I recently posted an image of Crab Island on my social media sites. I thought … a Doolin post! I have been twice and each time it doesn’t disappoint. This last time … well, it was a bit of a doozy!
If you are unfamiliar with Doolin, it is just a few miles north of the Cliffs of Moher. It is best known for the Doolin Pier where you can catch a boat and view the Cliffs from the Atlantic Ocean. If you are heading that way, and in the word’s of a friend … get on the boat!
Is it worth it the time? You are probably thinking … by the time I get there, buy tickets, wait, go out, etc., it will take an entire afternoon. But, it is absolutely worth it!
First, if you like ‘people watching’ grab a seat at the back of the boat; sit back and observe. You will see newly purchased wool sweaters, excited kids, nervous parents (watching those excited kids), resigned spouses (only there because he/she made me), and camera’s everywhere.
Unless you venture inside the cabin, be prepared to get a bit wet. There is the ever changing weather and you can find yourself standing in a shower. You are also going to be on the Atlantic Ocean. It can get a bit ‘choppy’. This last trip, we were dipping enough that the spray was coming over the top and the waves were pushing water over the bow. If you are there for the photos … consider a camera rain sleeve and a cloth to wipe the lens. (Since you are dealing with salty sea water, it was easy to toss the $3 rain sleeve and lens cloth afterwards.)
Before we talk about the images, let’s talk about the excursion. I have never been motion sick. In fact, I sailed on the Gulf two days after a hurricane and had a blast. Understand that you are going to get on a small boat and sail into the Atlantic. Now, they will never put anyone’s life in danger. But, it can get choppy depending on the weather and many are not prepared for it. If it is a very windy day, it may not be the right time for you. My first trip was pretty calm. This last one … not so much. In fact, we took a couple of swells and most people panicked. They actually took a vote and there were only five us eager to get closer … it was a sunny day and we had our cameras ready. Everyone else wanted to head back … most were indisposed while the crew handed out plastic bags. So, heading back was probably the right thing to do.
Here is my suggestion … if you know you get motion sickness, it may not be the best choice unless it is a very calm day. Most days, you will probably get some pitch like my first trip, but it isn’t bad. If it is windy or stormy, the water will probably be ‘choppy’. If you are concerned about the weather and/or sailing conditions, ask. I really respected the gentleman at the counter (as the wind was picking up even more) who strongly suggested another day when a couple showed up to purchase tickets. They also had a baby stroller in tow.
So, back to the images … is it worth it? Absolutely. You can get some really good images of the Atlantic, Crab Island and the Cliffs, themselves. More importantly, if you really want to get a feel for the scale of the Cliffs, taking the boat tour is the best way to do this. If at all possible, you definitely want to get on that boat!!
If I may do a ‘kindness of strangers’ shout out. Thanks to the crew (on shore and on the boat) for locating my iphone. We were ‘rocking and rolling’ so much that as I steadied myself against the bow, I also pushed my phone out of my back pocket. The boat loaded quickly, so we weren’t able to catch it before it headed back out. But the guys on shore were kind enough to call the boat. The crew located the phone and once they returned, we were reunited. (They also seemed to appreciated the fudge that I bought them as a ‘thank you.’)
And kudos to Apple’s “Find an iPhone” app. We were able to confirm that the phone was on the boat and still working. So, my iPhone has been to the Aran Islands. I, however, still have it on my list for another day.