St Kilda and Outer Hebrides Wildlife Adventure

10-night cruise departing June 15th

Basking sharks, dolphins and whales in abundance! We set off on our only 10-night cruise to St Kilda this season with high hopes of seeing lots of rare wildlife and we did! We reached our first anchorage at Loch na Drumbuie on Ardnamurchan on an idyllic evening and a flat calm sea and were rewarded with our first sightings of a white-tailed eagle, then terns, harbour porpoise and a red throated diver.

The next day we headed for Loch Scresort on the Isle of Rum in search of otters. Guests went ashore for a walk to the otter hide but unfortunately there were none to be seen. Manx shearwaters, razorbills and black guillemots were out and about

On our third day, we explored another of the small Isles, the Isle of Canna, with a pleasant shore walk, although fairly windy. Guest has close sightings of the colony of grey seals with lots of eider and terns

With the forecast more encouraging we headed for the Outer Hebrides, reaching the tiny but beautiful Isle of Vatersay at the end of Barra, taking a walk on its fabulous shell- sand beach with the machair just coming into flower. On the way our first Minke way of the cruise was seen, also Leaches Petrel and common tern. Everyone is looking forward to reaching Mingulay tomorrow – a very special place.

On our way to our anchorage at Mingulay we had the most incredible experience of being surrounded by at least 20 basking sharks, and spotting 2 Minke whales. As always the seals coming ashore on Mingulay Bay was a very evocative sight and sound, an unforgettable experience

Six days into our cruise saw us heading for St Kilda, passing pair of bottlenose dolphins off the Sound of Barra with more Leach’s petrel seen. On our arrival at Village Bay, St Kilda there were two Minke whales around to greet us!

A further full day in Village Bay gave our guests time to go ashore and explore. After dinner we celebrated the birthday of our guest Malcolm in proper style.

Departing St Kilda, we headed for Leverburgh in Harris, spotting white beaked dolphins on the way. Also seen were white-tailed eagle, greenshank, tufted ducks, ravens and sandwich terms cruise. Despite a fairly strong wind, we were able to cruise around the spectacular stacs offshore. Our onboard cook Pip spotted a langoustine fishing vessel mooring and bought the starter for the next night’s dinner direct from the boat

The following day on our way to the Isle of Coll, the boat was surrounded by a pod of over 100 common dolphins for over an hour – what an experience for our guests! A Minke whale arrived only 20ft from our boat as we cruised from Canna to Coll, staying with us for an hour.

On our final day, we headed for the west Coast of Mull and the Treshnish Isles so that our guests could see the puffin colonies and then on to Oban for disembarking.  It was a shame we never saw an otter but we really can’t complain!  The full bird list is below.

Here is the dinner menu served up by Pip, our cook:

Haggis stuffed mushrooms; chicken coq au vin; roast peaches with praline.

Inverlussa mussels in white wine; venison sausages with mash and rosemary gravy; pear raspberry and whisky trifle.

Asparagus with hollandaise sauce, locally sourced fish pie, lemon posset

Brussels pate and oatcakes, sausage and black bean chiili with basmati rice; brown bread whisky ice cream

Parma ham and melon; roast leg of lamb; lime and buttermilk tart.

Stornoway black pudding and poached egg: venison stew: elderflower and berry jelly

Smoked mackerel pate; chicken, lemon and parsley risotto; steamed chocolate cake

Smoked salmon on oatcakes, salmon on lentils and herbs, summer berry meringue

Fresh langoustine from a local boat; chicken Skandi styel, crème brulee

Here is the total list of birds seen:

Red-throated diver  Great northern diver  Fulmar Manx shearwater  Storm petrel Gannet Cormorant Shag  Grey heron  Mute swan  Greylag goose

Shelduck  Mallard  Tufted duck Eider  Red-breasted merganser  White-tailed eagle Buzzard Peregrine Corncrake Oystercatcher Ringed plover Golden plover

Lapwing Snipe Black-tailed godwit Curlew Redshank Greenshank Common sandpiper Turnstone Arctic skua Great skua Black-headed gull Common gull Lesser black-backed gull Herring gull Great black-backed gull Kittiwake Sandwich tern Common tern Arctic tern Guillemot Razorbill Black guillemot Puffin

Rock dove Woodpigeon Collared dove Cuckoo Tawny owl Swift Great spotted woodpecker Skylark Swallow House martin Meadow pipit Rock pipit Pied wagtail Wren Dunnock Robin Stonechat Wheatear Blackbird Song thrush Blackcap Wood warbler Willow warbler Long-tailed tit Coal tit Blue tit Great tit Hooded crow Raven Starling House sparrow Chaffinch Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Twite Redpoll Cirl bunting Reed bunting Corn bunting Bonaparte’s Gull