As well as the list of below Water Sports & Marine Based Activities to enjoy in this area, there are also many more activities to be sampled and things to do in West Cork
Water Sports & Marine Based Activities in Baltimore, West Cork
Because of its maritime tradition, Baltimore is well known as the Water Activities Capital of Ireland. Activities to be enjoyed by the whole family include sailing around Roaring Water Bay, swimming especially on the beautifull beaches of Sherkin & Heir Island, snorkelling in Baltimore Harbour & Lough Ine, kayaking and diving on the South West Coast of Ireland, shore fishing & Sea Angling with spectacular scenery, unpolluted waters and wrecks galore.
There's sea angling for everything from mackerel to tuna. Baltimore is especially well known for its shark and common skate fishing, both of which can produce a fish of well over 50kgs in weight.
Hire a self drive boat and be independent for a pleasant cruise around the harbour or a picnic on a beautiful sandy beach or cove nearby.
The varied bird life is well done around the area. Sometimes these can be seen from the shore, notably from Cape Clear Island, but the best view is from a boat where there is also the chance of seeing whales, dolphins, basking sharks, seals or even a leatherback turtle.
Baltimore - Ireland's Sailing Centre
Of all the attractions that Baltimore offers, sailing is possibly the best known, but sailing in Baltimore doesn't just mean expensive off-shore cruises, crewed by visiting yachtsmen. At the core of the sport are the numerous dinghy sailors who find the harbour and the islands an unbeatable source of relaxation and fun.
The true delight of sailing in Baltimore is to visit some of the many islands which dot the waters of Roaringwater Bay. A beautiful summer's day; a picnic in one of the coves between Baltimore and Schull; a voyage to Cape Clear or Heir. Heavenly!
If you're not a keen sailor, maybe try kayaking (sea or lake) or hire a boat with an engine to explore the harbour. Baltimore has three Sailing Schools:
Baltimore Sailing School
Established in 1974. Under the local supervision and ownership of the Kennedy Family. A week or fortnight at the school will not only teach and introduce you to the art of sailing , but will provide you with an unforgettable holiday. Courses which run from June – September take place in wonderful Baltimore harbour and the region of Carbery’s 100 Isles. Most of the islands are uninhabited and are a wonderful place to spend a day. www.baltimoresailingschool.com
Glenans Sailing Club
Glenans sailing Club is one of the largest, oldest and most popular training schools in Ireland. Located in Baltimore in the heart of one of Europes finest sailing areas, they offer a wide range of courses from complete novices to instructor level. Courses are also of varying durations from weekends upwards depending on what you require.
The Railway Station which is their base, overlooks the bay and is busy all season long. Land-based cruising sailors on Beginner and Improver courses live in the Station Master’s House which offers basic, clean and comfortable hostel style accommodation. Live-aboard cruising sailors provision their boats in Baltimore, practice manoeuvres in the bay, and then set forth to roam the Cork and Kerry coastline, wherever the wind may blow.
Teaches young sailors with the old IYA skills. Now, under the ISA Junior Sailing Scheme, as many as three, three week courses for levels 1 to 5 are held during the summer with a total of up to 120 young sailors passing each year. Many fully qualified instructors are required to train and supervise this great effort with lots of boats on the water each day.
The Mirror dinghy continues to be the principal training craft. However a one week Optimist Class training has also been held for the last 8 years. The main types of dinghy now racing regularly in the club are Mirrors, Lasers, Toppers, Optimists and Wayfarers.
Deep Sea Diving Baltimore West Cork
Approximately three thousand people are drawn to Baltimore every year to dive on the shipwrecks, reefs, and other scenic locations.
Lough Ine Baltimore West Cork is one such site. It is extraordinary in that it has an abundance of sea life, as well as fresh and sea water.
It has an unusual tidal flow in that the tide takes about eight hours to go out but only four hours to come in again, due to the narrow channel through which the sea enters and leaves.
Interested in diving and water adventure in the Baltimore area, Aquaventures offers something for everyone.
Deep Sea Angling in Baltimore South West Ireland
The picturesque fishing port of Baltimore is in County Cork, 60 miles (97 km) south west of Cork city, situated at the point where the Gulf Stream meets the rugged south west coast. This is the southern tip of Ireland, sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds yet as close as possible to deep water. So it's not surprising that Baltimore is one of Ireland's top deep sea angling centres, with a fleet of well-equipped modern charter boats and an international reputation for reef, wreck and shark fishing.
With a good run of shark beginning around mid-June and often continuing into October, blue shark are one of Baltimore’s prime attractions for the angler. Warm weather offers the best prospects and, when there are plenty of shark about and an experienced skipper to guide you, stand a chance of catching one. The porbeagle shark, though much less common than the blue, also features in catches from time to time.
As at other ports around the West Cork coast, angling skippers at Baltimore tag sharks and then return them safely to the sea. Blue shark tagged off Baltimore have been recaptured as far away as Barbados! When you go fishing, you are assisting the tagging programme and contributing to scientific understanding of these relatively little-studied fish. Shark fishing apart, deep sea angling usually takes one of two forms: drifting with feathers or artificial lures or ground fishing at anchor with mackerel bait. The former tends to produce hectic sport with pollack, cod , mackerel, etc, while the latter affords a good chance of something really hefty. It might be a big conger eel, ling or even a turbot, but the biggest prize of all is the common skate, which regularly exceeds 45 kg in weight. Like shark, these superb fish are tagged and released.
