United Kingdom·August 20 - 28 2024

Cetaceans, Sharks and Sunsets Cruise with Megan McCubbin & James Stevens

This 8-night cruise from Stornoway will seek out the various cetacean species and other wildlife to be found in the Minch and nearby waters 

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Hebridesmap_whaleanddolphin

Overview

1 x MALE CABIN SHARING PLACE AVAILABLE 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. You will be joined on board by guest guides wildlife TV presenter Megan McCubbin and her partner, wildlife cameraman James Stevens. We can offer an optional £20 return transfer by minibus between Inverness and Ullapool for those catching the ferry.

Highlights

Cetacean Hotspot

Cetacean Hotspot

The Minch has recorded many humpback, fin and sei whales the last few summers along with the more common minkes, with orca always a possibility as well. Then there are common, Risso's, bottlenose and white-beaked dolphins, plus the harbour porpoise. Other species do turn up from time to time such as Northern bottlenose and other beaked whale species, and pelagic dolphin species.

The Western Isles

The Western Isles

The Inner and Outer Hebrides (AKA the Western Isles) harbour some of the wildest and most pristine environments left in Britain. The magnificent land and seascapes will take your breath away each and every day and with daily shore excursions, you will get your chance to explore too. Be sure to have a camera ready for more great memories around every corner and headland.

Where Eagles Dare

Where Eagles Dare

The islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides are home to both golden and white-tailed eagles. These dramatic apex species are a wonderful sight and you have great chances at spotting both on this cruise. The white-tailed eagles in particular can often be found in the remote sea lochs where we anchor for the night, or spotted along with the golden eagles, soaring over the hillsides and mountains as we cruise along the coastlines.

Hosts

Our wonderful guest guides for this cruise are none other than wildlife TV presenter Megan McCubbin, and top wildlife cameraman James Stevens.

Megan McCubbin

Megan McCubbin

Megan McCubbin is a zoologist and wildlife TV presenter, best known for hosting BBC Springwatch and Animal Park. Her experience as a scientific researcher studying sharks has led to a life-long love of the ocean and all its marine species. As a passionate explorer, Megan is very excited to host this ‘Sharks and Cetaceans’ tour along our miraculous Scottish coastline!

meganmccubbinwild
James Stevens

James Stevens

James Stevens is a wildlife filmmaker and guide based in the Scottish Highlands. He has worked across Natural History TV for Netflix, Nat Geo, Channel 5 and had recent credits in the BBC's Wild Isles series. He is also a regular cameraman on Springwatch. His work takes him to wild locations throughout the UK and internationally. A lifelong naturalist with an infectious enthusiasm for finding bugs through to cetaceans.

james.stevens.photogrpahy
Skipper = TBA

Skipper = TBA

Chef = TBA

Chef = TBA

Crewmember = TBA

Crewmember = TBA

Schedule

Previous

Next

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DAY 1

Itinerary Overview

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 walk back to the ferry terminal for the afternoon sailing back to Ullapool.

What's Included

What's Included

Cabin accomodation

Chef prepared meals

Snacks and fresh fruit

Hot drinks

All bedding and towels

Drinks from the bar

Optional £20 minibus return transfer between Inverness & Ullapool

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$3,672.48/pp

Cabin 2 - Twin Cabin

Cabin 2 - Twin Cabin

Twin cabin with bunk beds one over the other. With sink.

FROM$3,672.48/pp

Cabin 3 - Twin Cabin

Cabin 3 - Twin Cabin

Twin cabin with bunk beds one over the other. With sink.

FROM$3,672.48/pp

Cabin 4 - Twin/Single Cabin

Cabin 4 - Twin/Single Cabin

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

FROM$3,672.48/pp

Cabin 5 - Twin/Single Cabin

Cabin 5 - Twin/Single Cabin

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

FROM$3,672.48/pp

Cabin 6 - Forepeak Twin Cabin

Cabin 6 - Forepeak Twin Cabin

Cabin 6 - Forepeak Twin Cabin

FROM$3,672.48/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

Tripadvisor_Logo_circlegreen_verticallockupsmall_registered_RGB01800x49130ae26f

A fabulous wildlife experience. 'That is going to be a hard act to follow'. Whales sited every single day of our trip. Minke, Humpback and Sei whale. In between there were Common dolphin, Risso's dolphin, Basking Sharks, Common and Grey seals, White Tailed Sea Eagles, Gannets, Puffins, Razorbills, Great Skuas etc etc etc. All that on its own would have made an absolutely great trip but really was just a part of a terrific experience. What made it really special was enjoying it with the terrific team of the skipper Tony, chef Luke and guide Alyssa. All so very good at what they do and welcoming from minute one. Reviewed by _p_tervit948 18 Aug 2023

Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor_Logo_circlegreen_verticallockupsmall_registered_RGB01800x49130ae26f

Voyage to the Hebrides. 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. Reviewed by andrewdY990II 23 May 2023

Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor_Logo_circlegreen_verticallockupsmall_registered_RGB01800x49130ae26f

Holiday of lifetime in the Western Isles of Scotland. The crew on the Halmar Bjorge (HB) were very attentive. They were all interested in the natural history of the islands, and they inspired confidence. The skipper found peaceful anchorages and sleeping on board was pleasant. Our journeys to land on the islands via the RIB were safe and no wet feet! From the small Galley kitchen, the chef produced some very tasty meals, always with a smile. 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. 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! Reviewed by Keith395 22 Jul 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 2.30pm from the pontoons in Stornoway harbour at the back of the town. We will let you know where to meet us near to your arrival day so we can let you in at the security gate.

After booking, we will send you a "Welcome Aboard" email that includes all the information you will need about what we suggest you think about bringing with you.

Yes there is a large free public car park near the Tesco's in Ullapool. It is currently signposted as an "invitation to pay" - i.e. make a donation to help cover the upkeep and repairs. 

Yes. Our chef 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.

Cetaceans, Sharks and Sunsets Cruise with Megan McCubbin & James Stevens

United Kingdom· August 20 - 28 2024· 8 nights

FROM$3672/pp