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Free Diving Tour

For more advanced snorkellers and those experienced with breath-hold, apnea and free-diving then our part of Scotland provides unique and stunning locations.

In 2017 we are running a bespoke free-diving tour based on the best dive locations using our experience over the last few years. The tour will be held in September which is when the water is at its warmest and we have a range of site options throughout the islands. This is at the end of the season so it's after the peak time of the sharks; there is a chance we may encounter them but this is not the primary focus of the trip. We would strongly recommend a 7mm two piece open cell suit for this tour as you won't be cold with this style of suit (it's what we use ourselves).

Our tours are all about great experiences, time with wildlife and amazing locations. It's not about big depths, it's about quality time in the ocean! These are some of the free-dive locations we plan to visit on our dedicated week trip.

The tour will start on the Isle of Coll for 3 days and three nights, then Saturday and Sunday will be based in Oban on the mainland

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Fingal's Cave

Our first volcanic cave and an iconic location! The cave is visited by thousands of tourists each year, who all stumble along the rocky path to look at the cave and then leave. We take a different viewpoint as we visit with nobody else around so we can have an undisturbed experience and, more importantly, no tourist boats for our safety whilst diving!

The island is a remnant of volcanic activity and formed of thousands of basalt columns and stepping stones. It's what inspired Mendelsshon's 'Hebridean Overture' and was famously visited by Queen Victoria and Joseph Banks. 

 The cave itself is around 20m high and goes back around 50m into the island, with the water depth around 4-10m. Looking out to sea from the back with the huge cathedral above is mind-blowing! There are numerous smaller gullies and caves to explore in addition to the main cave here and the whole island is a free-diving playground.

Bubble Cave

The image to the left is our Head Guide Luke in the bubble cave. Constructed by basalt columns, it's around a 25m swim in and 5m deep. We'll only visit in calm weather and there is a strange phenomena related to pressure here. As the swell moves into the bubble, the pressure increases and makes the water condense making rain inside the cave. Then when the swell recedes, the pressure drops and it disappears.

Under the bubble is a large archway with the seabed at around 15m, making it a great intermediate free-dive. There are numerous cuts and gullies on the surrounding reefs in which the seals love to hide. 

Probably the most spectacular free-diving location in all of Scotland. It takes a full day to go here and back. Visiting here is worth the whole trip to Scotland - an amazing place!

Grey Seals

These mammals are the most fun to free dive with. We have a few locations where there are grey seal colonies and we can usually find some 'players' to interact with. We usually find the females the most interactive however you still will need to work for your interactions. Following our guidance we'll show you how to earn their trust and have a great experience with them. The sites aren't deep but having the ability of around 10m depth and a 1-2 minute breath-hold would be ideal. Although that's not to say those that have less than this won't have a great time! 

Night (Free) Dive
We have an awesome place where rig up big underwater lights which attracts in lots of fish life. Check out this video for an idea! It does contain scuba divers but we didn't film any of the free divers previously. Check out some of the video footage here.
 
The site is a maximum of 10m and has little current with a white sandy seabed. There's stcks of marine life and it makes for a stunning but safe area to free dive at night. We'll of course have the boat moored up above you with all the gear. We'll setup the big floodlights but we don't have indidivudal lights for divers so please bring one of your own.
Wrecks

We have lots of shipwrecks the area which are mainly below 20m, have a lot of current and are usually visited by scuba divers. However there are some that are located in sheltered areas, with great visibility and achievable depths for free-divers.

We plan to visit one specific wreck which has all the above qualities are is a favorite of ours. The wreck is broken up and the stern lies towards shore in around 10m. The large propeller is still intact and provides some swim-throughs and a vertical descent to the seabed. The hull is topped with kelp and then soft corals and anemones live on the structure.

As the location is remote, the fish life is great with lots of large pollack patrolling the wreck and wrasse cruising around. A really cruisey site for free-diving.

Lagoon

We visit this location regularly as part of our Seal & Lagoon tour and it is probably our favourite site for free-diving. The area is a protected lagoon of small islands with a white shell sand base. It is remote from human influence so it's a pristine area washed by the productive, clear Atlantic Ocean, where the currents push around all the small islands so its stacked with marine life. Visibility is usually at least 10m and we regularly have 20m here. There is a mixed colony of harbour and grey seals and with a maximum depth of around 12m. It's great for extended free-diving to work on those interactions with the seals. There are anemone walls, tidal channels, sea grass beds, small caves and kelp reefs. Just an all round awesome spot and when it's calm and the sun's shining, there's nowhere better!

Training

We'll take you to our training venue, which is a cool adventure. We'll likely visit from land rather than the boat and take a short ferry out to an island. There is a flooded quarry here which has some awesome surroundings, a great place for lunch and clear warm water. Last year we had around 18 degree water temperature here and it makes for a great site for training. 

20-30m is easily attainable here and we will bring a line for those who wish to practice some depth training. The trip is based on fun and adventure rather than achieving depth so we'll ask divers to work in pairs and stay within safe limits when we visit here.

Hidden Lake

About an hour from our base by boat, this is a hidden lake filled with relics from the late 1800's. The water is warm and the history is rich. We swim ashore and walk up the sides of the island to discover this secret place!

We keep this location under our wetsuit so we won't say too much about it but it's a really really cool place to visit. Depths of around 15m are available here, with some of the interesting parts in a shallow 5-10m and others are a little deeper around 15-20m.

We may combine visiting here with the wreck which is in the same area but our itinerary is weather depend and we'll pick the best route to suit sea conditions. 

Basking Sharks

The tour is at the end of the basking shark season.  In some years the sharks have left the Hebrides by now, but in other years they are still around in large number. The offshore locations we plan to visit above are where the sharks can hang out so there's always a chance to see them. If we encounter some then we'll get you in to swim with the big fish!

Just remember we won't be running a specific shark tour where we spend all day looking for them as this tour is about time in the water rather than searching for sharks. You'll be with the right team in the right area so we'll just hope to be lucky on our travels.

What's Included

  • Four Nights accomodation (3 on Coll & 1 in Oba n)
  • Knowledgeable free-diving guides
  • Weights
  • Hot drinks
  • Home baking snack
  • Amazing locations wildlife, scenery and culture
  • Onboard binoculars, books and information guides

What's Not Included

  • In-water safety - we will guide you, have boat cover, first aid and oxygen but all free-divers will be resposible for their own safety in the water. We advise that you should dive in pairs and follow recommended safe dive practices during the tour.
  • Equipment Hire - we do have 8mm suits which are great but not open cell suits. See here.
  • Weather or wildlife guarantees! 
  • Food- please bring your lunch with you and the rest is self catering.
  • Transport to Oban - see this link to travel to Oban or the ferry to/from Coll. For international clients or groups we can arrange buses from Edinburgh or Glasgow.