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Night Time Kayaking with Bioluminescence!

When people ask us what we loved about Ireland, this is one of several things that I mention loving... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
redhead_roaming
,
Seattle, Washington
Fantastic Experience Night Kayaking with Emily and Andy on Lough Hyne

My wife and I spent ten days on a road trip vacation in Ireland in September, flying from the U.S... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Rich H
,
Cataumet, Massachusetts, USA
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All reviews lough hyne jim kennedy reen pier west cork magical experience night paddle bioluminescent plankton clear night getting wet waterproof gear salt water lake magical night open sea pitch dark starry sky sea life meeting point
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Reviewed 1 week ago

While researching things to do in Ireland, the Moonlight / Starlight Experience was one of the top attractions, if not the #1 attraction on the TripAdvisor site. It sounded very compelling, offering a unique experience that is hard to find elsewhere in Ireland. The website did warn that trips may be cancelled due to adverse weather, but we felt the odds were low, given our early August visit date.

Silly us! This is, after all, Ireland, the emerald island. We didn't get a hard, driving rain the night of the trip, but there was a heavy drizzle with a breeze that reduced visibility to about 100 yards. When we stepped out of the car at Reen Pier, we were soaked in about 5 minutes. My wife asked the tour guide where we suited up with wet suits (we have recreationally kayaked in four other countries). The guide said that they use rain gear to keep their guests from getting wet at all, as we stood in front of him dripping wet.

Granted, we were asked to arrive somewhat early to get suited up. Unfortunately, we arrived about 15 minutes late largely due to the drizzle, the poor visibility, and very generalized directions given with the reservation. The other guests on the trip were just getting done with their paddling practice and the guides were putting the boats in the water.

Given that we were soaked to the bone on a rather brisk, breezy night and we couldn't see the far shore of the lake, we just couldn't fathom seeing either starlight, moonlight, or bioluminescent algae. We also didn't want to hold up the other guests who were close to pushing off from the shore.

We asked if we could reschedule or perhaps get a partial refund. The male lead guide was very agitated, presumably at our late arrival, our canceling, and then our suggestion about getting a partial refund. The female guide was much more understanding, offering to call the owner for his input. When she couldn't reach him, she gave us the phone number to call the next day.

As it turns out, we tried three times to contact the owner by phone and e-mail, with absolutely no response. That left a bad taste in our mouths, especially since we were out US$300 for our party of six. Granted, the company can't control the weather and they couldn't survive if they cancelled every trip that had a certain amount of rain. We aren't opposed to kayaking in the rain, having lived in Oregon, but we were opposed to simply paddling in the black of the night without seeing the main amenities that were touted for this trip. And certainly, it would have been nice to at least get a courtesy call telling us we were out of luck on getting a partial refund.

So, lessons learned: 1) Don't expect the weather to be perfect, since the odds are against you in a country that averages 40" of rain a year, 2) we were smart enough to stay in Skibbereen based on advice from another TripAdvisor review, but even so, it was difficult to find Reen Pier in the drizzle and poor visibility -- don't rely on the company's directions and scout out the location in advance of the trip, since it is not a leisurely drive off a well-marked N-road, 3) if you miss the trip or cancel, don't expect any sort of partial reimbursement.

Thank Desp76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AtlanticSeaKayaking, Owner at Atlantic Sea Kayaking, responded to this reviewResponded yesterday


Reviews and feed back are essential to us, as in any business so thank you for taking the time to do so.
Firstly it seem we are in a stale mate situation where communication is concerned as we tried to phone you next day after we were informed by our guides that you decide not to go on the trip and we could not reach you.
We never received an email so it may be out there somewhere in hyper space.

As it turned out the Bioluminescence that night was amazing, the darker the night the stronger it often is.
We do our very best to make every trip memorable and the very best it can be .
Sometimes people come with huge expectations after reading other reviews . We always try and deliver on these expectations.
On our web site in FAQs
There is lots of information about weather , clothing , cancellation, in fact everything we can think of that our visitors need to know.
Also in your conformation that you got there are detail of clothing, co ordinates of location for your GPs . A link to the location for Google Map as well as written physical description of where it is.
On the night the weather was damp, no wind , there was no danger what so ever it was a good night for a night kayaking experience.
Of course as I said we try and make every trip as amazing as possible and pride ourselves in our visitors going away happy.
We would be delighted if some time you are in the area you would come along and join us again and give us another chance to let you experience the amazing night trip .
Of course it would be complementary for you and your friends.
Jim

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

When people ask us what we loved about Ireland, this is one of several things that I mention loving the most. I forget exactly how I stumbled upon this place but I think it was on someone's blog. I started to see it pop up here and there on other blogs as well and suddenly, I knew we had to do it. I think it was around €100 for the two of us, which was ridiculously cheap in my opinion. We made it our last stop of the day after doing the Rock of Cashel and the Blarney Castle/Stone on a Monday in May 2018.

