in the Chilean city of Chillán in 1778, the son of a Spanish officer born in County Sligo. O'Higgins spent his early years in central-southern Chile, and at 17 was sent to London to complete his studies. Bernardo returned to Chile in 1802, and in 1806 was appointed to the local “cabildo”. He was elected a deputy to the first National Congress of Chile, and when the Spanish government attempted to reconquer Chile, O'Higgins mobilized his local militia and marched to Concepcion, his victory there resulting in his promotion to colonel. Years of successful battles and campaigns led to his rapid promotion and eventually he was granted dictatorial powers as Supreme Director in1817. On February 12, 1818, Chile was proclaimed an independent republic. O'Higgins died on 24 October 1842, aged 64. O'Higgins is widely commemorated today, both in Chile and beyond, as the liberator of Chile.

Captain's Journal Tuesday 8th June 2010

Alongside Valparaiso . Wind N 10kts. Temperature 15°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 13° C.

Yesterday was a very busy time when we came alongside. We had a Guard of Honour for the Irish Ambassador to Chile and we received the Chilean Navy welcoming party onboard on our arrival. As we have grown to expect by now, the Chilean Navy are very efficient and had everything well organised. They had a very good Navy Band played on our arrival

One of the most important things that happened yesterday was the delivery of Irish medical equipment from the HSE (Cork University Hospital) to the Chilean Department of Health. Delivery was gratefully accepted yesterday by an official from the Chilean Dept of Foreign Affairs.

I had 5 Calls of Protocol today. The first was to the Admiral of the Fleet onboard the Chilean Frigate “Admiral Lynch”. The Irish connection continues. The Ambassador and I also laid a wreath at the Monument to Honour the Heroes of Iquique. This was a sea battle between Chile and Peru in 1879. The people of Chile were so impressed by the heroism of their sailors that they insisted on the monument being erected. The Chilean Navy photographer will have pictures for me tomorrow.

Captain’s Journal Wednesday 9th June 2010

Alongside Valparaiso . Wind N 5kts. Temperature 16°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 13° C.

We had our Official Reception last night and it was a great success. The Ambassador met business people who will be good contacts for the Embassy in the future and everyone at the reception was delighted with the warm welcome and good food they received. Fifteen members of the crew went working in a NGO project today called “Un Techo para Chile” (A roof for Chile). They were helping to move modular homes from a place in the hills in the outskirts of Valparaiso to the port area where they loaded them into containers. These modular homes will be shipped to the south to a city called San Antonia. Here they will be erected to house those people still without homes as a result of the earthquake earlier this year. Each home will eventually be 24 feet by 12 feet and will give shelter to 8 people. Four of the crew stood in one of the floor sections which is12ft by 12ft and were amazed that 4 people could live in this space. It was good to be able to help in some small way. One of the patrons of the organisation is an Irishman, Brian Clancy from Kilkenny. The ship donated clothes, toys, books and money to the help the aid effort. Brian has given his assurance it will reach the people most in need of assistance.

Captain’s Journal Thursday 10th June 2010

Position 030° 44S 072° 30W. Wind NW 18Kts. Temperature 14°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 14° C.

It was with sadness that we departed Valparaiso this morning. Its farewell to Chile but it is definitely a country that some of us would like to visit again. The work crew that participated in the “A Roof for Chile” project did not come back to the ship until after 6pm yesterday evening. That was a long day for the fifteen crewmembers and a big well done to each and every one of them. Brian Clancy (patron of the charity) came to the ship yesterday evening to collect the clothes, toys and books that were donated. We also gave him US$300 to help with the aid effort. He asked me to thank all those who contributed and he said it will make a big difference to a lot of people. As we pulled away from the quay wall this morning the Chilean Navy Band were playing and all the Navy ships blew their ships whistles as we steamed out the harbour. A Chilean Navy Helicopter even flew over to wave goodbye to us. Thanks to the Chilean Navy for the excellent reception they gave the LE NIAMH.

Irish Ambassador to Chile Her Excellency Philomena Murnaghan at the wreath laying ceremony
Captain’s Journal Fri 11th June 2010

Position 024° 39S 074° 51W. Wind S 12Kts. Temperature 18°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 17° C.

As we head Northwest across the Chile Basin and further out into the Pacific, the size of this continent once again becomes apparent. The charts we are using are such a scale as to make it look like as if we have barely moved since yesterday. We are moving though and we are making good time. The next ETA is one of the most important as we have a slot booked to transit the Panama Canal so we must be there on time. The routine has got back to normal today with cleaning stations and this afternoon the Naval Boarding Team was exercised. This is the team that would be sent to board a vessel that was suspected of illegal importation of substances. They are highly trained, well armed and very intimidating when going onboard a vessel. We also continued with our First Aid Training. The onboard Sick Berth Attendant (Medic), A/SBA O’Toole has been giving CPR instruction to the crew, in groups of five, since the commencement of the deployment. The sea conditions are perfect here as we continue our journey Northwest.

L.E. Niamh's position 11th June
Captain’s Journal Sat 12th June 2010

Position 018° 08S 077° 16W. Wind S 15kts. Temperature 21°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 19° C.

