5-Star Early Morning Photography Tour

Supreme 5-Star
Early Morning Photography Tour
Around Bressay & Noss

(Twice weekly on selected days – weather permitting)
Adults: £60             Under 16’s: £30 
(Includes Refreshments)


Weather permitting we operate this tour twice weekly on selected days with a start time of 5:45am, but may be subject to change.  Please check our online booking calendar by clicking on ‘Book Now’ and navigate through the week until you find our early morning tour listed. Once you have decided which day you would like to join, you can book/pay online using our easy-to-use online booking system which accepts debit, credit card or paypal.  Alternatively you can contact us directly and we will get you booked on.  If you book online you will receive a full booking confirmation along with our business T&Cs, if for any reason you do not receive this – please let us know so that we can investigate.  

We ask please that you arrive promptly at the tour start time advertised on our online booking calendar.  We like to depart as soon as we have done our warm welcome and the all important safety briefing.  

We advise not leaving your booking until your last days in Shetland as we do sometimes have to cancel due to weather.  


Victoria Pier, Lerwick, ZE1 0EL


The early morning tour is a FULL TWO HOURS PLUS and covers the same route as our daily tours with refreshments included to give you good value.  We spend good quality time at the cliffs of Noss as well as other wildlife & scenic hotspots.  Our tour duration gives you plenty of wildlife and photography opportunities.  


Our tours generally last up to 2.5hrs , but we never know exactly what we’ll find on our excursions, so we do sometimes return a few minutes late.  If you have to be back exactly on time, to catch a ferry, a plane or a bus or for any other reason, please let us know at the start of the trip and we’ll make sure to dock on schedule. 

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Our ‘Original Dawn Patrol’ is first of its kind in Shetland when founder Jonathan Wills started offering this unique experience all those years ago, which we now offer twice weekly.  Our early morning tour, gives photographers a chance of spectacular early morning light on 20,000 birds in the Noss gannetry.  We provide hot drinks and biscuits into the tour, caffeine always a welcome treat early morning.  After all that sea air you will return to land with a healthy appetite and happy memories to speak about over breakfast.  

In the interests of our passenger safety, comfort and welfare, we always have minimum two crew accompanying every tour, this also gives you a richer experience and makes sure you have an unforgettable tour with us. Our business has taken thousands of visitors to Noss since 1992 and our experience and knowledge of the sea, nature and local heritage is unrivalled.  We are consistently ranked NO.1 boat/wildlife tour on the review site Trip Advisor.  During the tour Marie provides fun, engaging ‘live’ commentary over our PA system, giving you full attention throughout and shares her great knowledge on the wildlife, geology, local history, landmarks and so much more – she is happy to answer any questions you may have.  

A snippet from a magazine featuring Seabirds and Seals

The Tour

To offer very good value for money, this tour takes you right around Bressay & around the cliffs of the famous Noss National Nature Reserve.  Our trip to Noss is an amazing wildlife spectacle and allows you to enjoy Shetland’s plethora of seabirds and seals, as well as spectacular views.  We’ll take you unbelievably close to the awe-inspiring sights and sounds of this extraordinary seabird metropolis, which is home to 25,000 Northern gannets, as well as thousands of guillemots, black guillemots, puffins, razorbills, gulls, shags and skuas.  You will come eye-to-eye with beautiful blue-eyed gannets and immerse yourself in the unforgettable clamour of a thousands-strong ‘choir’ or different bird calls – a sound you’ll never forget.  Superb opportunities to see and photograph Shetland’s wildlife against the stunning backdrop of the 181-metre-high Noss sandstone cliffs.   We bring along fresh fish to give you a guaranteed opportunity to see gannets encircling and diving right alongside our boat. 

Keep your fingers crossed & your eyes peeled – no guarantees but If you’re extremely lucky, you might even see Orca, Minke Whale, Porpoises, dolphins or otters. Every trip with Seabirds-and-Seals is unique as always something different to see along the way and will hopefully leave you with many happy memories of Shetland. 

We  spend quality time at all the widlife/scenic hotspots which offer plenty of fabulous photography opportunities.

Along the way we regale you with history and folk tales, and share our great knowledge of Lerwick’s beautiful harbour, the Bressay Lighthouse, the Orkneyman’s Cave, the magnificent giant’s leg, the geology of Bressay, local history and much more.  When sea conditions allows the tour takes you right into the beautiful Orkneyman’s Cave and sail through the Magnificent Giant’s Leg Archway – which is always a WOW with our guests.  Click on our photo gallery to view many more fabulous pictures from our tours – each gives full details of the different wildlife and places we take you. 

After your trip around the cliffs of Noss, we anchor in a tranquil little bay, which offers plenty of wildlife & photography opportunities.  We provide fresh filter coffee, tea, hot chocolate, juice and a selection of biscuits (including gluten-free).  If you or anyone else in your party has any other dietary requirements, just let us know when making your booking with us.  Please do tell us if you or anyone in your party is celebrating a special occasion – we will push the boat out for you (pardon the pun). This stop is always a great highlight and an opportunity for all aboard to have a chat whilst enjoying a refreshment and soaking up the beautiful surroundings.  If your phone battery runs low after all the photo clicking, we can assist as we have USB charging points throughout the cabin.

