My experience aboard the Pelican of London as a Scientist in Residence: Ireland Edition

Hello everyone. I recently spent about a week and half aboard the Pelican of London as a Scientist in Residence from a voyage from Cork, Ireland, to the Scilly Isles, Schull, Kinsale, then back to Cork. I met an amazing voyage crew, and a boarding school group from the Sussex, UK area.

Off the Scilly Isles, Courtesy of Jack M Dignan. July, 2022.

I live in New York, and had never been outside the U.S. prior to this incredible experience. I have also never sailed or been on a large boat (more than 22ft) before either. It was the experience of a lifetime!

I am a degreed meteorologist working for Fleetweather in the role of marine router, and as part of my daily job, I forecast and route all types of vessels all over the world! I was able to experience what life is like “on the other end of those forecasts.” It was a good learning experience for me to be the ‘end user’ of our forecast products.  The shore-side operations team at Fleetweather also sent forecasts to the Pelican of London for this voyage, and I was able to look at these forecasts and compare them to the actual experienced weather aboard the vessel. I also installed a weather station donated by Fleetweather aboard the Pelican of London, for Seas your Future to keep and use in the future for data collection.

As the Meteorologist aboard the vessel, I was there to assist the Master, Crew, and anyone else as needed with any weather related questions. Furthermore, I was happy to be able to hold weather talks and have extensive conversations with anyone who had questions or was interested in what I do! I also participated and led the taking of weather observations aboard the ship with those interested, as well as taking part in different watches. I had very interesting conservations and connected with some very interesting people (some with very different interests than my own). I also participated whenever I could in helping with the maintenance/cleaning of the ship, and sail training.

Celtic Sea. July 10th, 2022.  Pictured:  Captain Ben Wheatley

We were very lucky and had some amazing weather for the week and a half during the voyage. Mostly sunshine and cooler temperatures. One day/night we had rough seas enroute to the Scilly Isles, and for someone who had never sailed before, trying to get to sleep that night was tough. On a different morning we had thick fog and rain. I watched first hand how the Master/Crew used their expertise to handle and conquer whatever was in front of them.

This trip surely was a once in a lifetime experience and allowed me to put my Meteorological knowledge into a real life perspective. I got to experience what life on a ship is like, and sail for the first time. I now know the amount of hard work that goes into maintaining and operating a sailing ship. Teamwork is the key, and I made some incredible friendships. 

Kinsale, Ireland. July 11th, 2022.

The skills I took away from this experience can apply to my everyday life and job, and include: 

  • The ability to adapt to rapidly changing environments.
  • Working as a team toward a greater goal
  • Furthering my understanding of how important an accurate forecast and safe route for the vessel is, and how a vessel uses them, as well as better understanding of how a Master and crew think when navigating the vessel and planning routes. 

This was an experience I will definitely never forget, and one I highly recommend to anyone if you have the opportunity!

Thanks to Seas Your Future and Fleetweather for making this opportunity possible!

Off the Scilly Isles, Courtesy of Jack M Dignan. July, 2022.

Off the Scilly Isles, Courtesy of Jack M Dignan. July, 2022.

Celtic Sea. July 6th, 2022.

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