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Spring Basking Sharks & Underwater Photography Diving Week
We're planning a very special and specific underwater photography tour for late spring 2019. We've developed a number of amazing opportunities for underwater wildlife photography and here they are all together in one trip! Our peak season for basking sharks (mid-July to beginning of September) is the best time to travel for that species specifically but spring is the time of their arrival and can give as good action as the peak season, it can just be a little variable with the timing! We have so many other opportunities for wildlife and experiences that we can't do during peak season so this is a very exciting trip to hit them all at once!
During our week (Mon-Fri) we have a range of underwater subjects ranging from very specific species targets such as seals, seabirds and spurdog sharks, to unusual experiences such as the night diving and some good old quality west coast dive sites, hand picked by Shane for the best photographic opportunities.
This tour is based on scuba diving and underwater photography. There are also options to join as a snorkelling/free diver - please contact us to discuss. Dive sites will be chosen based on the wildlife and photo opportunities and as such we'll be looking for slack water and easy conditions with shallow depths to allow as much time as possible in the water. We'd expect that people joining would be relatively experienced but with maximum depths around 15-20m means as long as you're comfortable diving in UK waters then you will be fine. The trip is based around single tank diving - twinsets and rebreathers not required. Ideally diving is with drysuits for maximum dive time and 7-8mm wetsuits are best for our basking shark days (8mm semi-dry available to hire through us for the day).
Dates - 20th-24th May 2019
Max Guests - 8
Cost - £570Book Now
This trip coincides with the spring basking shark arrivals and we'll designate one day for a full offshore basking shark mission. This day will be the best of the weather over our 5 days and a long one (approx 8-6). It's around 3 hours to get to the main search area and we'll have a short pit stop en-route. There will be chances to spot whales, dolphins, seabirds and eagles from the boat so bring a long lens for surface photography. We'll visit the stunning islands of Coll & Tiree and there will also be a chance to jump in with the seals. There is always a chance of rare encounters such as sunfish and subjects such large areas of flotsam which hold pelagic macro species. Anything can happen when we head out offshore!
One of our days will be based around Oban; possibly the first day which gives everyone some time to sort their gear out and get into the trip. However being a sheltered area, it may be that we choose to do this day when there is the strongest wind. We'll pick dive sites that give the best options for underwater photography; if later in the week the Falls of Lora on slack may be a possibility. Otherwise we'll hit some of Shane's favourites on the Morvern peninsula. If the wind is really strong we can always get diving and there are lots of macro subjects in sheltered areas too.
This day will be dedicated to diving around the special area of conservation to the south of Oban. We'll aim to dive around the Garvellach islands which usually have fantastic visibility and marine life. Some of the rarer species we see here are crayfish, cotton spinners and northern sea fans. Soft coral and anemone walls are a big feature here too so there is lots to choose from! It's always a great day when we visit here! There is also an opportunity to dive a shallow scenic shipwreck too, so depending on the interest we can do two marine life or one reef and the shallow wreck (10m).
At this time of year there is a lot of daylight, but we'll try and schedule a sunset/floodlight dive. We normally do this over the wreck of the Breda, which is shallow to the deck (12-14m) and is a large artificial reef. The floodlights provide a lot of atmosphere for creative wide angle images, but also attract a lot of marine life too. Depending on the weather we could do this as a blackwater dive, which is free floating over deep water to capture unusual macro subjects. Sunset is around 21:30 at this time of year so it'll be a late but rewarding one. We'll try and plan this in time with our Oban based days so we can have a later start the following day. See here for some more info our night diving (this is on our dive page Dive Oban & Argyll)
This will be one of the highlights of the week with it being such an unusual and exciting new subject! We've been working on this for a couple of years and had some amazing encounters with numerous sharks. As far as we know we're the only people in the world to offer experiences with this species. For those into competitions then this is a brand new subject and could give you the edge over the same old pictures in the comps. This is a baited dive and we'll dive with them twice over the day. The depths are relatively shallow to avoid any decompression issues. Check out some images here and a video of the action here.
Another real highlight of the week is a planned day on the west side of Mull at both a seal and bird colony. The difference with these seal colonies is that they are both wild and in areas of very clear water. The sheltered areas they hang out have fringing kelp reefs onto white sand meaning there are fantastic underwater seascapes for photography. We'll spend half a day with these fun mammals in relatively shallow water enabling a lot of time for photos and interactions.
The second half of our day with the seals will be a dive with seabirds - another very exciting subject! We have a concentrated bird colony with large populations of guillemots and puffins. They are naturally fishing in this area but do get attracted to the bubbles of the divers meaning unique photo opportunities in clear water. Again this is a shallow dive enabling lots of time and light. There will be plenty of action from the boat to photograph the birds too. The main species are puffin, guillemot, fulmar, bonxie, terns, shags & gannets. We're hoping for some really cool shots from this day!
Another possibility of our trip is a detour to Fingal's cave. This would be a snorkel based visit (the caves are shallow and diving doesn't gain any better perspective). Depending on the time during the Seal/Puffin day this may be a possibility for a side visit (however two dives and surface photos is already a lot of time with the travel). Or it could also be a side trip on a basking shark day however it is a big detour and all these subject need a dedicated day so it may not be possible without sacrificing something else. It's also very weather (and swell) dependant so we'll keep this part flexible and discuss including this as part of the offshore days during the trip. See here for a few example pics.
- Five Days Boat Diving & Wildlife Tour
- Photography advice & our experience to put you in the right place to get the best shots!
- Teas, Coffees & Home Baking on board
- Amazing wildlife, scenery and culture
- Knowledgeable and experienced skipper & crew
- Onboard binoculars, books and information guides
What's Not Included
- Weather or wildlife guarantees! However the trip is flexible around weather so we'll arrange things around nature.
- Accommodation - lots available in Oban & surrounding area to suit your preference ranging from Hostel to Hotel.
- Equipment - we do have tanks/weights that you can hire. £30 per day for two tanks, fills and weights. BCD/Regs and 8mm semi-dry suits & other kit available (no drysuits but are available locally)
- Fills (available by arrangement £5 fill for 232 fill in 10/12l)
- Transport to Dunstaffnage Marina (possibly others who can share lifts)