Thursday, 13 September 2012

A boat trip with Sealife Adventures Oban

As my regular readers will know I was away to Oban for a week, and I am doing a few posts highlighting things to do in the area.

One of the things that really appealed to us to do was to go on a whale and wildlife watching trip. We looked in to various companies that ran these trips, some of which actually run from Oban itself, but after reading the sites and absorbing all the information on them we decided to go with a company called Sealife Adventures. We chose this for a few reasons, apart from the fact their trips appealed more, two of them being their are toilets on board and the stability of the boat itself.

Sealife Adventures tell us

Experience a whale watching boat trip in Scotland with Sealife Adventures, based on the mainland near Oban, Argyll, Scotland. Cruise through the infamous Corryvreckan Whirlpool. The stunning panorama of the Inner Hebrides includes Mull, Iona Jura and Islay.

This area is exceptional for wildlife watching. It is a hot spot for porpoise, dolphins, minke whales and basking sharks. Bird watching highlights include sea eagles, golden eagles and puffins, while otters, seals, and deer can be seen along the shore.

Enjoy whale and wildlife trips aboard the purpose built "Porpoise II" - with nearly 900 horse power it is Britain's most powerful wildlife charter boat. This huge boat offers unparalleled stability, safety and comfort, including an onboard toilet. Watch videos in the heated wheelhouse, or enjoy the fresh sea breeze on the deck of this spacious boat. Our cruises are suitable for the whole family.

It was a very stable boat, apart from when we were heading towards the whirlpool there seemed to be little excessive movement and not one person complained of feeling sea sick.

There web site is filled with useful information including a description of places and things you may see on your tip.

The trips are designed for a maximum of twelve passengers, minimum of six,  along with David the skipper and Natalie the wildlife expert, who doubled as the tea lady.

All the passengers on board were friendly and chatty and we all had a laugh and mingled. The local lady had brought home made scones for everybody

So we booked up for our adventure, we booked the 4 hr corry trip, in which
we visit the corryvreckan and sea eagle and golden eagle territories and may go offshore. 4 hours is an ideal duration at this time of year.

So we arrived in plenty of time for the sailing, the road out is well signposted and you are driving onto Seil, described by wiki as
The Bridge over the Atlantic
 a small island on the east side of the Firth of Lorn, 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Oban, in Scotland. Seil has been linked to the mainland by bridge since the late eighteenth century.

We gathered up our hats, jackets, gloves, waterproofs and put on sturdy footwear and headed down to the boat.


David the skipper greets everybody and welcomes them on board. He gives you an idea of what you may be doing on the trip, as everyday and every sailing is different depending on the weather and what sightings have been reported that day.David then introduces you to Natalie, the on board wild life expert, who runs through a full safety briefing, pointing out life belts, emergency life raft, and life jackets are available for anybody who wishes to wear one. Children are required to wear them but it was all adults on our trip and apart from one lady who owns a boat locally and had her own then nobody chose to wear one, apart from Natalie as she is required to.

Everybody is supplied with waterproof trousers as you do end up wet, and there are waterproof jackets available if you required them as well. Binoculars were also made available to everybody that wanted them. Must admit the odd times that people did get wet they soon dried off with the sea breezes.

getting wet during the stormy bit

We set off and as David, Natalie or any passengers spotted wildlife David would slow down the boat, make a detour or stop where appropriate. Laminated sheets were available with pictures of birds and wildlife to help you identify what you were looking at.

Natalie gave a lot of local information on landmarks and various houses as well as some of the local history. They even pointed out a "house of ill repute" to us. Any questions were answered.

Our trip was very pleasant, the weather was a bit breezy but dry with patches of sunshine. During the trip Natalie regularly came round and offered hot drinks and biscuits, and for people like me that do not drink tea or coffee then ribena was offered ( I had actually taken a bovril cube just in case). If you wanted one all you had to do was ask at any time.

You were welcome in the cabin of the boat and during the trip David gave a very interesting talk on farmed salmon. The toilet is in the front of the boat down a few steps, whilst it was a bit awkward to turn round in it was plenty roomy enough to accommodate larger people like myself.

We stopped at Jura and watched Sea Eagles and as the weather was not to rough we went right into The Corryvrecken Whirlpool . This was both exciting as well as a wee bit scary, but then had it not been safe we would not have gone, the bat trip the day before had not gone into it.

We saw seals as well as a lot of different birds. We saw wild goats on a stretch of beach.

Me and the boat

The four hours actually passed all too quickly, and all too soon we were back at the beginning.

I loved the trip, sadly we didn't see any whales but then it was late in the year for them, liked the fact that David would just head the boat off to things that appealed and that there was no set route.

We recieved a 30% discount on booking this trip in return for an honest review. From our experience I would highly recommend this trip if you are ever in that neck of the woods.

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