What You Can See

A month by month checklist copyright of Seabirds-and-Seals, showing how often we see the main species.  This customized checklist can also be found on-board The Noss Boat ‘Seabird’ with colorful pictures on the reverse side of all the different species listed below, along with the Shetland Name and up to 4 different languages.  This is made up on A4 laminated sheets and a copy available for everyone, as well as cetecean identificatin charts for all.  Each of the guides are also available in Braille format.    

For the A4 customized cards that we hand out at the start of each tour, we could only list 4 Nationalities due to space, therefore we went for the 4 most popular that we see joining our tours.  We do have though in our onboard library, A5 double sided guides in a further 9 languages.  

If the language you speak is not on the A4 charts that we hand out at the start of the tour, please check with crew and we will see if your spoken ‘language’ is available.   We created the customized guides above in 2019, but due to seeing an increase in the numbers of visitors from other Nationalities, we have further enhanced this aspect of our tour over the past year.  

If our relief Skipper Marvyn is at the helm, he can speak ‘Spanish’ fluently and happy to communicate to share his great knowledge in this language.  

What You See

Note: To be sure of seeing puffins, guillemots and razorbills, come to Shetland before the end of the first week in August. After that they disperse to the open sea, not returning inshore in any numbers until April.

There are gannets, eiders, shags, black guillemots, fulmars, seals and various gulls, waders and sea ducks around all winter.

But words can’t do justice to the unforgettable sights, and sounds (and smells!) of this extraordinary bird city. Noss is one of the most accessible seabird colonies in the World – particularly in a boat like Seabird.

Once you’ve been there, you’ll always want to return. We look forward to welcoming you on board.

Underwater Viewing

Not daily…only as our alternative tour if sea conditions prevent us getting out to Noss further information below.  

We are sometimes available for trips to look at the wildlife so prevalent in or near Lerwick Harbour.  If sheltered conditions allows, we can then launch our ROV mini submarine and show you a variety of sealife below whilst enjoying a refreshment.  

We use our remotely controlled tethered mini-submarine, ‘LOMVI’ (Lowered Overboard Marine Viewing Instrument). A camera on the submarine feeds live colour video images onto two display screens in the cabin.

This underwater world used to be Shetland’s best-kept secret, known only to a few hardy scuba divers, but now you don’t have to get cold and wet to see it.

The techniques we’ve pioneered and perfected since 2001 enable us to give you a unique and unforgettable show of the teeming sealife below the surface of The Shetland Sea.

Lights on the underwater camera reveal the astonishing colours and variety of this marine wonderland. It’s not dark and grey down there after all – it’s a Technicolor riot of biodiversity.

Early and late in the season the underwater visibility can be astounding here, in one of the most productive seas on Earth.

In summer there’s usually a thick fog of plant plankton with “snowflakes” of animal plankton grazing on it. In a glass-bottomed boat you’d see only a few metres into this “life soup” but with the remotely controlled camera we can steer in close up and see everything in astonishing detail.

Shetland’s secret forest and coral reefs

Diving between 10 and 25 metres down, we discover rocky reefs, boulder-strewn gullies and Shetland’s secret forest – the vast beds of waving kelp fronds that are home to hundreds of species.

We swim the camera inside shipwrecks, caves and along submerged cliff faces for extraordinary views of the teeming sealife – including zooplankton, sea urchins, crabs, comb jellies, soft corals, sea anemones, sea mats, and colonies of other strange and ancient animals that look like plants but can survive and thrive in total darkness

Large fish such as pollack and wrasse cruise by. Sometimes guillemots put on an underwater flying display for us. And we often meet the ever-inquisitive seals – which will occasionally swim up and nuzzle the mini-submarine.