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OutdoorNI.com does Causeway Coast Sea Safari

Posted on May 18, 2011 @ 2:24 PM in Adventure

OutdoorNI.com Does Causeway Coast Sea Safari is the latest in our regular blog feature ‘OutdoorNI.com does…’ which is our opportunity to showcase the exciting outdoor activities available in Northern Ireland.

Chris Scott spent an afternoon taking in the sights and sounds of Northern Ireland’s North Coast with Aquaholics on a high speed sea safari.  Just one of the many Activity Ideas available on OutdoorNI.com


Causeway Coast Sea Safari

I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the North Coast over the past few years either walking the Causeway Coast Way or cycling sections of the Larne to Ballyshannon long distance cycling route, hence I was really keen to see this stunning coastline from a completely different angle.  

My guide for the day was Richard Lafferty of Aquaholics, who met me and the rest of the excited passengers with a warm welcome at Ballycastle Marina.  Within minutes we were fitted with life jackets and helped aboard the 11 metre boat which comfortably seated the 12 passengers.

Both Richard’s great sense of humour and local knowledge became obvious as he outlined the plan for the next two hours – Kenbane Castle, Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, White Park Bay, the Giant’s Causeway, guillemots, shags, fulmars and maybe even a chance porpoise.  As soon as we were clear of the marina walls it quickly became evident why this was called a high speed sea safari, the passengers grip tightened to white knuckles as the boat accelerated to about 30 knots (35mph).  This may seem quite slow to those who have never experienced a high speed boat trip but I can assure you it is not.

Despite the speed the boat is relatively comfortable as it bounces along the ocean waves, there are softer seats inside the cabin but everybody was happy to sit outside and enjoy the excellent weather.  The dominant cliffs at Fair Head quickly shrank into the distance as we headed went past Kenbane Castle en route to the famous Carrick-a-rede rope bridge.

We certainly turned the heads of those high above, patiently waiting in queue to cross the rope bridge, Richard carefully maneuvered the boat to give us all the best photo opportunity whilst imparting his local knowledge.  Having crossed the bridge many times I only actually appreciated how high it was looking up, to be honest I was never brave enough to look down.


Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge

As we continued our high speed blast along the coast, I took the opportunity to chat to some of my fellow passengers each there for their own reasons. The wildlife lovers enjoyed the swooping guillemots, the budding historians marveled at the hidden stories, amateur geologists the rock formations and for some it was simply the speed, sun and spray.

Port na Spaniagh was certainly my highlight, the headland had an eerie feel generated by the knowledge that nearly 1,300 sailors perished when the Spanish Galleon ‘Girona’ was swept onto the rocks in 1588.  To the untrained eye it just looked like another headland but Richard was really able to bring the area to life.  Not only was he able to explain how the tragedy occurred but also provided a wonderful an insight into sailors that survived, the treasure buried beneath and the extravagant Belgian diver Robert Sténuit who uncovered most of the gold in 1967. If only history lessons at school had been like this – it was much more Pirates of the Caribbean than text books and black boards.

The trip was billed as ‘…the only way to see the whole Giant’s Causeway’ and it certainly didn’t disappoint. To many the Giant’s Causeway is the short stretch of hexagonal rocks to which thousands of tourists flock each year, having been there a few times I have always returned home a little under whelmed.  However the perspective from the boat shows it is so much more. As with any work of art it is important to step back to take time to appreciate it, something you can never do at the Giant’s Causeway as you are standing on it! Floating 100 metres off shore provided the perfect angle to encapsulate nature’s work of art including the Grand Causeway, the Chair, the Organ and the Amphitheatre!


Giant's Causeway


The two hours flew by, made so much more comfortable by the great weather which obviously can’t always be guaranteed but I’m sure the Aquaholics team could make up for that! 


14 Portmore Road,
BT55 7BE
028 7083 2584

Trips depart from both Portstewart, Portrush and Ballycastle

Cost: Trips start at £20pp

Session duration: 2 hours.  However longer trips can be arranged.

Each trip can have up to 12 passengers. No minimum numbers required, Booking Essential

Suitable for: 

Recommend ages 8 years and above, under 16's need to be accompanied with adult.


Chris Scott
Chris Scott

When not boring everyone about his little kids’ latest antics, Chris enjoys sailing and cycling, if only to offset his love of eating out and Marlborough Cabernet Sauvignon..

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