Family Friendly

Our tours are extremely family friendly with plenty to keep our younger sailors entertained.  We have onboard kids activities and challenges set by our highly experienced skipper, one of our onboard activities has a monthly prize-draw.  Each young sailor receives a FREE sea life activity pack to take home and newly added for our 2024 season is our Eco-Friendly ‘Wooden Puffin Windmill Kits’.  Once assembled and designed, set outside and watch their wings rotate, just like a real bird.  Each purchase made from our supplier supports the vital work they provide financially to their charity partners.

Service Excellence

We are committed to providing a very high standard of customer care by listening to the needs of our customers to be accessible and inclusive for all.  We are always open to new suggestions and happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Our dedication and high standard of customer care has been recognized by many awards.  Just one year after taking over the business (2018) we were awarded Visit Scotland’s 4-Star accolade.  We have worked hard over the years and implemented many changes to make our tours accessible and inclusive for all.  We followed recommendations from Visit Scotland and in 2023 we were delighted to be awarded their Prestigious 5-Star accolade which reflects an exceptional standard and the highest grading you can achieve.  Also in 2023 we were shortlisted for two award categories at The Highlands and Islands Thistle Awards…we then went onto the Finals in Inverness and won both categories for ‘Best Visitor Attraction’ and ‘Incluive Tourism. Now into 2024 we are delighted to be ‘Service Excellence’ winners for Scotland at the FSB Business Awards.  Great to have our high standard of customer care and dedication recognized by those awards and the many other awards as detailed on our homepage.


The Noss Boat ‘Seabird’

‘Seabird’ is licensed to carry 12 passengers and because she’s a catamaran – a very stable twin-hulled boat.  There’s a very wide and spacious viewing platform all on one level so you can enjoy 360° panoramic viewing without having to watch where you step . This is the ideal boat for the best photographic opportunities, with room to sit, stand or move around without being confined to your seat or in one space – free as a bird! There’s seating on deck for all, but if you prefer to be inside our heated saloon you’ll still have panoramic views. You can sit around the cabin table to chat, or browse our small but informative ship’s library. There’s also dry storage space inside the cabin where you can securely stow any baggage and belongings, accessible at all times throughout the trip.  We have an accessible toilet on deck level and equipped with hand sanitizer, hygiene bags etc.  Always reassuring to know there is easy access to a toilet on-board and especially after those welcoming refreshments.

Wheelchair accessible onto the boat and ideal boat for anyone with accessibility & mobility needs,  just let us know your requirements prior to booking and we will be happy to assist you.  Our on-board toilet and heated cabin are only accessible to ambulatory wheelchair users.  The doors to both areas are not wide enough to accommodate someone in a wheelchair all of the time.  Please check out our published updated Accessibility Guide.  

We cater for many other needs to make our tour inclusive and enjoyable for all.  You can find out more by visiting our Accessible & Inclusive Tourism page here on our website. 

Meet The Crew

Marie, Brian and Marvyn are all Shetland born and bred, our experience/knowledge of the sea, nature and the local heritage around us is extensive.  Passengers tell us our fun, personal and engaging style appeals to all ages and varying interests.  

Our continuing success, is reflected in our fantastic TripAdvisor & Google Reviews, complementing each other’s experience, skills and talents.  We make a fabulous team, providing a highly informative, fun and fascinating tour, from start to finish showing you the best of Lerwick Harbour, Bressay & Noss.

Ever since the business started 32 years ago, it has built up a very good reputation as a top wildlife tour with many very knowledgeable crew.  We are delighted to keep on many of the same relief crew that Jonathan had, with three new additions, our most recent being our relief skipper Marvyn.

We are very excited about the future, this year we celebrate 32 years of the business as it has had 32 continuous years of trading as ‘Seabirds-and-Seals’.  We look forward to welcoming many passengers on-board The Noss Boat Seabird. 

You can find out more about us and our relief crew members by clicking on here 

Our customer feedback and experience is most important to us – we welcome any questions and would appreciate if you could please leave us a review following your tour with us – Thank You.

From Left to Right – Marie Leask, Brian Leask & Marvyn Johnson

Tour Cruising Map

The map below is copyright of Seabirds-and-Seals which shows our cruising area, but the tour can change from day-to-day depending on the wind speed and direction – we always steer our course for the most sheltered water.  Our tours are very much weather dependent, that’s why when booking we advise not leaving it until your last days in Shetland and we also ask for you to provide a contact number so that if we do need to cancel, then we can try and get you re-booked onto a different day/tour.

If sea conditions prevents us getting you out to Noss during your time in Shetland, we are sometimes available for wildlife-filled inshore trips to look at the urban wildlife so prevalent in Lerwick Harbour – like a bespoke tour just to watch seals….  If Sea conditions allows on the day – we can showcase what the South coastline of Bressay has to offer, such as Bressay Lighthouse, Orkneyman’s Cave, Magnificent Giant’s Leg Archway and share all our knowledge on Lerwick’s beautiful harbour.  After viewing all that’s above, we can launch our ROV mini submarine and show you a variety of sealife below whilst having a refreshment. 

Please note – the underwater viewing is not available if we get out to Noss, only if we take you on the alternative tour if unable to get you out to the Noss cliffs during your time in Shetland.  


Route the Noss Boat Takes

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