The sea state was good enough today to allow the crew get back to circuit on the flag deck. Again it was a hard workout with the ship moving slightly underfoot but mostly because of the 21°C heat. The ship is powered by two main power houses. One is the engine room and the other is the galley. The Cooks do not get enough credit for the great work they do preparing meals for the whole crew and functions while in port. The imagination they put into their work to ensure we get a good variety of grub during a long deployment like this, knows no bounds. They are a great bunch of lads and the ship is very lucky to have them. Thanks PO/CK Cullinane, Ck Fitzgerald, Ck Corcoran and Ck Rath. The ship would not get very far without the engines. I could stand up on the bridge all day and give orders about where I want the ship to go but without the engines and the engineering staff I would only be talking to myself. I am very fortunate that we have a great engineering crew. One of our engineers is S/Lt Donnelly, who got engaged just before we commenced this trip. Congratulations Lynne.

Captain’s Journal Sun 13th June 2010

Position 011° 39S 079° 32W. Wind SE 15kts. Temperature 20°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 19° C.

It being Sunday, the crew, except for those on watch had a day off. Most people did laundry and prepared their uniforms for the next port. Some people went to the gym to workout. Some of the crew took part in a Clay Pigeon Shooting competition. PO/Cook Ciaran Cullinane is a licensed hunter and an exceptionally good marksman with the shotgun. He brought his shotgun and clay sling. All competitions are held under strictly supervised conditions. Progress is good at the moment and we are currently ahead of schedule with an expected arrival in Balboa, Panama on Wednesday night.

Picture shows P/O Cullinane and Mech.Keaney Clay Shooting

Captain’s Journal Mon 14th June 2010

Position 04° 44S 081° 33W. Wind S 17kts. Temperature 20°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 19° C.

As I write this we are currently 520 nautical miles from the famous Galapagos Islands to the West. It would have been a dream to go and see them but time is not on our side. Their official name is Archipielago de Colon. They are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean and are a part of Ecuador. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its wildlife is its most notable feature.
The islands are an Ecuadorian Province, a National Park and a Biological Marine Reserve. They are famed for their vast number of endemic species which were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle 1831-1836. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. The first crude chart of the islands was done by the buccaneer Ambrose Cowley (no I didn’t omit the r and he was English) in 1684 and the current population of the islands is approximately 23,000.
Speaking of national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the exercise for today was pollution control. We will be fuelling at anchor before we enter the Panama Canal and especially going through the canal we need to make sure that it is only clean water goes over the side, as we always do anyway. The Engineering Department had a pollution control exercise on the port fuelling point to ensure that everyone is up to speed in the event of there being any spills.

L.E.Niamh's position Monday June 14th 2010
Captain’s Journal Tuesday 15th June 2010

Position 01° 43S 080° 47W. Wind SW 10kts. Temperature 25°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 26° C.

We are back in the Northern Hemisphere. We crossed the line today at around 1400hrs. It is good to be back in the Northern Hemisphere. You know what they say, “there is no place like home”. We had a very interesting night last night. The Officer of the Watch called me at around 0100hrs to say that there were a lot of small fishing contacts and he was going to reduce speed. When I got to the bridge a couple of minutes later there were hundreds of small fishing vessels around us. We snaked our way through them for 5 hours until they eventually thinned out. They were drift netting and only turned on their lights if they reckoned we were going to run over their nets. Even at that, they only turned on their lights at the last minute and one boat never turned on his lights at all. We praised the invention of Night Vision Equipment last night. The exercise today was 76mm OTO Melara drill for the bridge team. It is important to keep the team up to speed so that everyone knows their part. There will be a chance for everyone to see the LE NIAMH going through the Panama Canal on Thursday. The Canal has a system of webcams at each lock and it can be viewed on pancanal.com. Capt Pat O Connor has kindly set up a link so that everyone can have a look. It is a live feed and takes a still shot every thirty seconds. When I find out the time we are going through on Thursday and I will post it on the facebook page.

L.E.Niamh's position Tuesday June 15th 2010
Captain’s Journal Wednesday 16th June 2010

Position 08° 06N 079° 36W. Wind W 12kts. Temperature 27°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 28° C.

We had a relatively quiet night last night. There were only a few fishing vessels and the sea was calm. We are definitely in the rainy season though, we had some very heavy showers during the night. The crew were busy today making sure that the ship is looking well for when the inspectors from the Panama Canal Authority come onboard tomorrow morning. They are supposed to be very strict. As I write this we are approximately 50 miles from the Panama Canal and will be anchoring for the night. I have been informed that we will be transiting through the Panama Canal at 1645hrs local time. That will be 2245 Irish time on Thursday 17th June. Hope some of you will be able to follow the link and watch us going through

L.E.Niamh's position Wednesday June 16th 2010
L.E.Niamh is scheduled to pass through the Canal at 2245hrs Thursday 17th
Here is a link to the webcam Miraflores Gate Updates every 10 seconds
See also Web Cams

Captain’s Journal Thursday 17th June 2010

Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal. Wind W 12kts. Temperature 27°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 28° C.

Well the Panama Canal Authority inspection went well. We were given a clean bill of health and a Transit Identification Number that will stay with the LE NIAMH as long as she exists. This number will identify the ship to the Authority as a ship that has been through here before. There were a couple of contentious issues but the “Blarney Stone” worked its wonders. We are now in the Miraflores Locks beginning our transit through the Canal, here is a little bit about the Panama Canal and tomorrow I will tell you all what our transit was like. It will mostly be during the hours of darkness but I am sure it will be a memorable event.

