Aquaventures is run by Jerry & Rianne Smith from a purpose built dive centre adjacent to The Stone House B&B. They started diving in 1973 and 1980 respectively and have been instructors jointly for over 75 years! Their enthusiasm however has not faded and it was 21 years ago when they decided that the best diving in Europe (the World if you are cold-water divers like them) was from this small but beautiful West Cork village called Baltimore.
The purpose built dive centre has equipment to rent, a well stocked shop, classroom, ladies & gents changing rooms with hot showers, a 20 cfm compressor with air bank, nitrox, trimix mixing panel with booster pump and an outdoor equipment rinsing and drying area. Aquaventures has its own 2 boats: an Offshore 125 with hydraulic divers' lift for 6 to 12 divers ideal for groups, techy diving or full day trips with 2 tanks per diver, and an 8.5 metre Rigid Hull Inflatable boat (Rhib) for 5 to 10 divers (single tank), powered by a diesel stern-drive which returns to the harbour in between 2 dives for refills and a lunch break.
Diving in these nutrient rich waters rewards with an abundance of marine life. As a sea-faring nation Ireland has many wrecks which in themselves attract an eco-system and there are numerous close to Baltimore suitable for all levels of qualified divers. Visibility is on average 10 mtrs and can reach 20+ on good days but less of course after stormy conditions. The water temperature ranges from 8 or 9 degrees C in the winter (February is normally the coldest month) to 16 or 17 degrees C in the autumn (September). Surface water temperatures can reach slightly more which makes it very pleasant for snorkelling in these waters. Alternatively there are guided snorkel tours to Lough Hyne's rapids in Europe's first designated marine nature reserve - great for a family outing with younger kids.
West Cork is the feeding ground for some large species such as fin, humpback and minke whales. We also have sightings of dolphins, harbour porpoises, sunfish, basking sharks and leatherback turtles during our boat journeys out and an opportunity to swim with seals. Students on an introduction level course are often distracted when seals play hide & seek with them or get close enough to nibble a fin or two!
If getting wet (diving or snorkelling) does not appeal to you but you're still interested in going out on the water then you might prefer our Whale & Dolphin Tours instead. We take between 8 and 12 people on a half day trip offering the comfort of a large stable boat with a huge deck area and benching as well as indoor cabin and hot drinks. Alternatively for smaller groups we offer Marine Nature or Eco Tours with the rhib (between 5 and 12 passengers) where your close proximity to the water and shallow draft allows access close to the shore line, with cave entrances, inlets and gullies for close-ups to marine & bird life, or just the thrill of being on the water. Although there are no guaranteed sightings we do benefit from the nutrient rich waters influenced by the Gulf Stream in this particular area of coastline. You therefore have a good chance of spotting marine life (year-round seals, dolphins, harbour porpoises & minke whales
/ end of May, early June basking sharks
/ June to September mola mola (better known as sunfish) and the very occasional leatherback turtle / mid October to late November fin whales & humpbacks).
During the summer and autumn the hardboat Wave Chieftain has space for 12 passengers on the sunset tours to the Fastnet Lighthouse (scheduled trips on Wednesdays and Fridays and "on demand" for the other evenings). Departure times obviously depend on the actual sunset predicted times and spaces should be reserved to avoid disappointment of over-bookings. This is a beautiful boat trip along the south coast of Sherkin & Cape Clear Island and across the Fastnet sound with circumnavigation of the Fastnet Rock at least once if not twice to let everyone get a good view of the lighthouse and take pictures. Subject of course to weather and minimum numbers.
Current price list