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:
5 days at sea exploring the best of the Inner Hebrides*
1 day offshore searching for big wildlife such as basking sharks, dolphins & whales
Swim the legendary Fingal’s Cave
Meet charismatic puffins at the Treshnish Isles
Snorkel in temperate kelp forests and reefs **
Visit the resident seal colonies
Opportunity for whale and dolphin watching
Wild swimming options at all locations
Island landings via dingy
Adventure in waterfalls, castles and geological wonders
* Day lengths at sea will vary, some days will be half days (4 hours), others will considerably longer (up to 10hours) due to the distance to location.
** Snorkelling participation requires a minimum experience level, see more information here.
This 5 day itinerary is based from the beautiful coastal town of Oban. The boat departs from Oban town centre boat pontoons within easy reach of all Oban based accommodation.
Due to the nature of the weather and tides, our itinerary will vary daily to get the best chances for settled conditions at exposed locations. We will keep you updated on meeting times throughout the week.
For more information on travel and staying in Oban please see our FAQs.
On the Tour
Once you arrive at the meeting point a member of our friendly crew will meet you, and show you to the boat, here you will find your pre-booked hire gear which will stay on board for the week.
Our fantastic itinerary includes many other highlights of the Hebrides, it’s flexible in nature to allow for the wild Atlantic conditions.
Each day will focus on searching for wildlife. The deep waters around the offshore islands create excellent feeding opportunities for sharks, whales and dolphins. Photographers and naturalists will keep themselves busy with the plentiful bird life. During our inshore days, we will explore the rich natural and historical heritage of the area.
Oban Local Day
We plan to start your trip with a half day on the boat exploring locally. Your skipper will brief you on the week ahead, before heading to some of our favourite spots, such as the historic Gylen Castle on the Isle of Kerrera. A great introduction to the hidden treasures of our local marine life. We might save this day for when there is stronger winds offshore, staying in the sheltered areas of the Firth of Lorn.
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 into the water. An adventure playground that will be a highlight for snorkellers, swimmers and watchers alike. Snorkelling in this natural wonder should be on every bucket list!
Swimming with Seals
Scotland boasts one-third of the world’s grey seal population, and swimming with these curious animals is a moment you will remember. We have multiple options around the islands where we have resident seal colonies to visit – as well as the cute common seals that can even be spotted from the harbour!
Visit Puffins at the Treshnish Isles
Our favourite characters visit the islands from spring to the end of July. Rest your sea legs on the beautiful Isle of Lunga, an idyllic lunch spot to enjoy a picnic with the puffins. This island is a bird watcher’s paradise with breeding colonies of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, kittiwakes and shags.
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. The spring tours are scheduled at a time when they are arriving back from their winter migration. Sightings can be variable and we usually pick the most settled weather of the 5 days to look for them and other megafauna. If your reason for visiting is purely for the sharks we suggest our peak season 3/4 & 7 day tours. You can find more about them here, along with reading what it takes to find and swim with them here.
Corryvreckan Whirlpool, Slate Isles & Garvellachs
An hour south of Oban lies the Corryvreckan, the third-largest whirlpool in the world. The Slate Isles with hidden lake and the Garvellach islands which have historical stone remains are also close by. This special area of conservation has lots of marine life and some unique snorkel sites. See both species of eagle, bottlenose dolphins and porpoises, along with seals on the shore and stags in the skyline.
South Mull – Waterfall
Along the southern coastline of Mull, there is epic volcanic geology, including clifftop waterfalls with towering cascades. Swim into huge basalt column archways, and some of Mull’s other hidden treasures without the crowds. Take an unforgettable al fresco shower in the fresh mountain water from 100 metres above you.
South Mull – Carsaig Arches
Our second swim on this day is at the exposed Carsaig Arches – a sought after and seldom visited location. The cliffs here towering over 300m are covered in geological features. The arches comprise of a large keyhole arch and huge cave. The group will swim in through the keyhole arch, scramble over the rocks, through the huge cavern and then snorkel out over the rocky and kelp forest reef. An exhilarating and amazing experience.
Optional Extra – Visit Isle of Kerrera
New for 2024, our boats will be based on the Isle of Kerrera just over the other side of Oban bay. Following our trip finishing you can choose to be dropped off at the Kerrera marina. From there you have easy access to explore the north of the island including a great vantage point at Hutchison’s memorial. Look out for more wildlife, buy some island craft & produce, have coffees & food at the waypoint cafe. There is plenty of afternoon and evening light for an extended trip down to Gylen Castle and the tearoom (although this is a 4mile trip one way). Returning back to the mainland is via the water taxi or Calmac ferry. So feel free to chat to your guide or skipper about the options for this.
Who is the tour for?
We plan on wild swimming & snorkelling each day on this tour, along with a variety of island landings. It is suitable for those that wish to snorkel or those who want to explore the Inner Hebrides from the boat.
During this five day itinerary, one day will be focused on looking for megafauna including basking sharks, if your main purpose for visiting is basking sharks we suggest looking at our Coll-based tours, these are closer to the action and later in the peak season.
To join our in-water activities you must be comfortably able to swim a minimum of 100m unaided in open water. Some of the locations such as Fingal’s cave & Carsaig Arches can be challenging, however we try to work up to visiting these location after you’ve had a few swims.
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 lengths at sea will vary, some days will be half days (4 hours), others will considerably longer (up to 10hours) due to the distance to location.
Our 5 day Spring Island Adventure tours run from May to early July, with only 10 spaces per boat.
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 your preferred date you will receive a confirmation email with a linked information document.
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!