The Panama Canal is a 48 mile man made shipping canal that joins the world’s two largest oceans, the Pacific and Atlantic. The Canal provides a passage to almost 15,000 vessels annually between the two oceans. The location of the Panama Canal in Panama central America also provides Mariners with a much safer route then having to sail south around the bottom of South America, or North into the Arctic Circle. It also saves time and financial costs for shipping. The idea of a Panama Canal dates to the early 16th century and in 1880 the first construction attempt was undertaken by the French. Unfortunately this construction project was abandoned when close to 22,000 workers died, largely from diseases such as Malaria and Yellow Fever and also landslides. The U.S.A later launched a second construction project to break the land barrier and succeeded in opening the Canal in 1914. This success was partly due to better pesticide controls and advancements in the treatment of Malaria and yellow fever. Another reason for this success was that the original French plans for a Canal were to be at sea level. The U.S. construction incorporated locks and dams and this proved to be the winning formulae. The Miraflores Lock is situated on the Pacific coast near the city of Balboa and the Gatun locks are on the Caribbean, Atlantic coast close to the city of Colon. The Canal operates by taking a ship from sea level through a lock system up to a manmade lake in the middle and then back down the other side, once again using locks. The Canal was under a joint U.S-Panamanian administration from 1979 to 1999, and from the 31st of December 1999 full control of the Canal was assumed by the Panama Canal Authority an agency of the Panamanian government.

At the Gatun Lock

The Miralflores Lock

At the Miraflores Lock

The Captain (Lt.Cdr Minehane)

L.E.Niamh in Miraflores Lock, Panana Canal (Captured on Miraflores Web Cam)
Captain’s Journal Friday 18th June 2010

Position 14° 13N 079° 22W. Wind NW 17kts. Temperature 30°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 28° C.

We are now back on the Atlantic side of the American Continent. The passage through the Panama Canal was even better than any of us had expected. It went without fault and was a very memorable experience. As we passed under the Bridge of the Americas the pilot informed me that we would be collecting some Rope Handlers from the Canal Authority. These men handle the wires that the ship is held with while going through the locks. As we approached the first lock I was concerned to see two small rowing boats just at the entrance. I asked the pilot could he get them to move and he said they were the way they pass the lines from the ship to the lock wall so that the wires from the Lock Tractor (Mules) can be passed. The operation went very smoothly and before long we were connected to two Mules on the starboard side and two on the port. Once they were connected the pilot asked me to stop the engines and we were then under the pilots control. He gave orders to the Mules who kept us steady in the middle of the lock. At Miraflores Locks there were one set of two locks and a single lock further on. Each lock raised us up nine meters in four minutes. The speed at which the levels changed was very impressive.

The passage through the Canal was not a big challenge. The canal itself is very well buoyed and there are transits on nearly every course. It was a pity that we were going through there in the dark as it would have been nice to sea the rainforest as we progressed. It took two hours to steam from the Miraflores Locks to the Gatun Locks. The pilot was impressed with the ship and spoke about LE NIAMH as though she was some type of sports car. She does manoeuvre very nicely. There were three locks joined together at Gatun Locks. Once connected up at the first one we were pulled along by the Mules again as the gates opened in front of us and closed behind. The pilot stayed with us for about 4 miles after the Gatun Locks and then we were on our way out through the breakwater at Colon and into the Caribbean. It was a truly fantastic experience to have navigated the Panama Canal and every member of the crew was touched by the importance of the passage and the fact that a little bit of history was made last night.

L.E.Niamh's position Friday 18th June 2010
Captain’s Journal Saturday 19th June 2010

Position 19° 50N 083° 29W. Wind E 12kts. Temperature 31°C. Clear Sunny Sky. Seawater temperature 29° C.

As we pass between Cuba and Honduras the weather has taken a turn to the good and is now more in line with what we expected from the Caribbean. The sun is out and the sea has calmed. The sunny weather is great and everyone is taking a few minutes every day to soak up a few rays. They are of course applying adequate sun protection. However the ship is also very hot. The air conditioning units and fridge freezers have to work hard to even try and cope with the 31°C air and 29°C seawater temperature. We are looking good for our arrival time into Veracruz on Tuesday at 1000hrs. There will be 12 Class A Tall Ships arriving into Veracruz the day after we dock. The ships are from Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Spain, USA, Portugal, Uruguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Netherlands and Brazil. That should be a great spectacle. We will be sure to take lots of photos.

Best wishes to all Dads on Fathers Day.
Captain’s Journal Sunday 20th June 2010

Position 21° 54N 090° 16W. Wind NE 10kts. Temperature 30°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 29° C.

