Public Announcement Friday 31st July 2020
Now that the restrictions have eased, Seabirds-and-Seals are delighted to announce that they are now taking bookings for the remainder of the season with trips starting from Sunday 9th August. We've made some changes to how we operate to ensure the safety of our passengers and crew, which is always our top priority - the changes are numbered below. We have procedures in place to allow us to operate with the 1m social distancing rule and detailed fully below.
Our online booking system is not a true reflection as to how many seats we have remaining as we have had so many cancellations up until now and for the remainder of the season. We took the decision to keep the bookings live to show how much business we have lost due to the pandemic. If our online booking system is not showing enough seats for your chosen date/time this may not be the case, so we advise you to use our online contact form to enquire or email or telephone us, whichever method is most convenienct for yourself.
(Our Vessel Operates 1m Social Distancing Rule)
We want you to have a safe trip with us aboard Seabird so we're working hard to adhere to the latest Government health advice for boat operators and passengers. Although things will be a little different this year, we want to reassure you that the incredible wildlife experience you’ll have on our trip –
will be as spectacular as ever.
We're specifically following the Transport Scotland advice for ferries and following the 1m social distancing rule
as we have all the necessary procedures in place.
Here's how we're operating and what we're asking of you:
1. Wrap up for the weather, you'll be outside for the duration of the trip. Bring a mask and ideally visit the toilet before you board.
2. Don't attempt to come aboard if you or a member of your household has been displaying any C-virus symptoms. Please stay home and follow Scottish Government & Public Health Scotland advice. We will be happy to welcome you back when you are better.
3. Please arrive on slipway/walkway at Victoria Pier – directly across from Tourist Information Centre – at least fifteen minutes in advance of the sailing time. Whilst waiting to board please keep a safe distance of 2m from others out-with your household/group
4. We will meet you and brief you on safety aboard the boat including these Covid-19-precautions. Please maintain 1m social distance whilst aboard and masks should be worn.
5. We reserve the right to deny boarding to anyone we consider to be unwell or who we think will be unable to comply with the Covid-19 rules we're adhering too. A full refund will be provided.
6. When you board the vessel, crew will direct you to the hand sanitizer station and then you will be guided to your position on the vessel – group bookings will be positioned together. There's plenty of space aboard to maintain social distancing.
7. During the voyage you can move around as long as social distancing being followed. The Skipper will try to make sure everyone gets to see the sights equally.
8. In our tour information you will note we offer tea/coffee/juice/biscuits. If you are uncomfortable sharing this facility please feel free to take your own snacks. No alcohol on-board.
9. We do have a toilet aboard, if you do need to use it – please inform crew after use, so they can disinfect contacted areas after each use, but would ask that you try to avoid the need to use it. There is public toilets across the road from Victoria Pier - advise making use of them prior to boarding.
10. We are not operating our underwater camera as it involves coming into the cabin to view the screens inside.
11. In exceptional circumstances throughout the tour, we may allow passengers inside the cabin as long as masks are work and 1m distancing rule is adhered to. Example reasons might be the comfort of mothers with very young children or the elderly.
12. Our normal practice of distributing binoculars has been suspended. Please bring your own optics.
13. Please wear masks as you make payment at the end of the tour(crew will call you forward) and please ensure that you have the correct amount prior to boarding.
14. We’ll be working to make the boat as clean and safe as possible. Please do bear with us if things take a little longer or congestion at the port with other boat operators slows our progress.
15. We will retain your details in line with our online booking data protection policy. However this data may be requested for use by covid 19 ‘track and trace’ staff.
16. Specifically relating to COVID-19, you acknowledge that you are travelling with us at your own risk and agree that you will not hold our company or staff liable if you contract COVID-19 virus following a voyage aboard ‘Seabird’.
This section has been added to our standard terms and if it conflicts with any other subsequent sections – then this section has precedence.
We look forward to welcoming you back and thank you for your patience as we find out feet with the new ways of working.
Marie & Brian Leask
Public Statement - Wednesday 25th March 2020
We are very keen to let our many customers & followers know where we stand in a world which is currently experiencing a public health & financial crisis in light of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The Shetland Islands are unfortunately no exception with cases now being confirmed & many local businesses now on hold.
We are a family run business totally reliant on the tourist sector, taking the ever-evolving UK government & NHS advice regarding Coronavirus very seriously & have halted the start of our boat tour season which was due to start at the beginning of April.
