A perfect introduction to Hebridean cruising - 3 nights visiting the Shiant Isles and their seabirds with whales and dolphins along the way.VIEW DATES
Timed for the middle of June, this is the height of the seabird breeding season in the Outer Hebrides with thousands of puffins, guillemots and razorbills crowding the scree and grassy slopes as well as the rocky ledges of the beautiful Shiant Isles. Only a short cruise south from Stornoway, you will get plenty of time to view the seabird cities, go ashore in our dinghy to explore the islands, and to watch out for whales, dolphins, porpoise, seals and eagles along the way. You could even try a bit of wild swimming or snorkelling if you like. In the evenings you can relax after dinner and soak up the sights and sounds of the nature all around you in our sheltered anchorages.
These 3 small islands lay off the coast of Lewis and Harris with commanding views over the Minch back to Skye and the Western Highlands of Scotland.
We will be visiting at the height of the seabird breeding season and the Shiants host important numbers of puffins and razorbills as well as guillemots and others.
The North Minch is a great place for spotting whales and dolphins and is home to the North East Lewis MPA, designated to help protect the local population of Risso's dolphins.
After settling into your cabin and a welcome briefing from the skipper and wildlife guide, we will start our cruise south along the East coast of Lewis, heading through the NE Lewis MPA, on our way to the Shiant Isles. These are good waters for spotting whales, dolphins and porpoise as well as white-tailed and golden eagles over the cliffs and distant hills.
Depending on the weather and tide, we will choose an anchorage and hope to head ashore for an afternoon walk on the islands for some exploring before dinner. Then we can relax to the sights and sounds of the thousands of birds coming and going from their nests overhead and on the water around us - a very special experience.
After breakfast we will head back ashore via our dinghy to the islands for more exploring. Perhaps looking for some of the ruins of those who have stayed on the islands in the past, or for the orchids that hide on the hillsides, or just find a great vantage point high on the hills and take in the view (and maybe watch out for cetaceans in the water below).
If the tide is right you might be able to take a ride in the dinghy through the natural sea arch, or along the edge of the scree slope for a closer look at some of the seabirds that nest there. We may also go exploring further around the islands depending on the time and tide before settling down for second night at anchor.
Today after breakfast we will take a cruise around the other side of the islands to check out the seabird cities on the cliffs before heading out into the Minch in search of cetaceans. Minke whales, common and Risso's dolphins and harbour porpoise are all regulars, with white-beaked dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, humpbacks, fin whales and even orca all possible - you just never know what might show up!
We will anchor for the night at the back of the dramatic Loch Sealg on Lewis, a quiet and remote area with just the sounds of the seals, divers and eagles to be heard. There is a nice walk ashore here to a secluded waterfall and maybe the chance to see some other bird species like greenshank that nest here or maybe even spot a golden or white-tailed eagle soaring over the mountains.
After breakfast it will be time to head back up the coast, again through very good waters and coastline for spotting cetaceans and eagles, before arriving back into Stornoway where we will say our goodbyes.
All meals and drinks on board
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