Timed to coincide with Sea Watch Foundation's National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2021, this 4-night guided cruise will take you through some of Scotland's most cetacean rich waters, some of the very best in Europe in fact.
Summer is a great time for whale and dolphin watching in the waters of the Minch around the Outer Hebrides. Migrating cetaceans come and swell the numbers of resident whales and dolphins meaning you have more chances of seeing more of them. We will sail around some hotspots that we know of in our search to show you these wonderful creatures, covering some recently ratified Marine Protection Areas including one right on our doorstep desgined for protecting the local Risso's dolphin population.
As always we will be gathering all our sightings observation data that you are very welcome to take part in, as well as trying to capture photo IDs of individual animals to help reseaarchers try to identify them so they can be tracked by past and future sightings also.
We will be donating 15% of the proceeds of this cruise to our partners at the Sea Watch Foundation to help with their important ongoing research work. We are proud to be a member of their Recommended Boat Operators scheme and hope you will join us on board for this cruise during their annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch week.Itinerary
Depart Stornoway approximately 2.30pm and head north towards the cetacean shore-watching hotspot of Tiumpan Head at the tip of the Point Peninsula. From here we enter the area known as Broad Bay, a real magnet for whales and dolphins, including a number of rarer sightings each year. Apart from the resident minke whales, common and Risso's dolphins, and harbour porpoise, the bay plays host every year to humpback whales, fin whales and even orca sometimes too - will we be lucky?
We will anchor in Broad Bay overnight, enjoying our first meal on board and then watching the sun go down whilst watching for any last fins or whale spouts.
Leaving Broad Bay in the morning after breakfast, we will have one last look around before heading south. These waters have recently been ratified as the North East Lewis Marine Protected Area, and play host to a well-studied Risso's dolphin population in particular. These lovely animals are often seen by our guests and if we do observe them we will take lots of photographs to help researchers identify individual animals and behaviours.
Our destination is the coastal village of Marvig for our second night. Located on the east coast of the Isle of Lewis, it is a lovely quiet area with chances to spot other coastal species perhaps like seals and otters along the shorelines perhaps. White tailed eagles are also always worth looking out for as there are several territories all along this eastern coastline, with the occasional golden eagle making an appearance also.
Our third day sees us head further out into the Minch on a course for some higher areas of the seabed known as banks, where the currents become more confused and small fish tend to get concentrated making for good hunting grounds for the whales, dolphins, porpoises and the thousands of seabirds that will be breeding at the nearby Shiant Isles. We will spend time carefully searching these areas and may also spot pelagic seabirds such as shearwaters and petrels, before heading for the Shiant Isles themselves and the magnificent sights of the seabirds colonies of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, shags and several others. We will be able to take a walk ashore and enjoy having a look around at these ancient islands before relaxing back on board and taking in the sights and sounds of the seabird activity all around for our third night spent at anchor here.
There will be time for more exploration of the Shiants in the morning, both on-shore and also perhaps taking our dinghy along the coastline and maybe even through the natural sea arch if the tide and conditions are suitable! Being close to the water gives you an even more incredible eye to eye view of the puffins and their friends paddling around you.
Back on the boat we will circumnavigate the islands to show you the other seacliffs with their breeding colonies of guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes, a superb spectacle. You will also be able to spot the tell-tale signs of the former occupants of the islands with ruined bothies and field systems visible in certain places.
From here we will head across the mythical stretch of water known as the 'Stream of the Blue Men' - worth Googling for some local history and background before you come. This can be a good feeding area once again for cetaceans and seabirds, with the turbulent currents concentrating and confusing fish like sandeels and herring and making them easy prey.
Our destination this time is Loch Shell (Sealg), a lovely dramatic sea loch where we can anchor in splendid isolation amongst the hills where eagles, seals and birds like black-throated divers are often seen. We have a favourite walk here to a beautiful waterfall which also gives great views back down the sea loch, past a ruined bothy to the MV Monadhliath at anchor awaiting your return. Watch out for wildflowers here also such as orchids which can be found along the path sometimes.
Our last morning on-board and after another hearty breakfast we will start our journey back northwards along the Lewis coastline towards Stornoway. This is still a great area for minke whales, common and Risso's dolphins and harbour porpoise so we will be keeping our eyes open all the way.
We will arrive back around midday, passing Lews Castle as we reach the harbour and leaving plenty of time for those catching the afternoon ferry back to Ullapool. The terminal is only a short 5-10 minute through town.
In recognition that this business has confirmed that they have followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, ensuring processes are in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social/physical distancing.
Whale & wildlife watching + activity cruises around Scotland's Hebridean islands and the Highlands' west coast, with itineraries including Skye and St Kilda! Cruises range from two to six nights and are all-inclusive, with shore excursions. Certain cruises offer activities like sea kayaking, hiking, snorkelling and photography led by an expert. Our guides will point out the whales, dolphins, eagles, puffins and other sealife that call this area home while keeping a safe and respectful distance. Two raised observation decks give you great views! Departures from Mallaig, Stornoway and Ullapool.
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