Discover Kenmare Bay on a Seafari Boat Trip
Entertainment for all – Seafari Boat Trip
From age 3 to 93 a Seafari boat trip has something of interest for everyone.
The cruise leaves the picturesque Kenmare Harbour pier and voyages west down the bay which is sheltered by the Beara peninsula to the south and the Iveragh (Ring of Kerry) peninsula to the north. A special Seafari boat trip sweet or lollipop helps you to relax at the start of the cruise. The length of the cruise depends on the weather and tides and normally varies between 6 and 10 miles. There is much to see and observe and we like to take our time.
If you are particularly interested in the wildlife ask if we will be running any of our special low “spring tide” trips. These trips last longer due to the fact that we have to leave 2 hours before low tide and can only return 1 hour after low tide due to the “drying out” of the harbour area. We also see more shore-side wildlife such as seals, otters and foxes on these cruises! During ordinary “neap tides” ask for the time of the low tide cruises.
From the bay you will have unobstructed and splendid panoramas of the Cork and Kerry Mountains all around and later in the cruise a view of the open Atlantic ocean away to the west.
Informative and fun
A comprehensive commentary given by the captain and guides who have a wealth of information ensures that there is not a dull moment on the cruise. The commentary is interspersed with traditional music and song and plenty of humour which enforces the holiday/fun time atmosphere.
Cruise routes vary constantly depending on tidal levels and weather. There are many islands on the bay, interesting channels and passages which constantly alter the surroundings. The many different habitats from seaweed covered shorelines to lush forests and interesting rock formations constantly provide interest and photo opportunities. The variation in habitats in and around the bay means that you will see a wide variety of fauna and flora. You will see birds from the open sea, forest birds and fresh water birds. We often see seals, foxes and deer on the one cruise and sometimes dolphins if we are lucky.
Castles and culture
The rich historical heritage of Ireland and Kerry means that the area around the Kenmare Bay is more richly endowed with a rich variety of historically important sites, stone monuments and castles than any other part of Europe.
And all around the bay we are surrounded by rural Ireland and its traditions. On the islands you will see the remains of pre-famine habitations. On the shore you will see the remains of oyster shells gathered by local fisher-folk up to 5,000 years ago. On the mountains you will see fields which were created long ago by the farmers carrying seaweed from the shore so as to fertilise the poor mountain soil. You will see the farmers cutting the hay and the potato gardens or lazy-beds which grow especially well alongside the sea.
The seal “rookery” is without doubt the major attraction on the cruise and Seafari prides itself on being the most seal friendly eco cruise in Europe. There are approximately 150 common or harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in the inner bay where we cruise and during the summer months we often see up to a 100 of these wonderful creatures sunning themselves on any one of the rocky islands. Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) are also seen from time to time. The common seal pups are born during late June and July and this is without doubt the most exciting time for us on Seafari.
We see the young pups being fed by their mothers on the shore, the pups hanging onto their mothers’ backs when they are learning to swim and catch fish. When we approach the seals we insist on “seal watching mode” which means everybody is seated and as still as possible so as not to frighten the seals. The seals are quite used to the Seafari ship and as long as everyone on the boat can be still and quite we usually get the best possible “seal encounter” possible.
Seafari is the only seal-watching ship in Europe to have witnessed the birth of a seal pup during one of our cruises with a full compliment of visitors on board – a truly memorable experience. So, we don’t see seals being born every day but we can promise a truly memorable and enjoyable experience for all, that, we can guarantee.
White Tailed Sea Eagles
Seafari is delighted to have witnessed regular sightings of the magnificent white-tailed sea eagle which has been recently re-introduced to Ireland. Guests on board have been thrilled to witness these birds from the Seafari boat. Sightings data gathered on board helps the project measure the progress of the re-introduction programme.
Mid-way or after watching the seals we serve the complimentary tea, coffee, cookies and a special “tot” of medicine for anyone that might feel the need for it. Usually everybody enjoys the medicine and the traditional Irish toast and song that follows.
The commentary continues on the return voyage to Kenmare pier and if you have questions to ask about anything on the bay or on your mind, the guides are eager and happy to chat and inform. A friendly puppet might enliven any kids getting bored or sleepy at this stage! There are also special treats for any birthdays, newlyweds, anniversaries or any couples just feeling “rosemantic”.
So, enough said. See you on the pier.