Travel Report: Argyll Sea Tours – Oban, Scotland.
July 2019. My sister and I were strolling down Corran Esplanade when we saw the sign for Argyll Sea Tours in Oban. They had all kinds of boat cruises on offer and the weather was so ridiculously good we knew that it would be criminal not to get out onto Oban Bay. Similarly, it didn’t take us long to decide on which tour we wanted. The ones with baby seals thank you very much!
We were pretty lucky that morning. Natty and I had only turned up speculatively, but still managed to grab a place on the small boat, MV Creagallan. Our skipper that day was Mr. Jack MacGregor and he got us chugging away off into Oban Bay at 10:00 sharp, no lollygagging. Within just a minute we’d left the town far behind, the imposing form of McCaig’s Tower watching over Oban like a protective mother.
I’m certainly glad I brought my jacket, regardless of the fine weather. Motoring further out into the bay, we found ourselves hit by a crisp wind and plenty of crashing waves. That’ll teach us I guess for picking out spots right at the back of the boat on the wooden benches. Heading south, we passed the island of Kerrera on the left as we moved into the waters of Oitir Mor Bay.
Argyll Sea Tours is a family run business and I’m happy to say that our tour that day was intimate as well as informative. They could have so easily gone down the route of packing customers in like tinned sardines. In contrast, there’s a limit of around 12 passengers per boat, which allows for plenty of space. Want to bring your canine friend? No worries, as their tours are unashamedly dog-friendly. Furthermore, the wooden and metal benches come with cushions and blankets, while every passenger gets their own pair of binoculars.
Skipper Jack also provided a running commentary as we went. Not endless facts and figures, just interesting information about the little islands we passed. Most of these, such as Eilean na Uan and Shepherds Hat, are uninhabited and protected.
The range of wildlife on offer is really impressive. Should your luck be in, you’ll get to see sea eagles soaring above and families of huddled guillemots bobbing on the water.
The tour also took us past the floating enclosures of a large salmon farm.
Finally, after much anticipation, we arrived at the small seal colony at the island of Sgeir Dhonn. Stopping the boat at a respectful distance, this is where the binoculars come in handy! Especially as I wasn’t able to grab a decent shot of the beasts with my camera, even with the zoom employed to full capacity.
It was very cool watching the seals doing their thing in the wild. Mothers groomed babies, a lone seal lay sunning itself on a large rock and a number of adults took a dip in the water. Magical stuff!
For more information on Argyll Sea Tours in Oban, head to the official website.
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