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Spring Basking Shark & Island Adventures
Tour At A Glance
- Low impact small group guided by marine biologist
- Available May, June, July
- £650 per person
- Snorkelling or boat based passengers
- Based from Dunstaffnage Marina, Oban
Basking sharks migrate to the Inner Hebrides from the sub-tropics to coincide with the Spring plankton bloom. At this time we're based in Oban and head out to look for sharks offshore during good weather. The best tactic is to be based in the area and experience some of the great wildlife then head offshore on the best weather day. Spring is such a great time to be on the west coast of Scotland; the days are long, nature is blooming and usually it's one the best times weather wise. Join us for five days to explore above and below the waves!
Our spring tour is based from Oban and we'll head out and back each day from Dunstaffnage Marina to a variety of locations and we'll choose the best itinerary each day depending on the weather.
We plan on snorkelling on this tour, along with a variety of island landings. It is suitable for those that wish to snorkel or those who want to watch from the boat or participate in island landings. We have kayaks and SUPs so you can also use them.
Check out the itinerary below - the summary of the locations are as follows;
- Offshore trip to Coll & Tiree for basking sharks & seals, whales & dolphins
- Treshnish Isles, Puffins & Fingal's Cave
- Corryvreckan, Slate Isles & Garvellachs
- Isle of Mull Wilderness (waterfalls, wildlife)
- Oban Adventure Day (wildlife island landing/kayak/sup)
We can also organise these for private groups which are can take up to 12 people and have special rates, please contact us to discuss. Click the button below to book.Book Now
With the basking sharks returning to our shores at this time, we'll pick the best day out of the five days to head offshore to search for them. We'll return to the areas we know are best for sharks and use any local info or sightings to help guide us. This will be a long day around 8am-6pm as it's around 3 hours to get to the main area but there will be lots of sights and wildlife to see along the way! If we find the sharks we'll hope to snorkel with them and gather some important scientific information on these initial arrivals.
On this trip we will visit a very special lagoon; well protected from the wind and one of the sunniest places in the UK. The water here is crystal clear, unpolluted Atlantic Ocean with a white shell sand beach, surrounded by fringing kelp forest reefs. This marine paradise holds a large resident seal colony which we snorkel with, holding both the common/harbour seal and its bigger cousin the grey seal. See some images from our previous tours.
This area will be one of our scheduled days and one we can visit if the wind is too strong to head offshore. Around an hour south of Oban lies the Corryvreckan, the third largest whirlpool in the world, along with a number of tidal races. There are also the Slate Isles with hidden lakes and the Garvellach islands which have historical stone remains. All of this area is a special area of conservation, which makes its ideal for snorkelling with lots of marine life. It's another area where we see both species of eagle, bottlenose dolphins and porpoises, along with seals and a variety of land mammals on the island shores.
The puffin tour is very popular, the only downside to visiting them is that is very difficult to get people to leave! The island is part of the Treshnish Isles Special Area of Conservation which is a highly important area for seabirds. There can be up to 3000 pairs of puffins on the island in addition to other seabirds such as razorbills, guillemots and fulmars to name a few. Around the cliffs of the island there are numerous burrows where the puffins nest where we are able to get very close and watch the adults fly back and forward bringing fish. We always ensure that we don't go too close and disturb the birds and this is a guided shore excursion.
Fingal’s cave, along with all the smaller caves around the island provide amazing opportunities to see the geology and spectacle of the location at sea level. Either by snorkel or by swimming, you can see an entirely different perspective. Floating in the mouth of the cave, it’s stunning to look straight up the basalt pillars and rock formations then dip your head under water and see the colonies of marine life. Some of the offshoot caves have smoothed rock faces and geology that has to be seen to be believed.
During our trips to the south of Oban there are good chances of spotting the resident bottlenose dolphins and porpoises. However on our trips offshore there are chances of more pelagic cetaceans such as our summer visitors. Common dolphins and minke whales are our two most regularly spotted species, however there are also Risso's dolphins and very occasionally orca too! We even have had humpback, fin and sperm whales visit the area but are much more rarely - however anything can happen!
Along the southern Mull coast there is some absolutely epic volcanic geology including clifftop waterfalls with a few hundred metre water cascades. We can explore huge basalt column archways, whether that be on foot, landing via dingy, or via kayak, paddleboard or snorkelling. This is one of the hidden secrets to the Isle of Mull, a stunning location but without the crowds. See here for short video from a visit in 2017.
This coastline has stunning geology with very little access or modern settlements making it very wild. There are some amazing white sand beaches further along and also a shallow shipwreck we snorkel at too. There are more things than we can fit in on one day, so this coastline will be one of four days on the trip. We can see eagles and other raptors here, otters on occasion, seals live in colonies and porpoises & bottlenose dolphins can be seen on occasion too.
During our trips offshore (puffins/ seals/ sharks/ Fingal's) we'll pass the territory of the majestic white tailed sea eagles. They are the biggest raptor in Europe and nicknamed "the flying barn door" for obvious reasons. We'll make sure we keep our eyes and bino’s sharp to spot some on the cliffs and tree tops during the trip. They are a regular sighting on our trips, sometimes high on the skyline other times very close to the boat!
We'll use one of the days to stay closer to Oban and choose an activity, wildlife and adventure to suit the weather! We have a number of islands, trips and locations which work in a variety of weather conditions.
We may have a combined kayak/SUP trip and visit some islands from the boat, or land to visit a cliff top castle & cafe. Or we may land you via dingy and do a coastal walk with the boat picking us up down the coast.
- Five days shark, wildlife & adventure boat tour based from Oban
- Amazing wildlife, scenery and culture
- Knowledgeable and experienced guides
- Hot drinks and home baking snack
- Onboard binoculars, books and information guides
What's Not Included
- Snorkel Equipment Hire - please see here for snorkel gear hire.
- Weather or wildlife guarantees!
- Travel to Oban or Dunstaffnage Marina
- Oban accommodation (lots available in Oban from Hostel/B&B/Hotel/Self Catering)