29th May - St Kilda and Western Isles Wildlife

As the remotest part of the British Isles, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St Kilda forms the most important seabird breeding site in northwest Europe.  With cliffs, sea stacs and grassy slopes, the islands are ideally suited to nesting birds like puffin, kittiwake, fulmar, razorbill and guillemot.

Our thanks to guest John Noorani for many of the images used on this weeks log.

Tuesday, 29th May.

As we departed from Oban for our overnight anchorage in Bloody Bay, Mull the P.S Waverley arrived.

Wednesday, 30th May.

Chief Officer Caz Palmer captured this shot of sunrise in Bloody Bay on the early watch this morning and before we departed a white-tailed eagle was spotted feeding her chick.

On a beautiful morning guests enjoyed a stunning beach landing at Kilmory Bay on the Isle of Rum .

The afternoon was spent relaxing on board as we cruised the Small Isles, where mirages were visible between Rum and Canna, and the west coast of Skye to our overnight anchorage in Loch Bay. As we sailed into Loch Dunvegan John Noorani captured this image of Common Porpoise and during the Captain's Welcome the ship was visited by a small group of Bottle Nosed Dolphins.

Thursday, 31st May.

Guests were tendered ashore at Dunvegan this morning where they had the opportunity to explore the castle, gardens and seal colony.

During lunch we cruised the North Minch to Lochmaddy for our afternoon visit to the Balranald Bird Reserve. 

We anchored overnight off East Loch Tarbert.

Our guide Bryan Hogg was sporting a very dapper pair of Tartan trews!

Friday, 1st June.

This morning we landed guests ashore on the Shiant Isles where razorbills, guillemots and puffins were spotted.

During the afternoon we cruised towards our overnight anchorage in Achmelvich Bay and portpoise were seen en route.

Saturday, 2nd June.

Our morning port of call was a beach landing on the internationally important breeding colony of Handa Island.


After an early afternoon sail to Stornoway we visited Lews Castle Museum and remained alongside in Stornoway overnight.

 

Sunday, 3rd June.

This morning from Stornoway the guests went to visit the Black houses, the Broch of Duncarloway and to the RSPB reserve at Loch Muilne which is one of only two places where the Red Necked Phalarope breeds in this country, the other being on Fetlar.

As we left Stornoway we passed the Beasts of Holme where HMY Iolaire was wrecked, and the Ship's Whistle was sounded as a mark of respect as we passed.

After transiting the Sound of Harris, we anchored off Taransay overnight, possibly a first for Hebridean Princess.

Monday, 4th June.

After a spectacular sunrise over Harris, we tendered guests ashore in St Kilda this morning where they explored the abandoned village on the island of Hirta.

After departing Village Bay we cruised around the sea stacs before transiting the Sound of Mingulay on passage towards Barra. 

We anchored overnight in Castle Bay, Barra . 

Tuesday, 5th June.

As we spent this morning cruising the Sea of the Hebrides on passage towards Mull, there was the opportunity for some cetacean watching. Common Dolphin, Minke Whale, Basking Shark and Rizzo's Dolphin were all spotted. 

 

After lunch a local boat came alongside the ship to take our guests ashore in Lunga where a vast number of puffins could be seen and seals were basking on the rocks.

We anchored overnight off Gometra close to the Isle of Ulva and a White Tailed Eagle was seen overlooking our anchorage.

Wednesday, 6th June.

Morning walks and refreshments were enjoyed on Ulva today.

 

 

We anchored off Tobermory after lunch and tendered guests ashore. A coach was available to take guests to visit the Mull eagle hide at Craignure golf club, alternatively there was free time to explore Tobermory independently. The ship departed Tobermory and sailed to Craignure where the guests re-joined the ship.

 

 

Thursday, 7th June.

 

Disembarkation took place in Oban and the Captain, Officers and crew waved a fond farewell to our guests as they commenced their journeys home.