United Kingdom·April 27 - May 6 2024

Hebridean Island Odyssey - Puffins, Eagles and Scenic Cruising

A 9-night cruise around the Inner and Outer Hebrides plus St Kilda, making the most of the breeding season at the seabird cities.

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Overview

Combining some of our favourite locations in the Hebrides for wildlife and scenery, we will visit puffin colonies from Lunga in the south to the Shiants in the North Minch and a variety of islands in-between, with a plan to head to St Kilda if the weather allows. This is a great time of year for seeing a variety of birds including other seabirds, golden eagles, and white-tailed eagles. Our evenings will be spent in secluded natural anchorages often adjacent to seals, otters, shorebirds, and other native wildlife. Guests will join the Hjalmar Bjørge around 1530 on Sat 27th April in Oban. The itinerary is dependent on the weather – balancing shelter with reaching our preferred destinations . These are planned to include Mull, some of the the Small Isles (Rum, Canna, Eigg and Muck), the Isle of Skye, Coll or Tiree. Part of this exploration will include heading out off north-west Skye for the privately owned Shiant Isles, visiting the 2nd of our puffin and seabird colonies. The Shiants are a small archipelago in the middle of the Minch often described as a St Kilda in miniature. There is also an opportunity to take in the island of Harris and Lewis when we are this far north. Our return will see us sailing down the west coast of the spectacular Scottish Highlands. On the final day we head back into Oban for your departure after breakfast on Monday 6th May.

Highlights

Seabirds

Seabirds

Spring is the peak of Scotland's seabird breeding season, with thousands of puffins, razorbills and guillemots nesting on the small islands we plan to visit.

Cruising on the Hjalmar Bjørge

Cruising on the Hjalmar Bjørge

You will discover why so many of our guests come back year after year to cruise with us around the Highlands and Islands.

The Hebrides

The Hebrides

The Inner and Outer Hebrides, also know as the Western Isles, are some of Scotland's most beautiful and spectacular islands to cruise to and visit.

Schedule

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DAY 1

Itinerary Summary

This cruise intends to focus on the Outer Hebrides, home to some of Europe’s most extraordinary and important sea-bird colonies including puffins, razorbills, guillemots, and gannets. Island archipelagos like the Shiants (above) are definitely part of our intended itinerary and, if we are lucky enough to have a weather window, being in the Outer Hebrides means that we will be positioned to head for the UK’s only dual UNESCO World Heritage site of St. Kilda.


Cruising aboard the Hjalmar Bjørge is very different from large-ship cruising with its, ‘If it’s Tuesday it must be Barcelona’ ethos. Hjalmar and her crew are dictated to by wind and tide and this fits with the spirit of our adventure cruises. We quite literally ‘go with the flow,’ having as little impact on the environment and wildlife as possible (we are WiSE accredited). However, some things are fixed. You will experience fabulous on-board cuisine which utilises the best of Scottish Island produce. Your home for the trip will be a comfortable cabin and use of the saloon which has plenty of space for you to relax and read, paint or write. There is outdoor space, both covered and uncovered, to sit and look out for whales, dolphins, or even rarities like the sunfish which occasionally appear in our waters.

Included

Our all-inclusive cruises from Oban cover your meals, snacks, water and hot drinks, cabin accommodation, plus towels and linens.

Not Included

The only extra is for alcoholic and soft drinks from the bar. These are handled via an honesty book on board and settled in cash at the end of the cruise.

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DAY 2

Day to Day

Breakfast

Fruit, porridge, toast, jams and a selection of cereals are the basic start to your day. Depending the days itinerary there may also be a fresh free-range farm eggs or a cooked breakfast.


Lunch

Being at sea we plan our passage around the shipping forecast and our skipper’s knowledge and experience. You will be kept informed as to that days passage plan so that you can make the best use of your time, whether that be doing something industrious or simply wave watching from the wheelhouse. Usually we will be on passage in the morning with an opportunity to go ashore in the afternoon. Lunch is often at anchor and might be a homemade soup, light cooked meal, or maybe a packed lunch to allow you more time to explore a secluded island. On days in port you might arrive back aboard to the smell of fresh scones or cake.


Dinner

Your crew aim to be at anchor by 7pm allowing time to settle the boat, the crew, and the passengers ready for a delicious boat-cooked meal. Dinner consists of two courses alternating between entrées, main dishes, desserts, and cheese. Feel free to chat to your chef about local food and recipes. We can cater for most dietary requirements aboard and we are committed to using fresh local produce as much as possible. End your day with a wee dram on deck from our small selection of Highland spirits.


There are always fruit, biscuits, tea, coffee, water, and soft drinks available throughout the day.