We are further west than any Irish Naval Ship has ever been before and we still have another 6 degrees of longitude to travel before reaching Veracruz. We will then be 4,600 nautical miles from Ireland. The weather was lovely again today. It being Sunday the crew had the day off and there was lots of sun bathing going on. Quite a few of the crew went to the gym but the hardcore physical fitness enthusiasts amongst us went to the flagdeck for a circuit training session at 1600hrs. There are a couple of competitions going on onboard at the moment to try and pass the time. There is a Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 competition on the PS3. All competitors represent a country in the current World Cup. If we can’t see the World Cup we will just have to have our own. There is also a Chess Competition being played where ever the contestants can find a peaceful place. Everyone is in good form and looking forward to our next stop in Mexico.
Picture shows L.E.Niamh at Harbour Stations on the Panama Canal

Captain’s Journal Monday 21st June 2010

Position 19° 28N 095° 42W. Wind E 12kts. Temperature 32°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 29° C.

The Seaman onboard had a hard day today working on deck in the heat. The preparations for our entry into Veracruz had to be completed and the ship needed to be washed down. Every time we come into port the ship has to be washed with fresh water to prevent the salt from corroding the ship. To continue our Irish connection I have researched a bit about a group of Irish Soldiers who fought on the Mexican side against the USA. The Irish really do pop up in the most unusual places.

Batallòn de San Patricio or the Saint Patrick’s Battalion was a unit of 175 to several hundred immigrants and expatriates of European descent who fought as part of the Mexican Army against the United States of America in the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848.

Most of the battalion’s members had deserted or defected from the U.S. Army for various reasons. The battalion was made up primarily of Irish and German Catholic immigrants.The great majority of these men were recent immigrants who had arrived at northeastern U.S. ports, part of the Irish community escaping the Potato Famine and extremely poor economic conditions in Ireland. Numerous theories have been proposed as to their motives for desertion, including cultural alienation, mistreatment of immigrant conscripts by native soldiers and senior officers, their not being allowed to attend Sunday Mass or to practice their religion freely, the incentive of higher wages and land grants starting at 320 acres offered by Mexico.

The Saint Patrick’s Battalion first fought as a recognised Mexican unit in the Battle of Monterrey on 21 September 1846, as an artillery battery. They were commanded by John Riley, an Irishman from Co Galway, who was commisioned to the rank of Lieutenant on joining the Mexican Army. The San Patricios were famed for their courage and bravery in battle during the war and to this day they are honored and revered as heroes by the Mexican people. The American Army ultimately proved too strong for the Mexican resistance and were victorious in the war toward the end of 1848. The majority of the San Patricios were captured and convicted of desertion resulting in their execution by hanging.

However to this day the Battalion is honored by the Mexican people each year on two separate days, 12th September, the generally-accepted anniversary of the executions of those convicted by the U.S. Army and 17th March, Saint Patrick’s Day. The San Patricios are also immortalised in the chieftains song, San Patricio.

L.E.Niamh's position Monday 21st June 2010 heading to anchor off Veracruz
Captain’s Journal Tuesday 22nd June 2010

Alongside Vercruz. Wind E 7kts. Temperature 34°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 30° C.

We have arrived into Veracruz and to say that the programme is full would be an understatement. The briefings for a port normally take 10 to 15 minutes but today they took 2 hours. The city looks beautiful and the atmosphere is great. We have our reception tonight. The only problem we have is the heat. It is very hot. I am not talking about Irish summers day hot. I mean stand outside and start perspiring hot. This is going to be a good port even if it is a little bit sticky.

Cox and Captain entering Veracruz

Able SBA O'Toole and P/O Walsh
Captain’s Journal Wed 23rd June 2010

Alongside Vercruz. Wind E 5kts. Temperature 35°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 31° C.

There is a real carnival atmosphere here in Veracruz. The Tall Ships arrived into port today. The LE NIAMH is in a berth directly across from the Brazilian Tall Ship ‘CISNE BLANCO’. The President of Mexico came to Veracruz to open the regatta. The people are very friendly and the crew are having a wonderful time. The official reception was a big success on Tuesday night. The were people of Irish decent that travelled from Mexico City for five hours to come and visit the ship. My programme is very full for the next week. Today I went to call on both the Naval and Army Commanders of the area. All the Captains of the Tall Ships and I are the VIP’s for the regatta.

Captain’s Journal Thur 24th June 2010

Alongside Vercruz. Wind E 10kts. Temperature 31°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 31° C.

Another busy day in the schedule for LE NIAMH today. One group of around 20 went on a bus tour of the local sites at 0830 this morning. Five crewmembers and I went to a wreath laying ceremony for the hero’s of the Mexican fight for independence. Afterwards I made Calls of Protocol to the Mayor and the Governor of Veracruz with all the other ships Captains. The Governor was particularly happy to see an Irish Navy Ship in Veracruz as he studied in Dublin for 2 years in the mid seventies. He was also very appreciative of the important difference that the San Patricios made in helping Mexico fight for their independence.

In the afternoon 3 crewmembers and I went to an orphanage called Hogar Del Nino Manuel Gutierrez Zamora, where we gave a donation of clothes toys and a US$400. One of the little there is called Irlanda.Again thanks to all who gave generously. All the clothes, toys, books and funds are now successfully distributed. Some of the crew have just started participating in the sporting events. They are playing beach soccer against the American crew and beach volleyball against the Mexican Naval College. I will let you know how they get on tomorrow.

Captain’s Journal Fri 25th June 2010

Alongside Vercruz. Wind N 15kts. Temperature 34°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 31° C.

