Aquaventures has been a PADI Resort Dive Centre for 14 years and recently achieved 5* Dive Resort status, formerly Gold Palm Dive Resort. PADI 5* Dive Resorts excel in providing divers with memorable scuba diving experiences, customer satisfaction, diver safety and underwater environmental awareness by providing professional and outstanding service.
If wreck diving is what you're looking for then this section of coastline will not disappoint you. Most wrecks are between 10 minutes and 1 hour's boat journey from Baltimore harbour and lie in depths from 10 mtr to 90 mtr.
With the Gulf Stream warming these waters there is an abundance of marine life. Many divers now have their digital cameras and every nook and cranny of reef, wall and wreck will offer great photographic opportunities. Whether you choose the macro lens or wide angle be prepared for the unexpected colourful interactions that diving in these waters will throw at you!
Headlands & Islands
West Cork has a rugged coastline, riddled with islands, castles, harbours and inlets that provide a haven for seals and bird life. If the weather does not lend itself for an offshore adventure, then there is always the beautiful Roaringwater Bay, Carbery's 100 Isles, Kedges, Cape Clear, Sherkin as most islands provide a sheltered / lea side for calmer conditions.
Each day on the water brings a sense of mystery and discovery as you never know what you'll see. Whales, dolphins, seals, basking sharks, sunfish as well as gannets, shags, cormorants, kittiwakes, skuas, shearwaters and peregrine falcons.
Baltimore in West Cork offers something for anyone interested in diving adventure. The coastline lies squarely in the path of the Gulf Stream thereby offering unpolluted waters with an underwater flora and fauna that are luxuriant and colourful - a diver's paradise with spectacular drop-offs and an abundant marine life. Aquaventures offers courses from beginner level upwards with either PADI, BSAC or TDI. Qualified divers may wish to book individual space on the boats for specific dates. The dive centre has a well stocked shop, classroom, compressor room, equipment room and individual changing rooms for ladies & gents with hot showers and toilets. Your equipment can be serviced and your cylinders tested by the in-house technician.
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.
The best months to dive are between May and October, when the sea has had time to warm up and the visibility is at its best. 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 9 degrees C in the winter (February is normally the coldest month) to 17 degrees C in the autumn (September). Surface water temperatures can reach slightly more which makes it very pleasant for snorkelling in these waters. We need minimum numbers to run the boat(s) so check for availability and prices.
The shop, servicing of equipment & testing of cylinders is year-round.
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! Those not wishing to get in the water can enjoy Whale Watching or Eco Tours by bookings spaces on the boat(s) for half day trips (minimum numbers apply).
We provide diving courses for beginners with half and full day options for try dives or Discover Scuba Diving, to full qualification level courses known as Open Water Diver. There are several diving organisations to choose from and your ultimate choice may be influenced by where you will dive once qualified, how often, who with etc. Let Aquaventures guide you. Whichever option you take, be it PADI or BSAC, Aquaventures teaches only in very small groups (mostly 1 to 2 student per instructor) so you will have a personal instructor to take you through the basics of learning how to scuba dive.
Already Qualified and looking for either information in general or wishing to make a reservation for boat diving on specific dates please contact us by phone or email. We happily accommodate individual divers or groups, up to 24 in size using both boats. Single divers will be buddied up with another diver of a similar or higher grade of qualification & experience. However, logbook and qualification must be presented for the pre-dive registration (first time each year). If you've lost your qualification card PADI offer a replacement at a nominal charge (form).
Some dive sites and in particular wrecks offshore require high or low water slack, we will check tides for you. We strongly recommend that dive buddy pairs have an SMB & Reel between them for delayed deployment on ascent / deco or safety stop. These can be rented from us.
A diver making a reservation who has not been diving recently or lacks diving experience in cold water conditions must book to dive with an Instructor or Divemaster or conduct a Scuba Review first.
Shore diving is also an option and particularly useful for inexperienced divers wishing to build up their ability to dive independently with another qualified dive buddy. Aquaventures provides rental of all diving equipment and happily advices you on the best shore dive sites with easy access, depth, compass headings, likely marine life and topography etc. One of these is Lough Hyne, a nearby Nature Reserve. Permits must be obtained 10 to 14 days in advance and are rarely denied. No fee applies but each diver must have insurance cover of at least €3,000,000 (form).