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DAY 3

More Information

Your Crew on this cruise will be; –


Skipper: 

Chef: 

Crew:  


Interesting Fact


The Blue Men of the Minch

These mythical beings are localised only to the Minch, the stretch of water between Lewis and Harris and the West Coast of Scotland. Often also known as Storm Kelpies, these beings were feared in Celtic legend as drowning sailors and capsizing ships. Legend says when they are sleeping the waters are calm, but once awake storms can whip up from nowhere. One often repeated claim is that the Blue Men would often target skippers, calling out two lines of poetry to which the skipper had to reply with two of their own to complete the verse. If they liked it then you were safe to carry on, but if they were unimpressed or should the skipper fail to complete the task …, well you can guess the rest. Please be sure to let your skipper know of any Blue Men sightings immediately and maybe test his poetry to ensure your safety!


Tickets

Cabin 1 - Twin/Double Cabin

Cabin 1 - Twin/Double Cabin

A twin cabin with bunk beds, a single over a double. With sink.

FROM$3,779.42/pp

Cabin 2 - Solo Share/Twin Cabin

Cabin 2 - Solo Share/Twin Cabin

Twin cabin with bunk beds one over the other. With sink. Available for same sex solo passengers to share.

FROM$3,779.42/pp

Cabin 3 - Solo Share/Twin Cabin

Cabin 3 - Solo Share/Twin Cabin

Twin cabin with bunk beds one over the other. With sink. Available for same sex solo passengers to share.

FROM$3,779.42/pp

Cabin 4 - Single/Twin Cabin

Cabin 4 - Single/Twin Cabin

Available for single use supplement. Twin cabin with bunk beds one over the other. With sink.

FROM$3,779.42/pp

Cabin 5 - Single/Twin Cabin

Cabin 5 - Single/Twin Cabin

Available for single use supplement. Twin cabin with bunkbeds one over the other. With sink.

FROM$3,779.42/pp

Cabin 6 - Forepeak Twin Cabin

Cabin 6 - Forepeak Twin Cabin

Twin cabin at the Forepeak with one raised bunk on either side. With sink and skylight.

FROM$3,779.42/pp

Trip Tips

Binoculars

Binoculars

If you have a favourite pair of binoculars, please do bring them along. They will be very useful for spotting wildlife and watching it up close, as well as studying details of the landscape and ancient monuments that we pass by. If you don't have your own don't worry - we will have some loan pairs on-board for you. Also, don't forget a lens cloth or wipes for cleaning any salt spray.

Reading Material

Reading Material

Do you like to read up in advance about a destination, or to have a guide or ID book with you, then please have a look at our online bookstore. You will find a range of pre-selected titles from us, or you can search the whole store for your favourite authors or other titles that you may find useful or enjoyable on-board. Just look under "Shop" in our main menu.

Reviews

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It was, for me, a holiday of a lifetime. The HB is a fine-looking boat. There are plenty of places from which to see wildlife. It has been fitted with stabilizers and this reduces the chance of seasickness. Its draft is 4 metres which allows it to get close to the island shores. It is well stocked with books such as the superb, Scottish Islands by Dick Haswell Smith. It is a small boat and therefore the cabins are cosy, and the facilities are shared but all the passengers were considerate and adapted to it! Review by Keith R.- June 2023

Tripadvisor

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Wonderful trip to the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Professional and friendly crew and outstanding food and company. Exploring beautiful places off the beaten track. An abundance of wildlife including whales, dolphins (lots of them playing around the ship), eagles and puffins. Will certainly go with this company again and throughly recommend it to other adventurous travellers. Review by Andrew D. - May 2023

Tripadvisor

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Joined the first cruise in May on the Hjalmar Bjorge with family (all of us retired) and had a wonderful time. Our skipper Charlie, first mate Mel, and cook Carlton took such good care of us that my slight apprehension on my first vacation out at sea promptly evaporated. While cruising, we could watch diving birds from the deck or check the maps or guide books in the dining area while visiting with other guests, so there was always something to do. And the food was beyond fantastic! Review by JJENN - May 2023

Tripadvisor

Add Ons

HWDT Donation

HWDT Donation

HWDT work directly with local communities to ensure whales, dolphins and porpoises are protected and valued throughout Scotland’s west coast....
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PRICE$6.56/pp

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RNLI Donation

RNLI Donation

24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the RNLI is ready to save lives. Powered by courage, determination, and the support of generous people like you....
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PRICE$6.56/pp

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FAQs

We aim to depart around 3.30pm from the North Pier Pontoons on the harbour front in Oban. We will text you a code for the gate at the top of the pontoons on the morning of your departure.

After booking, we will send you a "Welcome Aboard" email that includes all the information you will need about how to find us in Oban, and also what we suggest you think about bringing with you.

We have an arrangement with a local company called Stoddarts Motorcycles who offer secure on-site parking a short walk away from the harbour in town. The details will be included about this in your "Welcome Aboard" email you will receive after booking.

Yes. Our chefs can cater for most diets and of course will take account of any food allergies you let us know about. Due to the limited time, storage and galley space on board ship however, please understand that we cannot cater for every personal dislike so we will not be offended if you do not eat something on your plate.

Hebridean Island Odyssey - Puffins, Eagles and Scenic Cruising

United Kingdom· April 27 - May 6 2024· 9 nights

FROM$3779/pp