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Baltimore Sea Safari | Whale & Dolphin Watching

Humpback FlukingA Minke lunge feeding.A Minke whale.Minke calf surfaces near our boat.Passengers watch as a Basking Shark passes our boat.

Baltimore Sea Safari operates from the picturesque village of Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland - the gateway to Carberys Hundred Isles, an area of unspoiled natural beauty. Our Sea Safari boat trip is a coastal sightseeing tour around the many islands with whale, dolphin, seal and nature watching.

To date nearly one third of the worlds known whale, dolphin and porpoise species have been recorded in Irish waters. The waters off West Cork offer some of the best whale watching in Europe, with over 12 catacean species seen here over the past number of years. In 1991 Ireland declared its waters to be a whale and dolphin sanctuary, the first in Europe to do so. Our Sea Safari boat trips offer a great opportunity to view these mammals up close as you tour along the spectacular coastline. The Minke whale is usually seen inshore from May to December, and is the most frequently seen whale off our coastline. From July and August Fin whale, the second largest living animal, and Humpback whale start to appear. Common Dolphin are resident off our coasts for most of the year, although best sightings are from June when the mackerel appear inshore. Sightings of Bottlenose and Rissos dolphins are not uncommon, Harbour Porpoise are resident inshore all-year, and although they dont give energetic displays like dolphins they are a lovely sight to see. Another frequent visitor to our waters is the Basking shark, the Northern Hemispheres biggest fish (and an honorary catacean). These gentle giants are seen from April/May until late June, and are a sight not to be missed as they cruise gracefully along, filter feeding on plankton blooms. At other times you might see Orca (killer whale), Mola Mola Sunfish and Leatherback Turtles. Seal colonies are to be found along the coastline and on the islands, and we visit them during all of our trips, both the Atlantic Grey and the Common/Harbour Seal colonies. Passengers can listen to the sounds of the sea with our onboard hydrophone, and hear dolphins communicating.

Passengers must be aged 8 years or older.



May • June • July • August • September • October


Short (1-3 hours) • Half-day (3-6 hours) • Full day (6-9 hours) • Multi-day

Vessel types

Rigid inflatable • Small boat (0-50 passengers)

Times and prices

We operate our Sea Safari boat trips twice daily at 11am and 2pm. We add extra trips according to demand. Our Sea Safari trip is €25 per adult and €15 for children aged 8 to 14 years of age, with group rates also available.  Our boat is available for private charter, details on request.

Follow us on Facebook   

We post trip news, sightings and any changes to our schedule on our facebook page.                                             

About our skippers and naturalist guides

Owner/skipper Mícheál Cottrell being a native of Baltimore, and coming from a seafaring family has been around and working on the sea all of his life. Mícheál has huge appreciation and respect for the sea and sealife, that was instilled into him from a young age. Mícheál moved from sailing and boating as a child, to commercial fishing and working on offshore standby vessels, to owning and operating his own sea safari business, and he has gained vast experience along the way. He is also a crewman on both RNLI (rescue) lifeboats in Baltimore, and is a helm on the inshore lifeboat based there. 

A full on board commentary is provided on the wildlife that is encountered on each trip, and on the sights of interest and the fascinating history of the area. We adhere to and operate under the guidelines issued by the Dept of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources in Marine notice #15 of 2005, and by the code of conduct from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Our seal watching is carried out under guidelines set out by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Baltimore Sea Safari prides itself in the ability to provide maximum viewing for passengers without disturbing or interfering with the whales, dolphins, seals and other wildlife that we come across. All that we want to leave behind is our wake, and a respect and appreciation for these magnificant animals.

Mícheál contributes to several ongoing research projects. He reports his catacean sightings to the IWDG sightings scheme.  These reports help provide a better understanding of the wildlife seen through their behaviour, location, size etc.  He also reports the types of jellyfish that are seen, and the sizes of the swarms, along with Mola Mola Sunfish and turtle sightings to reasearchers in University College Cork. He also took part in a Basking Shark tagging programme with Irish Basking Shark Project, all so that researchers get a better understanding of wildlife encountered in our waters.

Read the reviews of Baltimore Sea Safari and skipper Mícheál on Trip Advisor.


Deck with 360?vision • Naturalist guide(s) as well as skipper • On board hydrophone • Onboard research • Posters / displays / maps • Public participation in research • Reading material available • Scenic backdrop to encounters • Support conservation • Use a code of conduct

We frequently

Listen to whales and dolphins • See leaping dolphins • Watch dolphins only • Watch whales and dolphins • Watch whales only

Baleen Whales

Minke Whale

Ocean Dolphins

Short-beaked Common Dolphin


Harbour Porpoise

Other wildlife and points of interest

Fin Whale, Humpback whale. Killer whale Bottlenose dolphin, Rissos dolphin Mola Mola Sunfish, Leatherback Turtle

Church Strand
Town / City
State / County
Co. Cork
Zip / Postcode
00353 28 20753
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2013 Responsible Whale Watch Partnership:Click here to read more about the partnership