If you just want to have a bit of fun in and on the water, then a guided snorkelling tour is just the ticket for you. Aquaventures runs these half day trips from their rhib to offshore islands or from the shore (depending on weather, availability etc) to inlets or a nearby nature reserve - the only salt water lake in Ireland and Europe's fist marine nature reserve. All equipment is provide, together with your personal instructor guide. There's a good chance that you'll have a seal or two (three, or more quite often too) play hide and seek with you and even have a go at nibbling the edge of your fin if you let them get real close! Round our shores we have the common (or harbour) seal and the Atlantic Grey Seal. the common seal has a distinct "dog like" snout, with a rather rounded head and tends to be smaller (1.5 to 1.8 mtrs) than the Atlantic Grey Seal which has a arched nose, thick neck and skin folds (and averages 1.8 to 2 mtrs in length). See a YouTube clip of the lovely interaction between seals and divers/snorkellers (by James Murphy O'Connor, a regular diver with Aquaventures) shot at the East Kedge Gulley where seal encounters are almost guaranteed year-round.
For groups or individuals wishing to book an excursion on the "Wave Chieftain" for a whale & dolphin or eco-tour, we have unpolluted waters, warmed by the Gulf Stream, pristine topography, colourful and spectacular scenery - and a great chance of seeing whales, dolphins, harbour porpoises, sunfish, seals & the occasional leatherback turtle as well as different types of birds.
In the early 1990s the Government declared its coastal waters a Whale & Dolphin Sanctuary (the first of its kind in Europe). The West Cork coast line is a feeding area for a number of whales and dolphins particularly between Galley Head and The Fastnet Lighthouse where 24 species have been sighted. From early May to late November you might see minke whales, fin whales and humpback whales whilst common dolphins and harbour porpoises are resident year-round. At other times you might see bottlenose dolphins, risso dolphins, killer whales (orca) and long-finned pilot whales. Although there are no guaranteed sightings, you'll have a great outing on board this large stable vessel with indoor and outdoor seating, a toilet on board, hot drinks, reference books, binoculars and all safety equipment under the Department of Marine licensing rules & regulations.
The image on the right was taken by Simon Duggan in November 2012. A good time of year to spot humpbacks, fin-whales and minkes is late October to early December. In 2012 we had breaches by humpbacks as well as logging, tail slapping and fluking, bubble-net feeding and playing "pantomime" with the whale-watchers on the boat. There were also hundreds of dolphins and gannets - the birds are always a great indicator that there is likely whale & dolphin feeding going on.
Aquaventures also offers Fastnet Lighthouse Sunset Tours on Wednesdays and Fridays (and on demand for the other evenings) with departure times obviously depending on the season. This 3.5 hour tour typically goes on the south side of Sherkin Island, across the Gasnanane Sound and south of Cape Clear before venturing across the Fastnet Sound to this beautiful lighthouse, one of the most exposed in the world. Built on An Charraig Aonair (or lonely rock) in the 1850s, known to emigrants as "the teardrop of Ireland". After circumnavigating the lighthouse we return to Baltimore harbour via Roaringwater Bay to see some of Carbery 100 Isles. Often on these trips we spot dolphins and whales as well as seals.
Sea angling is very popular in the Baltimore area, due mainly to the abundance of wrecks and deep clean waters of the Atlantic Ocean warmed by the Gulf Stream. Shark fishing normally begins in the middle of June and can run into October. The most common is the blue shark although porbeagle shark are also caught from time to time. Tagging and returning these contributes to scientific understanding of these relatively little-studied species. Blue shark tagged off Baltimore have been recaptured as far away as Barbados!
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, link or even a turbot, but the biggest prize of all is the common skate, which regularly exceeds 100 lbs (45 kg) in weight.
Price: €70 per person/day with a minimum boat charter cost of €500
Special offer for groups available, please email us for details.
On and In the water - you're in safe hands with us