The Officers and Crew of LE NIAMH would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our former Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Dermot Earley who passed away on the 23rd of June. We held a small ceremony on the LE NIAMH today and had a minutes silence in honour of General Earley. I only met the General on two occasions but he was one of those of people that once you meet him you could never forget him. He had a great presence about him and he was a lovely person. Our hearts and minds go out to his family and friends at this difficult time. He will be sadly missed, he was a great friend to the Naval Service, a great leader and a Officer of the highest calibre. Gone but never forgotten.

L.E.Niamh's Crew in silent prayer for Lt.Gen.Dermot Earley R.I.P.

Captain’s Journal Sat 26th June 2010

Alongside Vercruz. Wind E 15kts. Temperature 34°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 31° C.

Today was another busy day for the crew of LE NIAMH. We were open to the public and had in the region of 1500 people onboard, admiring the ship. We are getting lots of nice comments about how well the ship looks. I hosted a lunch today for the Irish- Mexican Chamber of Commerce. The Irish Ambassador to Mexico His Excellency Eamonn Hickey was also present and the invites were sent out by the Irish Embassy. Most of the guests have some business interests with Ireland. Some of them import goods from Ireland. They were a nice group of people who were very interested in learning more about Ireland. The Ambassador was very pleased with the lunch and made some very good new contacts.

The Mexican Chamber of Commerce onboard L.E.Niamh

Tropical Storm "Alex" is heading for the Gulf of Mexico and may prevent L.E.Niamh's departure for her next port of call until her Captain Lt. Cdr.Minehane decides it is safe to do so.
Captain’s Journal Sunday 27th June 2010

Alongside Vercruz. Wind N 20kts. Temperature 29°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 30° C.

The festival is coming to an end here and we had the closing ceremony on the Chilean Tall Ship ‘Esmeralda’ yesterday. The ceremony consisted of speeches about how Latin America is an important part of the world and they should all be proud of their countries. Yesterday evening I attended a reception on the Mexican Tall Ship ‘Cuauhtemoc’ and I was introduced to the First Lady of Mexico. The Presidents wife said she was very happy to have an Irish Warship present at the Regatta. She thanked me for attending and wished me the best of luck for our journey home. We may need that luck as there is a Tropical Storm/Hurricane ‘Alex’ developing out in the Gulf of Mexico. As much as we don’t mind bad weather I draw the line at storms and hurricanes. LE NIAMH will not now depart Veracruz until Tuesday 28th June which unfortunately means we will arrive in Miami a day late, better to arrive late than not arrive at all. All the Tall Ships are also remaining here until at least Tuesday.

Captain’s Journal Sun 28th June 2010

Alongside Vercruz. Wind N 18kts. Temperature 30°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 30° C.

We had a busy day yesterday open to the public. There were in the region of 2000 people onboard and they were again very impressed with the LE NIAMH. The Officers attended the Official Reception onboard the US Coast Guard Tall Ship ‘Eagle’ yesterday evening. I had a good conversation with the US Ambassador to Mexico who spoke very kindly of Ireland and its people. While at the reception I was invited to climb the mast today. This was an invitation I could not refuse but only if I could bring some of my crew. I brought A/Commop Pat Gallagher and A/SBA Eugene O’Toole. They are both good climbers and Commop Gallagher has a working at heights course completed. It was a great adventure and we further cemented Irish-US relations in the process. The Tropical Storm is developing into a Hurricane but when we leave tomorrow it will have moved far enough North that we will be able to go around to the South of it and avoid any very high seas and strong winds.
Captain’s Journal Tues 29th June 2010

Position 20° 10N 93° 44 W. Wind SW 27kts. Temperature 27°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 30° C.

The LE NIAMH departed Veracruz on the 29th June bound for Miami. We are now heading in the right direction for home and the crew are looking forward to seeing their family and friends soon. Veracruz was a big success. We achieved all our objectives and I can say without hesitation that the Irish Ship and crew were the most popular at the regatta. From a military perspective it was a great success as I met the Secretary of the Navy who is a four Star Admiral. He was very pleased to welcome an Irish Ship to Mexico for the first time and asked us to visit more often. I also met the Mayor of Veracruz City and the Governor of Veracruz State. The highlight had to be meeting the Presidents Wife. She was a very nice woman and was very grateful that we made the effort to travel all the way from Ireland. On an economic level the trip was very worth while. There were several companies at our official reception who were very happy to make contacts with people they might not normally get the chance to meet. They are confident that because of contacts made at the function the businesses will benefit. The lunch with the Irish-Mexican Chamber of Commerce could not have gone better. The guests were very impressed with the ship and the Ambassador was able to create good opportunities to explore new ventures for them. There is no doubt that from a diplomatic perspective the LE NIAMH raised the Irish profile in Mexico and the Ambassador was very complimentary about the ship and its crew. We were able to visit a school for orphans on a humanitarian visit. They were delighted with the gifts of clothes, toys and money. They have to work hard fundraising to get enough money to keep the orphanage open and be able to educate the children. Overall the visit to Veracruz was a big success. I am sure that Ireland will reap the benefits of this visit for years to come. Following on with the Irish connections, there are elections here next week and one of the candidates for Governor is a Mr Duarte. The name Duarte is Spanish for Doherty, so the Irish connection is alive and well in Mexico. As I write this we are as close as we are going to get to Hurricane Alex and the seas are big. Remaining in Veracruz for an extra day was the prudent thing to do. We are due in Miami Friday 02nd July at 0800hrs local time.

