Dingle Bay Eco Tours is a 4 hour boat tour of the Blasket Islands and Dingle Bay with the opportunity to see whales, dolphins , seals, basking shark (in season), puffins and other marine wildlife and view the wonderful seascapes and landscapes off the west coast of Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way. The tour is informal and casual with experienced skipper and crew and wildlife guide on board. The vessel has a flying bridge for wildlife viewing and marine toilet on board.
The tour boat M.V. “Blasket Princess” departs from Ventry pier, Dingle, Co. Kerry every day at 13:00 hrs. weather and / or sea conditions permitting. Ventry pier – Ceann Trá – is 4 miles west of Dingle town on the Slea head drive, road R559 and on the Wild Atlantic Way. You can park in the village or 500 meters past the pier at the beach or on the pier.
The tour boat holds a maximum of 40 passengers, but usually less, and has 3 to 4 crew depending on the number of people expected for that day. This consists of the skipper, one crew, one wildlife guide for any questions and one spotter / marine biologist. The first part of the trip takes you out to Dingle Bay and on towards the Great Blasket island. The trip passes the seaward side of Dunbeg fort and on past Slea head and Couminole beach and Dunmore Head – the most westerly part of Ireland. We often see harbour porpoises on this part of the trip and sometimes common dolphins and Minke whales off Slea Head. We continue on to the Great Blasket island and moor off the island for a while with views of the old deserted village and the beautiful Trá Bán – White Strand. The skipper of the boat lived and fished from the Great Blasket island and he will give a brief description or answer any of your questions about this island outpost. The boat continues on to Carraig Fhada to view grey seals in the water or hauled out on the rocks. The Blasket Islands hold the biggest population of grey seals in Ireland.
The itinerary of the boat tour changes every day and like nature itself no two boat tours are the same and the skipper decides in real time where the best place to go is that day with the optimum chance to see wildlife taking into account the weather, sea conditions, sea swell etc and also taking into account passenger comfort and safety. The vessel is licenced by the Dept. of Transport for 44 passengers in total and has all the necessary life jackets, life rafts, safety and communication equipment and crew training.
The second part of the trip usually goes out to the mouth of Dingle Bay between the outer Blasket islands and Skellig Rock where some of the recent Star Wars – The Force Awakens was made. Depending on wildlife distribution and sea conditions the tour may go north past Sybil Head and The Dead Man ( island) or west beyond Tiaracht lighthouse – the most westerly lighthouse in Europe.
Puffins can be seen at Inishvickillaun between April and the end of July / beginning of August when they migrate back to the waters off Canada. At the start of the season April to May, when sea water temperatures are around 12 degrees Celsius, basking shark are plentiful in the area. They are the biggest fish in the North Atlantic and the second biggest in the world after the whale shark.
Of course the biggest highlight of the trip can be the appearance of killer whales or humpbacks but although we often see humpback whales on our trips we can never guarantee sightings.