See the best of the remote Inner Hebrides from our comfortable boat, designed for a wild adventure in the Atlantic. Whether you would like to stay dry, snorkel or wild swim – we know you will love this trip! All tours are different as we navigate the sea conditions, but this is what we hope you will experience!
3 days at sea searching for basking sharks
Visit the legendary Fingal’s Cave
Snorkel in temperate kelp forest and reefs*
Visit the resident seal colonies
Opportunity for whale and dolphin watching
Swim at white sand beaches in the Hebrides.
* Snorkelling participation requires a minimum experience level, see more information here.
This 3-day, 3-night itinerary is based from the Isle of Coll, situated in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, a stunning but remote part of the UK. Access to the island is by Calmac ferry from the beautiful coastal town of Oban where your adventure starts.
We advise you to arrive to Oban the day before your tour due to the early ferry times, for more information on travel please see our FAQs.
On the Tour
Once you arrive on the island our friendly crew will meet you and take you straight to the boat for your first day at sea where we will head to the lagoon. This is the perfect place for beginners to test the waters, and those with more experience to take advantage of the abundant life and crystal-clear visibility.
Each day will focus on searching for basking sharks and other wildlife. The deep waters around the island create excellent feeding opportunities for sharks, whales and dolphins. Photographers and naturalists will keep themselves busy with the plentiful bird life.
Our fantastic itinerary includes many other highlights of the Hebrides, it’s flexible in nature to allow for the wild Atlantic conditions.
Swimming with Basking Sharks
The Sea of the Hebrides is the only Marine Protected Area (MPA) for basking sharks in the world. Swimming alongside these gentle giants is a moment you will never forget. Visit these endangered animals responsibly, with our dedicated and passionate team.
Over the past decade, we have developed our Code of Conduct for encountering sharks to ensure their welfare & protection. This practice ensures both shark and customer safety which is our highest priority and allows you to get the best chance of a memorable experience.
Basking sharks migrate to the Hebrides every summer to feed and potentially breed. You can find more about them here, along with reading what it takes to find and swim with them here.
Swimming with Seals
Scotland boasts one third of the world’s grey seal population, swimming with these curious animals is a moment you will remember. We have multiple options around the island where we have resident seal colonies to visit – as well as the cute common seals that can even be spotted from the harbour!
Visit the legendary Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa – the basalt columns formed from volcanic activity fringe the cliffs of the island, plunging in to the water. An adventure playground which will be a highlight for snorkellers, swimmers and watchers alike. Snorkelling in this natural wonder should be on every bucket list!
Located in the Hebrides on the edge of the Atlantic means we can often experience very strong winds. This can mean it’s too rough to be at sea or make boarding dangerous.
In this instance we will arrange land activities. In addition to shore snorkelling, we can explore the island’s local wildlife, landscapes and history. There are fantastic habitats such as sand dunes and machair to discover. Historic castles, standing stones, pete cutting and local stories of life in the islands. Wildlife such as eagles, hen harriers, otters, hares and corncrakes are all things to keep an eye out for – as well as the iconic highland cattle!
Life on the Island
In the evenings enjoy the quiet life Coll has to offer, with remote beaches, otter spotting and stunning sunsets. This idyllic island is home to an award-winning restaurant and accommodation providers, but if wild camping is more your style you won’t be short of peaceful spots to enjoy.
Who is the tour for?
For the ocean-loving adventurer who wants to maximise their opportunities for shark encounters – but doesn’t have the time to join our full week tour. This tour is about the wildlife, however you would like to enjoy it – be it in the water or on board the boat.
To join our in-water activities you must be comfortably able to swim a minimum of 100m unaided in open water.
With the remote location we operate in there are some physical challenges such as boarding the boat by ladder and landing on the islands without facilities, please see here for more information.
The natural world is very unpredictable, not a zoo or an aquarium, therefore sightings are never guaranteed. We can however promise that you are visiting a wildlife hotspot with a highly experienced and passionate team. Our boats are comfortable cabin RIBs built for the wild Atlantic conditions which are closely monitored by our experienced skippers. We will do our very best to give you a great experience!
Day 1 (Thur) – Travel to Coll (0700-0940) head to boat for Activity day 1. Check into accommodation on return.
Day 2 (Fri)- Activity Day 2
Day 3 (Sat)- Activity Day 3
Day 4 (Sun) – Travel back to Oban (1245-1525)
Trip departing 1st Sept
Day 1 (Sun)- Travel to Coll (0700-0940) head to boat for Activity day 1. Check into accommodation on return.
Day 2 (Mon) – Activity Day 2
Day 3 (Tue)- Activity Day 3 (a ferry does depart at 17:55 but we can’t guarantee our trip return time to catch this (usually by 1700). If you book this return ferry it’s at your own risk of missing day 3).
Day 4 (Wed) – Travel back to Oban (1245-1525)
Trip departing 4th Sept
Day 1 (Wed) – Travel to Coll (0700-0940) head to boat for Activity day 1. Check into accommodation on return.
Day 2 (Thur) – Activity Day 2
Day 3 (Fri) – Activity Day 3
Day 4 (Sat) -Travel back to Oban (1230-1510)
If you are participating in our in water activities please check our hire equipment information. You will need to input your requirements and sizes at the time of booking – find our wetsuit size charts here.
If you intend to bring your own gear make sure you’ve read the minimum standard of kit needed. Here’s an advice document on what is best.
Ready to Book
After booking you will receive a confirmation email with a linked information document. You will also be contacted by our team to help you book accommodation in Coll and we’ll send a brochure with all the options.
This books up very very quickly as there are limited rooms on the island. You must book your room at the time of booking to ensure you don’t miss out. Once you have booked the tour we can suggest B&B rooms which we reserve for our passengers. You can check out the rooms at Tigh Na Mara B&B & Coll Hotel & Coll Bunkhouse and there are also pitches for campervans or camping on the island.
Basking sharks & marine wildlife migrate to our shores during spring for feeding & breeding. The Atlantic warms up, bringing an explosion of life which we can explore beneath the waves. Take a peek at what you can do with us!