There were about 9 of us total for our 9pm meet, though my husband and I didn't know anyone else. I think there were 3 guides that came with us, making it an even 12. They got us all dressed up and explained how to use the oars. We had been kayaking a number of times but it was a nice reminder as to how to do it properly.

We learned so much amazing information about the lake and why it's so unique. After we got home, I tried researching it more and it was hard to find anything. I would love to know more about the lake because it was so cool!

They led us out onto the lake. The sunset was at 9:20 so the sky was light for a bit as we made our way across, allowing us time to get comfortable before the night set in. We had made our way across most of the lake when they had us link us to chat about the lake. Finally, they said to wiggle our fingers in the lake. Suddenly, greenish-blue light sparked and I realized we were going to have a lucky night full of the Bioluminescence, as that's not always the case! They told us to stay near the shore, where it was darkest from the overhanging trees and I felt like we were in a Disney movie, with the kayak slicing through blue glittering water (not an exaggeration). Every once in a while, you'd see a big flash of blue, which was apparently from some sort of shrimp that is also bioluminescent.

My only bit of feedback is to maybe be more conscious of photography. We left the kayaking trip with zero pictures. After kayaking, we stopped by the edge of the water and tried to capture some Bioluminescence in a video but got nothing but darkness and the sound of me swishing the water. The only reason I kept the video is to remind us that we did this because in years to come, we might forget. I emailed the company a couple weeks later, to ask if they had any pictures they had taken in general of the bioluminescent that I could have but they never responded to my email. Maybe offering to take pictures, especially since they recommended we leave our phones behind in our cars, would be nice. Otherwise, this trip was amazing and having the memories is still better than nothing!

Thank redhead_roaming
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

My wife and I spent ten days on a road trip vacation in Ireland in September, flying from the U.S. to Shannon, and traveling from Dingle to Cork/ Cobh. While planning the trip, I searched for attractions in the Cork/ West Cork area on TripAdvisor, and Atlantic Sea Kayaking popped up. After reading about the night kayaking experience on Lough Hyne in Skibbereen, we decided to stay one night near there and arrange a night of kayaking. The staff at Atlantic Sea Kayaking were very helpful with the booking and payment, and they let us know the arrangements every step of the way, even when the location changed from Reen Pier to Lough Hyne the day of the kayaking due to weather conditions. We met Emily and Andy at Lough Hyne along with about 15 others on a damp night. We were given rain gear and cockpit covers, and were assured that their goal was to keep us dry. Sure enough, we had a comfortable time without getting wet. We have kayaked before (although not at night), but experience isn't necessary. The tour around the Lough was interesting with stories of the lore and the marine life. The Bio luminescent algae was incredible and even more so as the night wore on. The area is very dark at night and we experienced a sense of peace and solitude as we stopped during the tour. This experience is a must-do if you're near Skibbereen. Thanks to Atlantic Sea Kayaking for making our time a special one!

Thank Rich H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AtlanticSeaKayaking, Owner at Atlantic Sea Kayaking, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Thank you Rich for taking the time to comment and let TA and its followers know about us ,
Hope the rest of your adventure went well .
It is really rewarding for our staff to hear the feed back good and bad.
Hope too see you again sometime I am sure we will meet people who have read this review.
Again appreciate the comments
Jim

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Reviewed October 2, 2018

A great weekend with Jim and his team learning the basics of kayaking in beautiful Union Hall - We are delighted with all we learned on this course and will certainly sign up for the next level course with Atlantic Sea Kayaking.

Thank S5740BCrichard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AtlanticSeaKayaking, Owner at Atlantic Sea Kayaking, responded to this reviewResponded October 4, 2018

Great you enjoyed the experience and thank you for letting us know . Hope to see you again .
Jim Kennedy

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Reviewed September 30, 2018 via mobile

We did the daytime kayaking in Reen Pier as well as night kayaking on Lough Hyne and I must say we were amazed! Reen Pier is a beautiful location and you get some amazing views during the trip.

Night kayaking at Lough Hyne is even more incredible - the glowing plankton and the darkness is something you'll never forget.

We had amazing guides both times with great stories and a friendly attitude.