Wreck fishing is another option. The wrecks tend to be well offshore in deep water and the outsize fish that haunt them notably conger, ling, pollack, coalfish and cod must be prevented from gaining sanctuary in the wreck. So this kind of angling is perhaps not for the beginner, but for the more experienced angler, it is one of the most exciting forms of the sport.
Whatever kind of fishing you choose, sometimes the day s catch will include a less familiar fish, such as Longfin Tuna. These visitors from warmer seas arrive courtesy of the Gulf Stream. In recent years anglers have also started to target tuna. A number of longfin tuna, or albacore, have been taken on rod and line south west of Baltimore, West Cork. Tuna fishing is not yet an established part of the angling scene, but it could become one in the future.
Modern angling boats have powerful engines, sophisticated electronics, and all kinds of safety equipment. They carry anglers to and from the fishing grounds fast and safely. Individual anglers are welcome and skippers always do their best to accommodate them, though boats can also be chartered privately by families or groups. Fishing tackle may be hired on board and if advice is needed the skipper will be happy to help.
Boat anglers of an independent disposition may prefer to hire a self-drive boat or they may already have one of their own. Small boats are well suited to explore the large expanse of relatively sheltered water bounded by the islands that lie between Baltimore and Schull. The area also gives charter boats a unique alternative to the open sea if the weather is unhelpful. Mackerel, pollack, ray, small flatfish and dogfish make up much of the catch, though larger fish like tope are possible.
Good fishing should not be taken for granted. And, whatever you catch, a day at sea, against the backdrop of cliffs of Baltimore West Cork and the islands with their teeming populations of birds and other wildlife, is certain to prove a memorable one. Catching bait is seldom a problem. The Mackerel shoals appear off Baltimore in April and remain inshore until November. Sandeels and small Coalfish are also abundant and easily caught. And it's not just the fishing that you will enjoy. The clear blue sea and rugged coastline are a pleasure in themselves. Don't be surprised if you are visited by a school of dolphins, whales or even a leatherback turtle weighing more than half a ton (508 kg).
Charter Boats from Baltimore West Cork -
Individual anglers are welcomed, though a whole boat can also be chartered privately. Most boats carry a maximum of between 8 and 12 anglers. For larger parties two or more boats may be arranged.
Sea-Kayaking in West Cork
Sea kayaking is becoming more and more popular as an exciting outdoor activity. Though a considerable amount of skill and experience is required for ocean seas and difficult weather, kayakers can quickly learn the sport under the guidance of Atlantic Sea kayaking here in Baltimore, West Cork in the calm waters of Lough Ine, Barlogue, and Roaring Water Bay.
Weather conditions, tides, currents and many other factors must be closely observed for safety.
Like all outdoor activities, learning how to paddle a sea kayak can seem difficult at first, but given the proper training and conditions, it is easy to learn. The equipment is designed to be very stable and easy to use. Most people are comfortably kayaking within the first few minutes on the water. It is a thrilling experience to propell yourself silently across the surface of the sea, admiring the beauty of West Cork. If you are generally fit you can do it.
Groups of friends love to go away together and an increasing trend within the 25-40 age group is activity breaks in Ireland. And Baltimore in West Cork is one of the centres of activity holidays in Ireland with its rich variety of maritime activities. Surprisingly, West Cork marine wild life has been compared to that of New Zealand and National Geographic Adventure magazine dubbed West Cork as the New Zealand of Europe. Over twenty species of whales pass through these waters every year. Sea kayaking is the fastest growing water sport in the world and the unspoilt coastline of West Cork suits it perfectly. The sheltered harbour in Baltimore is one of the safest around and kayakers can expect clear waters and lots of small islands to discover.
A great way to orientate yourself to Baltimore is to take a short walk to the Baltimore Beacon. The unique signal tower sits proudly at the head of Baltimore harbour and from this vantage point potential kayakers can get some idea of the beauty of the coastline that they will soon be exploring. Baltimore itself is also worth some exploration before taking to the waves.
Former British and Irish Kayaking champion Jim Kennedy runs Atlantic Sky Kayaking. Safety is paramount when kayaking in the sea and people of all experience levels are catered for. Kayakers can expect to stop off at ancient castles, sea caves and hopefully see an abundance of marine life such as seals, dolphins and even whales. One thing is for sure, kayaking is hungry work and after a day at sea it will definitely be time for a nice meal.
Part of the attraction of West Cork is the diverse range of marine wildlife that can be viewed from a kayak. Whale Watch West Cork offers boat trips around the coastline and the good news is that your kayak can be loaded onto the boat and once you get out to sea you can hop back in the kayak from a close up view of the marine life. Whale and even shark sightings are common but even if you are unlucky enough not to spot one, the abundance seals and sea birds will more than make up for the disappointment.
10 Useful Baltimore Links: