Important: COVID-19 company statement, click here to read more
We Are Taking Bookings For Our 2021 Season (Depending on Scottish Government Guidelines - our Covid-19 Company Statement may be subject to review - we will ensure to update as and when changes take place - please check for latest updates prior to boarding Seabird)
The Original Wildlife Boat Trip around Bressay & Noss, Shetland Islands
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Tel: (0)7595 540 224

FAQs

When is the best time to take the tour?

There's always plenty to see in any month of the year but the greatest number and variety of birdlife is from early May to early August. Our scheduled season runs from beginning of April to end of September, outwith those months we operate tours on request and often take guests out to Noss when the gannets return from the ocean in mid-January - popular excursion with visiting guests arriving for our annual Up-Helly-Aa fire festival. These magnificent birds stay on the cliff until the end of October.

Should I book ahead?

Yes, to avoid disappointment, we do recommend advance booking but not to leave it until your last days in Shetland as you can lose this 4-Star highlight experience due to weather cancellations, but when cancellations do occur we do our very best to re-book you onto another slot.  You can book by clicking on Book Now.  Alternative you can use our online contact form with your requirements or then email info@seabirds-and-seals.com or by phone to 07595 540 224 or 07818 455 576. The international code is +44.

When should I be at the departure point?

We ask passengers booked on our tours, to be at Victoria Pier Slipway in downtown Lerwick, 15 minutes before the advertised sailing time as we have our welcome & all important safety briefing to go over. We won't sail without you if you happen to run a few minutes late, just call us on the bookings phone 07595 540 224 or 07818 455 576 and we'll wait for you, if you don't get an immediate answer just leave a message on our voicemail system.

Will we be back on time?

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, please let us know at the start of the trip and we'll make sure to dock on schedule. If you're catching the Northlink ferry south on a day when it goes via Orkney then we can't get you back to Lerwick from the afternoon trip in time for last check-in. But if you're taking the direct sailing to Aberdeen, which departs at 7pm, there's plenty of time to join our afternoon cruise before you leave Shetland.

Will it be cold and wet out there?

It's always colder at sea than on land, so we do recommend you dress warmly – maybe in one of those beautiful Shetland sweaters you can buy just a few steps from our departure point in Lerwick! It's often showery in Shetland so if you want to stay on deck all the time, it's best to bring some  lightweight waterproofs as well.

Which are the best seats?

All of them! There are no seat allocations on M.V. Seabird and you're welcome to sit where you like and move around, depending on what you're looking at.  We have seating for up to 12 passengers both outside & inside our heated saloon.  There is a dry baggage area in the front port corner of the wheelhouse.

How will I know what I'm looking at?

Our cabin has a small library of wildlife identification books and a selection of free information leaflets about Shetland's wildlife, geology and archaeology. Every Noss boat trip features an entertaining, original and informative live commentary in English. This changes every day so you will not have to listen to a bored person reading from a prepared script for the 500th time.

Do I need binoculars?

Yes, although you'll see plenty without them. We have binoculars on board for you to borrow if you don't have your own with you.

Is it worth bringing a camera?

It certainly is. Even an ordinary camera will give you spectacular results on our Noss trip because we can go so close to the cliffs. But make sure you have a wide-angle lens as well as a telephoto!

Will there be puffins?

Yes, but only if you come with us between the last week in April and the first week of August. The puffins usually go back to sea by 10th August – and stay out there for eight months! But their cousins, the black guillemots ("tysties") are here all year round.

Will there be whales and otters?

Who knows what we may see out there as there have been occassions where we have spotted otters, orcas, dolphins etc. We've had some wonderful sightings of otters and we visit their haunts on every trip but they're shy creatures and well camouflaged on the tideline - so you need a sharp eye and a good set of binoculars. They probably do see us every day, though! Shetland is the best place in Britain to see whales and over the years we've enjoyed some spectacular encounters with orcas, porpoises, dolphins and minke whales, but to suggest that we can guarantee whale sightings would be a false prospectus, so we don't.

Is there anything to eat or drink?

Yes. We serve complimentary juice, tea, coffee or hot chocolate with biscuits during all our trips. If you'd like to bring your own picnic with you, that's no problem.  If you have dietary requirements e.g gluten free - then probably best to bring your own snack, but for our 2021 season we have started to provide individually wrapped gluten-free biscuits.

Is there a toilet?

You will be delighted to hear "YES" - private & easily accessible on deck - a must when out at sea.  Our toilet is fully equipped with toilet paper, disposable bags, hand sanitizer, paper towels & bin.

Is the boat accessible for Wheelchairs?

Yes, but to access the toilet, wheelchair users must be able to get out of their wheelchair as the toilet door is not wide enough to take wheelchairs - I will soon be publishing our Accessibility Guide.

Can I smoke?

Not inside the cabin and not upwind of other passengers on the deck.

Will I be seasick?

It's the unspoken fear in the back of many passengers minds.  At Seabirds-and-Seals we know all about seasickness and we do everything possible to avoid it: always choosing the calmest route and we have remedies we talk about during safety briefing.  During our 2020 season using our new Catamaran, we only had two passengers who were very slightly sick over-board, so no mess to clear up.

Testimonials

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!!

Diane W

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.

Wendy

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!

Nick M

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!

Elly

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.

Hanson & Louise

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