Captain’s Journal Wednesday 30th June 2010

Position 22° 43N 887° 23 W. Wind E 18kts. Temperature 24°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 23° C.

Well for all you worried family and friends we have successfully passed around Hurricane “ALEX”. It was rough yesterday evening but I knew the swell would be on our stern and that the ship would handle it with ease. We are now due 340 miles south of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Naval Service is the primary seagoing agency of the state and while I would hope this kind of disaster will never happen in Ireland, I am sure that if it did the NS would be heavily involved in the cleanup operation. The Naval Service has responsibility in conjunction with the Coast Guard for providing services relating to pollution control. The Naval Service operates one of only two National Remote Operated Vehicles, ROV’s(unmanned submersibles). We also give support to the Marine Institute in the operation of the deepwater ROV. One of the finest assets of the NS is the Naval Service Diving Team, they are on constant call and can work with surface demand equipment if required down to 50m. They work closely with institutions such as the Coat Guard, Commissioners of Irish Lights, the Gardaí and the Customs. They are incredibly brave guys, so much so that their bravery was positively mentioned in a recently published Canadian report into the Air India Disaster.

As part of our regular patrol duties around the coast of Ireland the NS carry out environmental security operations such as sampling for Harmful Algae Blooms, Pollution incident reporting and we monitor Survey Vessels to ensure they are authorised. As the State’s Principle Seagoing Agency the Naval Service has a wide range of Service Level Agreements with various Government and State bodies as well as Non Governmental Organisations. I didn’t mean to go on so much but it is important to realise that while we are out here in the Gulf of Mexico there are also fine service men and women carrying on with their duties back at home

L.E. Niamh's position 30th June
Captain’s Journal Thursday 01st July 2010

Position 24° 32N 80° 55 W. Wind E 15kts. Temperature 31°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 27° C.

We have made good time from Veracruz and will be alongside Miami at 0430hrs on Friday 02 July. As it is a Holiday Weekend in Miami there is not going to be many official calls or meetings. We will be having our Official Reception and Lunch but nothing more.

The one thing I would like to tell you all about is the ships charity. Every year we raise money and donate it to the Baby Unit of St Muncheon’s Hospital in Limerick. The crew have come up with a very unique way to raise money this year. We are going to cycle from Miami to Cork. We have an exercise bike onboard and we are going to cycle it 24 hours a day for the passage from Miami to Cork. We will take it in turns of one hour and if everyone cycles 30kms in that one hour we will cover the distance between the two great cities. We would like you to sponsor us by donating any amount of money you want. You can send it to Admin Officer, PMS, Naval Base, Haulbowline, Co Cork, Ireland. He will make sure the money is kept safe until our return. If we raise enough money we will distribute it amongst other charities in the Cork area. Hopefully we will get a good response. We had a Damage Control Exercise today and we also simulated a casualty during the exercise that had to be evacuated from the bow thruster space. It was a very realistic exercise. Well done to all involved.

Damage Control Exercise

Damage Control Exercise
L.E.Niamh alongside in Miami.
Captain’s Journal Monday 5th July 2010

Position 27° 51N 78° 39 W. Wind SW 08kts. Temperature 25°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 27° C.

Well we have finished in our last port and are on our way home. It will take a couple of days before I will be able to say with certainty when exactly we are going to enter Cork Harbour. Judging by our current speed it is going to be on the morning of the 15th July. The sponsored cycle is going well. We started as soon as we left Miami this morning and we have 170km cycled so far today. It has been a little though today as everyone is tired after the weekend. The fire works for the 4th of July Independence celebrations were very good last night. We had the best seat in the house on the flag deck of the ship. Our berth was literally a few hundred yards from the fireworks barge. We are all looking forward to getting home now so we are settled in for the journey back across the pond.

L.E.Niamh leaving Miami heading for home.

LE Niamh position 5th July

Captain's Journal Tuesday 6th July 2010

Position 31° 33N 73° 01 W. Wind SW 05kts. Temperature 27°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 25° C.

The weather is being good to us so far on our trip home. We are making 15knots which puts us in Cork Harbour on the morning of Thursday 15th July. I will keep you all updated as the days go by. It was the usual routine today, cleaning and tidying. The crew were getting the ship back to her normal high standard after our visit to Miami. The sponsored cycle is going well and we have now cycled 880km. To those of you who have contributed, we thank you and for those of you who have not it must be because you forgot the address to send the sponsorship. If you send it to Admin Officer, Naval Base, Haulbowline, Co Cork, we would really all appreciate it. Now that our trip is nearly at an end and all the functions are over I think there is one group of people I need to thank. They are our Logistics Staff. These servicemen and women make sure that everything we need to run the ship other than from an engineering perspective is onboard before we sail. They are also the crew who set up and cater for the official functions and serve at the official lunches. Without them a trip like this would not work as well as it does, they have been highly praised for the professional standard of their work by Ambassadors, Mayors, Governors, Top Businessmen, Admirals, Generals and all the Irish people who have been onboard during our voyage.
They are:-
A/Supply Brendan Quinn, L/Supply Richie Walsh, A/Supply David Paul Burns, A/Supply Carlene Deehan and SPO Noel Feeley.

