Yesterday, February 28th saw our first sailing of the year around the fabulous Donegal Bay. The tour group involved were representatives of various Active Retirement and other groups from around Ireland. (And active is the operative word.)
The Waterbus ready to head out into Donegal Bay
They were guests of The Great Northern Hotel in Bundoran and were chauffeured precisely on time to the quayside, here in Donegal Town, by John McGinley‘s luxury coach.
Well wrapped up they were greeted by the Donegal Bay Waterbus crew and welcomed on board. A few cups of tea, Irish Coffees and the odd gin and tonic were ordered as they settled into their seats for the journey around Donegal Bay.
The captain pulled away from the quayside at exactly 11.30am, turning the boat towards the open waters of the bay.
Eamon keeps everyone entertained & informed
Eamon, our resident expert on all things Donegal Bayish, began his informative and entertaining commentary as we passed the statue of Red Hugh O’Donnell at the end of the quay. It seems that Eamon has obviously spent the off season gathering new ‘stories’ many of which had his audience in stitches laughing. The group were both entertained and educated as he spoke of the history surrounding the many landmarks we passed on our way.
One sight which was an added bonus was the large grey seal perched on a buoy exiting the harbour as if welcoming the waterbus back to Donegal Bay for the new season.
Donegal Bay looking its rugged best as we sail out
Though grey and overcast the trip was a dry one and many of the guests ventured up to the viewing deck to take photographs and breathe in the fresh sea air. (Though one or two did enjoy a cigarette while watching the waters of the Atlantic gently lapping around the waterbus.) With Eamon’s commentary being relayed throughout the waterbus our guests didn’t miss out as they soaked in the atmosphere on the upper deck.
The highlight of the tour came at the half way point when we reached the seal colony on Seal Island. Being a mighty independent bunch we can never be sure how many, if any, of these wonderful animals will be lounging on the shoreline when we visit. Today though we were not disappointed as dozens of our majestic grey friends greeted us as we reached their home and many a photograph was taken as they seemingly posed like marine models for our guests.
The Donegal Bay Waterbus approaches Seal Island
Being well used to the Waterbus, the grey seals pose on the shoreline
Turning the waterbus for home it was time for a little music and dance back on the well heated lower deck. What better way to warm the bones after the bracing air on the upper deck. Eamon and new edition Folksy Gerry entertained the group on keyboards and guitar.
The passengers enjoying a boogie on The Donegal Bay Waterbus
Within minutes the small dance floor area onboard was packed as the group waltzed, jived and line danced their way back to shore. At one stage they formed a ‘train’ and choo choo’ed around the entire lower deck. One lady from Dublin was heard to say that she had never seen a train on a boat until now.
It was very gratifying when one of the group took the microphone and thanked us all for a wonderful cruise and that many, if not all, would be back with their groups in the near future.
As the Donegal Bay Waterbus glided back smoothly to the quayside we smiled as another very contented group of guests left us for their onward journey. On the quayside there was time for a group photograph before John McGinley’s coach pulled away from the quayside leaving us with a feeling of job well done and our guests with memories they will treasure for a long time to come.
Back on dry land our guests pose for a group shot before boarding the 'other' bus
Boarding John McGinleys Coach. Hope they don't try dancing on this bus.
(If you have a group that would enjoy a similar experience please feel free to contact us with regard to sailing times and prices at email@example.com or call us on +353 74 23666)