It's also suitable for beginners and every fitness level.

I would definitely come and do it again!

Thank SaphireN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AtlanticSeaKayaking, Owner at Atlantic Sea Kayaking, responded to this reviewResponded October 4, 2018

Thank you indeed for the kind words . We do try and make it a great experience. Glad you enjoyed the glowing guides and the amazing plankton.
Welcome any time .
Thanks again from all of us
Jim Kennedy

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Reviewed September 29, 2018 via mobile

After reading all of the reviews for the night kayaking, my husband and I rearranged our travel plans so that we could do this while we were in Ireland. We are so glad we did. We have kayaked before, but to kayak in this setting and to see the bioluminescence was really special and unique. The trip started off as the sun was going down and ended in the pitch dark. The guides were great. The bioluminescence was Avatar-like. An all around fun experience.

Thank Megan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AtlanticSeaKayaking, Owner at Atlantic Sea Kayaking, responded to this reviewResponded October 4, 2018

It means so much to us that we get feed back .
Our guides pride themselves on our visitors having the best possible experience in safety and fun .
I will pass this on to them .
Thank you again
Jim Kennedy

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Reviewed September 21, 2018 via mobile

The night kayak trip was very informative and funny entertaining besides the bioluminescence that was spectacular. Only salt water lake in Europe and the staff made sure everyone was safe and kept dry. Felt they were top notch. Would recommend

1  Thank travlnjazz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AtlanticSeaKayaking, Owner at Atlantic Sea Kayaking, responded to this reviewResponded October 4, 2018

Delighted it was a good experience for you.
Thank you very much for recommendation .
Hope the rest of you trip was great .
Jim Kennedy

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Reviewed September 15, 2018 via mobile

We did the night tour from Reen pier. Jim and Andy were excellent tour guides providing us with local history of the area, explaining the visible planets and constellations and also the wildlife of the bay. Couldn't recommend this tour enough and we will certainly be returning to do the second tour at lough hyne!

Thank donnelly117
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AtlanticSeaKayaking, Owner at Atlantic Sea Kayaking, responded to this reviewResponded October 4, 2018

When nature puts on a show all we have to do is point it out to people in a sort of mindfulness way .
Thank yo for the words
Jim KEnnedy

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Reviewed September 13, 2018

I am not normally too spiritual, but Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking found a quiet eddy to stop our kayaks for a few minutes. Jim asked us to close our eyes and feel the calm. Crikey! He was right, and those few minutes were unbelievably special. Jim described kayaking on Lough Hyne as his '0ffice' and all i can say is "Jim, you lucky man!!"

I booked the Lough Hyne to the Sea trip, and from the start I was impressed. We got a quick coaching on using the paddles, and a safety briefing, and then we were off ( I was on my own, so there is no problem, as they team you up with someone else in a twin kayak)

The trip out through the Rapids was brilliant, against the start of the incoming tide, we had to paddle a bit harder! We continued out past Barlogue pier and the back past Bullock Island and over to Ballyally pier. We then stopped at a beach for a break, and Naoise produced the home-made apple and rhubarb tarts. Excellent!

Now, the best bit...back in thru the Rapids on a much faster tide. A great experience.

During the trip Jim and Naoise gave steady commentery on the Lough, its History and the Flora and Fauna. We say a gannet diving for food in the Lough. A wonderful sight.

If you are anywhere near West Cork, do this trip...its more than an experience. Brilliant!

I plan to return in the next few months and take one of the trips from Castlehaven.

Thank John D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AtlanticSeaKayaking, Owner at Atlantic Sea Kayaking, responded to this reviewResponded October 4, 2018

Spirituality or peace or what ever you call it is always there to be experienced . Sometimes we need mother nature to guide us .
Thank you for the kind words.
Jim Kennedy

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Reviewed September 12, 2018

the Moonlight / starlight kayaking on Lough Hyne was absolutely amazing. Lough Hyne is beautiful in daylight, but simply magical at night time with the stunning Bioluminescence which was just everywhere. We were lucky that the weather was good and we got to see a clear night sky and the milky way. The guides Andrew and Emily wer amazing. Friendly, professional, full of knowledge and what was best was they clearly enjoyed doing the tour.
Was an absolute highlight and I would love to do this again

Thank regina218
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AtlanticSeaKayaking, Owner at Atlantic Sea Kayaking, responded to this reviewResponded October 4, 2018

Of course your always welcome back . Really delighted you took the time to let us know you enjoyed it . I will pass it on to Andy and Emily .
Thank you
Jim Kennedy

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