Noss & Bressay Cruise
Consistently rated FIVE by Tripadvisor reviewers, Seabirds-and-Seals is ranked the #1 boat tour from Lerwick by the world’s biggest travel website.
One of the most spectacular wildlife sights on Earth is just 40 minutes from Lerwick, the Shetland capital. You won’t believe how close we’ll take you to 25,000 gannets, thousands of guillemots and hundreds of kittiwakes, puffins, razorbills, black guillemots, shags and skuas at Noss National Nature Reserve.
Millions of years of wind and ice eroded these ancient desert sandstones into 2km of cliffs, up to 181m high, with thousands of ledges and balconies making perfect nest sites for the seabirds. The stupendous roar of the Noss “choir” is a sound you’ll never forget.
The air swarms with birds: squawking gannets come in to land with “full flaps”; serried ranks of squabbling guillemots growl incessantly; great skuas or “bonxies” swoop in piratical raids on nests and chicks – when they’re not forcing adult gannets to crash land and hand over their lunch!
Our boat, Dunter III, has twin engines and waterjet propulsion for extra safety, speed and manoeuvrability – and an extra heavy-duty metal hull – so we can explore caves and coves where other operators can’t safely go. We also get there faster and so spend more time with the birds and seals. Seabirds-and-Seals takes you closest to the awe-inspiring sights and sounds (and smells!) of this extraordinary seabird metropolis.
Along the way the way you’ll discover the fascinating coastline of the island of Bressay. The route each day changes, depending on the wind speed and direction – we always steer our course for the most sheltered water.
Corals in the forest
Weather permitting, you’ll sail close to the magnificent rock arch of The Giant’s Leg and, with our underwater camera, view plankton, starfish, crabs, sea urchins, sea anemones, soft corals and jellyfish in the beautiful Orknis Geo (“The Orkneyman’s Cave”) or on a sheltered reef where fish glide above the kelp forest.
We sometimes (no false promises!) meet porpoises, occasionally whales, and otters and dolphins – and most days we get close to the grey seals and harbour seals.
In this sandstone corner of Shetland’s Global Geopark you’ll see what the climate was like 360 million years ago and see traces of volcanic gas explosions, giant storms and rapid sea level rise.
Shetland has sunk some 400 feet (120m) since the ice started to melt 15,000 years ago. Rapid global warming and sea level rise since then mean we have several more coastlines underwater. On our Seabirds-and-Seals tour can you explore the half of Shetland that lies beneath the surface of The Shetland Sea. We pioneered underwater viewing in Shetland in 2001 and we have private moorings at the best dive sites in The Orkneyman’s Cave and at The Cave of Noss.
Your expert guides can answer questions on the natural history, geology and folklore of Bressay and Noss. Hear tales of the Vikings, buried treasure, Hanseatic merchants, Dutch smugglers, the Press Gang and deserted villages.