It is with regret that SEABIRDS-AND-SEALS is now CLOSED FOR BUSINESS for APRIL & MAY 2020. We will re-evaluate our situation during May for the rest of the 2020 Shetland tourist season & hope that more positive news & boat trips may resume later in the Summer.
We will over the next few days, be contacting all of our April & May PRE-BOOKED CUSTOMERS to let them know our current situation & offering the two options below:
1. A cancellation & full refund if paid in advance.
2. A chance to postpone your boat tour until later in the year or for a date of your choice in 2021.
The above options are also available to all our PRE-BOOKED CUSTOMERS for the rest of the 2020 seabird tour season, though we will not be officially closing the JUNE-OCTOBER tours or making any decisions on our Noss Boat trips during that period until after out next evaluation in May. Obviously, we understand that many of our customers are having to cancel their 2020 trips to Shetland regardless of our own business situation. If you are able to not cancel but postpone & carry over your booking with us into 2021 we would be extremely grateful, though we know this is not always an option. We understand that this is a very stressful & uncertain time for all & our thoughts go out to those affected directly by the virus or as a result of the financial implications of it. If you have any questions regarding trips with SEABIRDS-AND-SEALS please do not hesitate to get in touch by calling either Marie or Brian on:
07595540224 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marie & Brian Leask
SEABIRDS-AND-SEALS - Noss Boat.
With our experienced Captain, Brian, and knowledgeable naturalist Marie, enjoyed breathtaking views of the Noss cliffs, seabird colonies, the coastline, and seals with the bonus of learning some local history and snagging some very special underwater views. On a cool and windy day on the water, the coffee/tea and biscuits served were a nice touch as well. Can't imagine a better way to see the area and wildlife - or better folks to guide us. The boat was comfortable and provided some protection from the elements as well!!
So I was visiting my friends in Lerwick and I had a few hours to spend so inspotted the seabird and seals boat, I approached Brian (owner) and asked if there was room for 1 more and there was. I was told to be at the pier for 2pm, I was and we set sail around 2.15pm, we had a safety brief from Marie and it was very clear but also relaxed. First stop was out to a shipwreck where they anchored and put down an underwater camera so we could see the sea life and the wreck, it was really amazing and you could all see clearly on the two television screens. We then proceeded to see the seals then out towards Noss, I don't want to spoil the trip for anyone but it was fantastic and the best £45 I have spent in a while, included were tea & biscuits as well, we were away from 3 and half hours, great company, great boat and overall fantastic experience, well done to you both.
We were so, so lucky...We started slowly with a fascinating camera exploring the sea life around an old wreck. Then we got serious, out into open water and the spectacularly rugged coasts of the islands of Bressay and Noss...The cliffs of Noss were one of the greatest natural sights I've ever experienced. With the sea hammering us and the captain keeping us steady maybe four feet from the rocks, we were at the base of 592-feet-high cliffs, with 25,000 birds above us, sitting/nesting on every speck of ledge, many diving beak-first at high speed to spear fish, the noise of the birds overwhelming. At one point I wondered what would happen if one bird noticed us and mused, "Fancy a change from fish today?" We were probably there half an hour, and it's a half hour that will live in our memories a long time. Lots still to see after that, including backing up into a cavern in a cliff, and anchoring in a cove for tea, coffee, and biscuits. What an incredible tour!
This tour was arranged by our cruise ship and it's a must do for anyone visiting Lerwick in Shetland Islands. We saw such beautiful birds and the two owners were so knowledgeable and friendly. Also rock formations and caves were beautiful. Loved the gingerbread cookies and coffee. Also the views from underwater camera were great!
A belated review from a visit to Shetland in May this year - we had an amazing trip with Brian and Marie round the cliffs of Noss and Bressay. They were both extremely knowledgeable and friendly, seemed to know everything about the wildlife we encountered on the tour, plenty of new things to discover even for someone who grew up in Shetland. we saw grey seals, gannets, great skuas and shags, we couldn't believe how many birds were nesting around the cliffs! The weather was nice enough for Brian to bring the boat right into the Orkneyman's Cave, as well as sending down the ROV to a small wreck at the North mooth of the harbour. would definitely consider taking the trip again, and recommend to both visitors and islanders alike.