Published: March 2005
Brian Skerry

What was your best experience in the field covering this story?

After finishing up a night dive off Inishmaan Island around midnight, a driver picked up my assistant and me to take us back to our bed and breakfast. We were dripping wet and cold. The stars were shining above, and the smell of peat moss burning in fireplaces was in the air. There was something wonderful about it all as we drove along those winding roads, sitting in the back of the old, rickety, pick-up truck.

What was your worst experience in the field covering this story?

After a 50-minute dive off Puffin Island, my assistant and I surfaced about 60 yards (55 meters) away from our dive boat. But the guys in our boat never saw us because of the glare from the sun and a strong ocean swell. The current ended up sweeping us farther out into the frigid sea.

Our guys called a lifeboat service and a coast guard helicopter, but again they didn't see us. After two and a half hours, a fisherman bringing back a tourist group from the Skellig Islands finally rescued us. He saw our emergency floats sticking up in the water, threw an old rope ladder over the side of his boat, and took us back to the dock. This wasn't anyone's fault, but just one of those things that happens.

What was your quirkiest experience in the field covering this story?

About five and a half years ago, the American singer Dusty Springfield passed away and had her ashes spread near the waters off Galway Bay. Six months later a female bottle-nosed dolphin showed up, and she's been there ever since. The local people named her Dusty, and on a dive I actually got to play with her. It was a magical event.