Cetaceans, Sharks and Sunsets Cruise
This 8-night cruise from Stornoway and led by a wildlife expert, will seek out the various cetacean species and other wildlife to be found in the Minch around the Outer Hebrides and the Highlands, and other nearby seas.
Dates: 20th to 28th August 2024
Late August in the Hebrides has become a great time in recent years to spot large whale species such as fin, humpback and sei, alongside the smaller and more common minke whales. These enjoy the waters warmed by the summer sun which boosts the whole food chain, providing good feeding for these leviathans. At the same time, common, Risso’s, bottlenose and sometimes white-beaked dolphins too also join in the fun, with the common dolphins often bow-riding alongside our small ship the Hjalmar Bjørge for great views just a metre or two away. The Minch is the stretch of water that separates the west coast of the Scottish Highlands from the Outer Hebridean island of Lewis and Harris. It is well recognised as one of the best places in Europe to spot cetaceans, with even the daily ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway providing great views for travellers willing to keep a watch out. Apart from the whales and dolphins, we will be hoping to spot basking sharks, our local golden and white-tailed eagles, seals, otters, gannets, and other seabirds that pass through the Minch like sooty shearwaters, storm petrels and Manx shearwaters. Our evenings will be spent in quiet and often remote anchorages and there will be the chance each day to go ashore somewhere to explore and stretch your legs. We can offer an optional £20 return transfer by minibus between Inverness and Ullapool for those catching the ferry.
Guests meet at Stornoway harbour on the Isle of Lewis, ready for around a 1430 departure. This is timed to allow the morning ferry to arrive from Ullapool, followed by the short walk through town to the harbour.
As this cruise is very much aimed at searching for and enjoying the various cetacean species to be found in the Minch and its neighbouring waters of the Little Minch and the Sea of the Hebrides, our itinerary will largely be dictated by the most recent sightings, sea and weather conditions, and the experience of our local skipper. You can expect to roam around between the coastlines of Lewis & Harris, the Isle of Skye, the Shiant Isles, and maybe further south to North Uist and the Small Isles, and over to the west coast of the Highland mainland. Our overnight anchorages will largely be in quiet and remote areas with sightings of red deer, otters, seals and eagles overhead all possible.
Along with the cetaceans mentioned earlier, seabirds and eagles will be the other main highlights with gannets, fulmars, great and Arctic skuas, Manx shearwaters, storm petrels all usually present. At this time of year you may also may be lucky to spot other scarcer forms of skua such as the long-tailed or pomarine species, sooty shearwaters and even a Leach's petrel hiding amongst the storm petrels for the very observant. White-tailed eagles patrol many of the local sea lochs and cliffs, with golden eagles often spotted over the hill ridges too.
We will arrive back in Stornoway for your departure after breakfast on the last morning of Wednesday 28th August around midday. This will give ferry passengers plenty of time to get back to the ferry terminal for the afternoon sailing back to Ullapool.
From £2800 per adult
August — August
From £2800 Per Adult
Prices are subject to change depending on season
Tour company information
Join our small ship the MV Hjalmar Bjørge from Oban for island-hopping plus whale, dolphin and wildlife watching cruises around Scotland's Hebridean islands and the Highlands' west coast, with itineraries including Mull, Skye and St Kilda! Our adventure cruises and charters range from six to 10 nights and are all-inclusive, with shore excursions. We often have a wildlife guide on board who will point out the whales, dolphins, eagles, puffins, and other wildlife that call this area home, while keeping a safe and respectful distance. Please ask about our private charters for group bookings.
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