I thank them for their hard work and dedication throughout this mission.

L.E.Niamh's position
Captains Journal Wed 07th July 2010

Position 35° 20N 66° 14W. Wind SE 18kts. Temperature 27°C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 25° C.

Another little bit closer to home. Painting on deck was the order of business today with the usual maintenance routines being followed below in the engine room. We had gun drill and some Naval Boarding Team exercises in the afternoon. There was a small emergency this afternoon in the gym. The bike we are using for the sponsored cycle from Miami to Cork decided it could not take the constant peddling anymore. Open heart surgery was performed by the engineering staff and within 30 mins they had the bike back up and running again. Well done to S/Lt Cathal Quigley and PO Alan Hamilton. Some of the crew have sworn they will never ride a bike again but they all know it is for a good cause. They are taking on the challenge with the usual enthusiasm they take on any task asked of them. We cycled another 570km in the last 24hrs so we are well on our way to achieving our objective, if the bike holds up.


L.E.Niamh's position
Captain's Journal Thursday 08th July 2010

Position 38° 13N 059° 56W. Wind SW 9kts. Temperature 28°C. Clear Sky. Seawater temperature 25° C.

We are 2299 nautical miles from home as I type this. Progress is good and the weather is perfect. Moral onboard is very good, everyone is delighted with the way the mission went and looking forward to being home this time next week.

The Miami to Cork cycle is going well and the bike is holding up just fine.
The featured group today are our Communications Branch. These are the crew members who keep us in touch with the rest of the world when we are out on patrol. They are very skilled at their job. They need to be able to establish and maintain good communications with the Naval Base or Defence Forces HQ even in the worst of weather and when the pressure is on to get the information across.

They are PO Commop (Communications Operative) Donal O’Niell, A/Commop Stephen Morrisey, A/Commop Catrina Fealty, A/Commop Pat Gallagher and PO RRT (Radio Radar Technician) Stephen Brannigan. The PO RRT is the person who fixes the equipment when it malfunctions.
The Executive Officer Lt Dave Fleming working at the computer

A/Sea Martin Carroll keeping lookout on the bridge.

L.E.Niamh passing over the wreck of RMS Titanic at 0635hrs Irish today Sat 10th July
Captain's Journal Saturday 10th July 2010

Position 41° 42N 049° 55W. Wind SE 17kts. Temperature 16°C. Foggy Night. Seawater temperature 18° C.

I am writing this journal at 0325(O) or 0625 Irish time as we have just passed over the final resting place of the famous Liner RMS TITANIC. Some of the crew members are Titanic enthusiasts and wanted to hold a little ceremony on deck to remember those who were lost. As most of you know the Titanic struck an iceberg just before midnight on the 14th of April 1912 and sank a couple of hours later on the 15th April. There were approximately 1500 people lost that night. Records at the time were not very clear and it is difficult to get an exact figure. Four members of the crew of LE NIAMH commemorated the occasion by leaving a paper rose, a ships plague and a message in a bottle at the position in which the TITANIC sank. S/Lt Weldon sang a song called the Ballad of John Williams. The song is about a young Irishman and his wife who “travel on the finest liner that was ever built by man. They say there is nought can sink her.” It only took us thirty miles off our track to pass over the position and it meant a lot to the crew members who took part in the ceremony.

A/Sea Darren Buckley (holding message in the bottle), S/Lt Quigley (holding ships plague),
A/Sea Amy O’Brien (holding the paper rose),S/Lt Jimmy Weldon (with guitar),

The cycle is going well. We are continuing to cycle 24hrs a day and are keeping up with the mileage that the ship is covering. It has been confirmed that we will be arriving at the Naval Base in Cork at 1400hrs on Thursday 15th of July. We look forward to seeing you all then.

Captain's Journal Sunday 11th July 2010

Position 45° 23N 041° 35W. Wind WSW 14kts. Temperature 16°C. Foggy Morning. Seawater temperature 16° C.

I have just finished the 0500 – 0600 shift on the bike. The crew are really finding it hard to keep the momentum over such a long period of time. Doing a 24hr cycle everyday for ten days is not easy. Of course they are sticking with it and will finish the job as always. The weather is reasonable at the moment. It is foggy but that is to be expected for this part of the Atlantic. We are expecting some rough weather for Tuesday but then again I suppose we are nearly back in Irish waters. Now that we are getting close to the end of our voyage there are a few people I would like to thank. Firstly, thank you to the Irish Government for having the foresight to send a Naval Service Ship on such a mission. I would like to thank the Flag Officer and Officer Commanding Operations Command for selecting LE NIAMH and her crew to represent Ireland in such an important deployment. The Defence Forces Press Office deserves a big thank you for keeping this Facebook page going for the past two and a half months, thank you Capt Pat O’Connor. These are just some of the people I would like to thank but we have a couple of days left yet so I will save some until tomorrow. Hope the banner making is going well, the plans for the arrival home celebrations are coming together nicely on the Naval Base.

