A swell-tering start to SeaFest 2018

Amy Sarma and Seren Flavin at SeaFest. Picture Jason ClarkeA weekend of sun-soaked, seafaring fun for those of all ages kicked off in Galway today as SeaFest 2018, Ireland's largest and most spectacular maritime festival, rowed into Galway for the weekend (29th June to 1st July). Famous ships, flyboarding, free sailing, sensational seafood and Defence Force displays drew thousands to the opening day of SeaFest.

Galway Harbour transformed into a giant, interactive "sea world" with the entire waterfront awash with non-stop water based activity for the festival. Every inch of the port is crammed with boats, over 100, of all shapes and sizes, including sailing, scientific and navy ships. Visitors enjoyed climbing aboard Ireland's newest naval vessel, LE William Butler YeaWorld famous flyboarding in action today. Picture Cr Jason Clarkets, the Commissioner of Irish Lights, ILV Granuaile, and the Marine Institute's RV Celtic Explorer. Included in the vessels on show this year, the MVF Girl Stephanie, a 45 metre super pelagic trawler was an instant hit affording visitors the rare opportunity to tour a super trawler and learn about life in Ireland's fishing sector.

Amongst Galway's ship-filled harbour, visitors availed of free kayaking, sailing and boat trips and the huge display from the Defence Forces proved popular with the young and the young at heart.

A welcome addition to this year's festival line-up is TheFree Kayaking. Picture Jason Clarke Atlantic Theatre, a purpose-built marquee, offering ocean-inspired talks and films. Multi-award winning cameraman Doug Allan shared his experiences from filming in some of the wildest and most remote places on Earth for Blue Planet, Frozen Planet and Ocean Giants. Irish filmmaker Ken O'Sullivan closed the first day festivities with a live Q&A on his recent documentary Ireland's Deep Atlantic.

Seafood lovers enjoyed the range of cookery demonstrations on offer in the BIM/Bord Bia Seafood Experience and the Gastronomy Showcase Van, to celebrate Galway as the European Region of Gastronomy 2018.

Don't worry if you missed today. SeaFest runs again Saturday and Sunday. See SeaFest.ie for more.