We are delighted that Skipper James, Wildlife Experts Lynsey & Will and Bosun Helen are all back on board for the 2021 season. We are also very pleased to welcome Skipper Ritchie who will share the season with James. Our new Bosun Cat, and Chef Emma are dedicated to supporting the crew and providing excellent hospitality for guests and a great addition to the Emma Jane team for 2021.
Skipper James Fairbairns is a skilled and qualified Skipper with the Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence and was the second coxswain of the Tobermory Lifeboat for 13 years. In the winter he is an instructor and examiner for Yachtmasters, a first aid instructor and VHF assessor. James has been a Skipper for the past 19 years in the west coast of Scotland and his marine and wildlife knowledge is impressive. His passion for the conservation and protection of the marine wildlife he encounters is evident in his ability to locate wildlife and pass on his knowledge to the guests on board.
Skipper Ritchie Darby is very well qualified with all the necessary Certificates of Competences to Skipper Emma Jane. A very professional skipper who has a wealth of experience cruising our waters. A keen photographer and often the first person to spot the first whale or dolphin of the day! Unlike James' addiction to tea, Richie's addiction to chocolate biscuits will distract him from finding beasties - so don't tempt him! Ritchie is passionate and knowledgable about the wildlife of the Hebrides and is an excellent addition to our team.
Wildlife Expert Lynsey Bland is a qualified geologist with a passion for wildlife and the Hebrides, especially whales and dolphins. She volunteers with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust assisting with updating the photo ID catalogues and taking part in cetacean research surveys. She will continue to collect data on board with Hebrides Cruises and will work closely with HWDT to develop their marine wildlife sightings app, which was launched in the summer of 2017.Lynsey is our main Wildlife Guide on board Emma Jane.
Wildlife Expert Will Smith is an ecologist with a particular passion for marine wildlife. He has guided groups in various locations such as outback Australia, but also closer to home in the mountains of Snowdonia. A keen cetacean watcher, Will has also spent several summers living in a lighthouse on a remote Island studying Arctic Terns, amongst other seabirds. He has spent a great deal of time at sea looking for wildlife, both above and below the water- never missing an opportunity to get up close and personal with cetaceans, sharks and turtles. Having visited the Southern, Pacific and Mid Atlantic Oceans, his favourite place is the West Coast of Scotland, and believes that the scenery and wildlife found here is as exciting as anywhere else in the world.
Chef Emma Empson, is another Emma Jane and is excited to join us this season. Since learning to sail as a child, Emma has worked or lived on boats, ranging from 24ft to 104 ft, for the last 10 years, mostly on Englands south coast and in Sydney, Australia. Her work has been vaired from deckhand to host and as a chef since graduating from Leiths school in 2015. Emma loves to cook with seasonal, local produce (dreaming of the Scottish seafood) and is a big fan of making yummy teatime treats!
Chef Caroline Chilton-Bates, is a former Royal Naval Officer who therefore enjoys being on the water. Caroline is a graduate of Ashburton Cookery Academy and a registered nutritional consultant with an MSc in Personalised Nutrition and a Diploma in Nutritional Science. However our guests will be most pleased to know that her meals are not only full of flavour but also feature a little bit of naughtiness or well-earned afternoon treat after a shore excursion.
Bosun Helen Fox has always loved the outdoors, studying sport at university and competing in the snowboard circuit world-wide. She then spent 7 years in the Super Yacht industry, eventually as Chief Stewardess, and is delighted to bring her experience to ensure guests have a comfortable and relaxing cruise. Helen also has a diploma in floristry so we are looking forward to exciting arrangements when she is on board! She is delighted to be returning as Emma Jane bosun and although she has travelled the world, she believes the Hebrides is one of the most beautiful places she’s ever been.
Bosun Caitriona Macleod grew up in Argyll and has sailed extensively on the west coast of Scotland. She will be serving as bosun on both vessels and is looking forward to looking after our guests and helping them get the most out of their cruise. Despite crossing the Atlantic twice, sailing most of the Caribbean islands and circumnavigated the Spitsbergen Archipelago in the Arctic circle she thinks the west coast of Scotland beats anywhere for world class wildlife and scenery.