LE Niamh's position this morning Sunday 11th July
S/Lt Ken Cosgrove cycling the 0400 to 0500 shift
The Captain cycled
0500hrs to 0600hrs
A/Supply Burns cyles the 0600 to 0700hr shift
Captain's Journal Monday 12th July 2010

Position 48° 18N 31° 56W. Wind W 24kts. Temperature 15 °C. Partially Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 14° C.

We are just about to transit the Mid Atlantic Ridge and then we will be back in familiar waters on our side of the Atlantic. The wind is starting to increase but it is on our port quarter so we are surfing along nicely. I am afraid our sponsored cycle from Miami to Cork will have to become the Miami to Mid Atlantic sponsored cycle, as our bike has given up the ghost and is no longer working! Even our fantastic engineering staff can’t breathe any life into it this time. I guess exercise bikes are not meant to be cycled 24hrs a day! The crew are naturally very disappointed, as we had already cycled 4460.68km, but we will be coming up with a creative way of finishing the challenge and making sure that the hard-earned sponsorship is put to worthy use.

In the photo today, we have some of our afore-mentioned engineering department. They have done a fantastic job throughout the voyage in keeping all of our life-support and mechanical systems in great shape. A ship is like a small town in terms of the infrastructural requirements on board, and the engineers ensure that our propulsion, electricity, heating, water purification, sewage treatment, and a whole host of other requirements are well-maintained. Of course, a lot of preparation was required prior to our departure. To that end, I would like to thank all the personnel on the Naval Base who helped support us both prior to, and during our mission. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday

Our Engineering Staff.
Left to right back row, A/Mech Neil Moriarty, S/Lt Cathal Quigley, Lt Des Murphy, CPO/ERA Billy Quinlan, PO/EA Cathal Forde, PO/Mech Dave Walsh. Front row left to right A/Mech Brian Patton, A/EA Derry Howley, PO/ERA Shane Tumulty.
LE Niamh's position today Monday 12th July
Captain's Journal Tuesday 13th July 2010

If your bike breaks down what do you do? You walk your bike home and repair it! That is what we have decided to do in order to complete our sponsored cycle from Miami to Cork. Each member of the team is going to do an hour running or walking on the treadmill in order to get us home. It is not an easy thing to do in the current weather conditions. We are in a strong gale 9 and unfortunately there is no where to hide. The gale is between us and Cork so we have to battle on. The ship is handling the large swell nicely and our arrival time is Cork Harbour is still 1400hrs on Thursday 15th July. We had two birthdays in the last two days. Yesterday A/Seaman Martin O’Sullivan was 26 yesterday and S/Lt Ken Cosgrove is 25 today. Happy birthday lads.

Leading ERA Gareth Smith jogging to Cork for Charity

LE Niamh's position today Tuesday 13th July
Captain's Journal Wednesday 14th July 2010

Captain’s Journal Wed 14h July 2010

Wind N 40kts. Temperature 14°C. Cloudy Sky. Seawater temperature 13° C.

There is no position picture today because we are back in our Area of Operations and the ships position is once again confidential The sea conditions have been very poor over the past couple of days. We have been through a strong gale but now it has reduced to a gale. There is no getting away from the fact that it has been tough. Most of the crew have only been able to get a few hours sleep over the past two days. It is fortunate that we have the sea on our beam because if we had to go straight into the sea it would seriously hamper our progress. Studies onboard the Research Ship Challenger has recently measured the largest waves ever recorded by scientific instrument in this area of the ocean a couple of hundred miles to the north of our track. These measurements not only surprised the scientists but also forced a review of wave modelling predictions that suggest such large waves should not exist with the consistency measured. Our own studies have proven that weather conditions in our Area of Operations are probably more severe than we had originally thought. That being said every one is in good form onboard and to be honest we are very willing to suffer the discomfort because we know we will be home tomorrow. It is my job to know what the ship can handle and what it can’t. The LE NIAMH has almost completed a remarkable undertaking for a small ship. It has been necessary to dodge hurricane Alex in the Caribbean and we have successfully navigated through the Straits of Magellan thereby avoiding some of the most hostile seas in the southern ocean. We are now getting a warm welcome home from the Northeastern Atlantic which is statistically the roughest seas in the world. The ship has handled this bad weather very well. It is these kinds of seas that she was designed to perform and she has certainly proven her worth over the past 48hrs. The only casualty of this bad weather is our sponsored cycle/run from Miami to Cork. I had to order that it be stopped yesterday evening due to safety concerns. It was becoming very difficult for the crew to stay on the treadmill because the ship was rolling 30 degrees in the heavy seas. It was a valiant effort though, as we cycled 4460kms and walked for 36 hours before we had to call it a day.

As we will be preparing for our arrival into Cork tomorrow, this will be the last post on facebook for this voyage. I thank all of you for becoming friends of the page and for following our progress. It has been an incredible journey, we have experienced heat and cold, calm and rough seas, met some great people. We have seen some beautiful sights and achieved all that we set out to do. I hope that this page has allowed you to share in our experiences. We look forward to seeing some of you tomorrow.

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LE Niamh Video's during her trip
LE Niamh Arrives in Buenos Aires LE Niamh at Gun Drill LE Niamh at the edge of Hurricane AlexMexican Navy Visit to LE Niamh

Niamh's arrival in Cork

See Picture Gallery ......(Not in daily order)