Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Cruise
A shorter 3-night version of our whale and dolphin watching trip if you have less time to spare but still want a proper adventure. You will get plenty of chances to hopefully see a range of cetaceans as we take you to some local hotspots in the Minch and local area. Minke whales, common and Risso's dolphins and porpoise should be on the agenda for starters.
3 night itinerary perfect for a short break
Visit whale and dolphin hotspots in the North Minch area
See the Outer Hebridean coastline and look out for eagles
Plenty of other wildlife to be seen including basking sharks, seals and more
Whether you are local or visiting the Outer Hebrides, we appreciate you might not want to spend all your holiday week on a longer cruise with us so offer this shorter 3-night adventure. You will still get the chance to experience the very best that the Outer Hebrides has to offer in terms of scenery and wildlife encounters, plus spend the night in some very quiet and remote locations hard to reach other than by boat. A lovely way to experience slow travel and let our guide point out the wealth of wildlife, but particularly the whales and dolphins that call these waters home, as well those just visiting for the summer months. August is a particularly good time for a chance at seeing a basking shark for example with the warmer water temperatures and plankton blooms, plus the local white-tailed eagle population can usually be seen along the coastline and sometimes at the Shiant isles where we will visit so you can explore on shore.
Itinerary Notes: Please note that we may change the itinerary to account for weather or sea conditions to make your cruise more comfortable. Be assured that you will always be travelling in great waters for cetaceans no matter where we are in the area.
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.
Our last morning on-board and after another hearty breakfast 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.
We will then 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.
Sun 1st Aug - Wed 4th Aug
Mon 1st Aug - Fri 5th Aug (4 night)
BOOKINGS & ENQUIRIES
A relatively rare visitor, a fin whale surfaces in the Minch.
Razorbills breed at the Shiant Isles and so we tend to also find them on the water with their young at this time of year.
A great view of our boat with the distant coastline of the Isle of Harris in the background.
A relatively rare visitor, a fin whale surfaces in the Minch.
(Click photo above for full screen gallery)
**Please note that whilst we try to make these trips accessible to everyone, the boat is not suitable for anyone with mobility issues due to the compact spaces and steep stairs descending to the cabins.
**Under 14s must be accompanied by a responsible adult on our overnight expeditions.