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“Unbelievably good 3 day trip!”

Basking Shark Scotland
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Attraction details
Owner description: We are the only dedicated basking shark tours based from Oban, Scotland. We offer single and multi day shark and wildlife excursions to the Inner Hebrides, where our mission is to provide great interactions with basking sharks and the abundant wildlife of the area. In addition we run, Whisky tours, Scuba and Snorkel Safaris, WIld Swimming, Trips to Corrvreckan, Fingals Cave and Iona.
Reviewed 27 July 2014

Joined a 3 day trip in Oban with one night based in Tobermory and another in Coll. I didn't know what to expect but based on pictures on the website I hoped to get close to a basking shark.

Meeting at Oban to load up the boat there was the promise of some good weather for the first 2 days which is always a bonus when you are taking part in an outdoor trip in Scotland. Our first stop was in Tobermory which was buzzing since it was the day of the Highland games where we dropped off our overnight bags and picked up some food and drink for the day.

The forecast was the weather to get even better throughout the day so the crew planned for us to have a long day out on the sea to take advantage of this. We travelled to the cairns of Coll for our first in water experience snorkelling around the little islands, meeting seals in the deeper pools and having short walk over the white beaches. The water was clear, blue and warm. A perfect intro to the sea.

From here the boat travelled out to begin looking for bigger marine life. We soon saw porpoises and there were huge flocks of seabirds all around. The sea was flat and glistening in the sun. We needed our sun cream not our waterproofs - a real treat - when the weather is good Scotland looks fantastic.

Our big animal treat was a show put on by one of the minke whales we saw which made repeated trips alongside and under our boat giving us close up views of all sides as it did this. So much closer than I expected and a real treat.

We also got basking shark action later in the day and had our first chance to get close to one of them. The team are very very good and their focus is on your safety and the well being of the marine life at all times. With the snorkel gear on it was possible to get close to the shark, but this does involve a bit of swimming these are animals in their domain and they decide if we see them close up or not! The shark swam towards us and then went straight under me as it dived deeper and disappeared from view. I was smiling as we swam back to the boat. We spent more time out on the water watching the activity as the sea birds flew around - the gannets were diving to feed, there were masses of birds - a treat for birdwatchers. As it the sun dropped we headed back to Tobermory and could see the fins of basking sharks which was a good sign for the next day.

After a short night in Tobermory, staying at the youth hostel, we made our way to Coll where we dropped off the night bags in the bunkhouse before making our way out for another day on the water. Unbelievably the weather was better than the day before and the sea was even flatter.

What a great day we had. An ocean sunfish was spotted by the guides and amazingly it stayed around us for a very long time. We were able to go in the water in small groups to see it and it swam right among us - a real wow moment and not something I would have expected. We saw more minkes but they were not as playful today. Later in the day we were treated to seeing basking sharks feeding which we could see clearly from the boat. They were harder to get close to since they were circling and focused on feeding so we had a few swims where they were close, then moved away. This lets you see how effective their swimming is - they feel like they are within reach and then the next time you look they are far far away.

Another great day with more seabird activity including huge flocks of shearwaters flying alongside the boat and seeing the effect that a great skua arriving had as all of the birds took off and left the water.

After 2 days of sun the water was really warm on the surface - what a delight to float in the Atlantic in a swimsuit and not feel cold!

Day 3 saw the clouds return and some rain appear but we still had a great day. We made our way from Coll to Fingal's cave where some of the group got the wetsuits and snorkelling gear on to swim into the cave while others used the inflatable canoes to see inside. What an awesome structure - from the water looking up to the ceiling is a breathteaking view. We followed this by a trip to see puffins who will soon be heading off as the chicks are now ready for flight. Swimming into the island and then walking up to see them in a wetsuit is not something I expected to do and I know that the other tourists were a bit surprised to see figures in wetsuits join them. The top of the cliff was a mass of puffins who were not at all scared of us. Another amazing image to take away from this once in a lifetime trip.

The rain began to fall more heavily so we made our way downhill and swam back to the boat where we reflected on a truly fantastic 3 days on the journey back to Oban via Tobermory.

Nobody can guarantee the Scottish weather, but the knowledgeable guides will do everything they can to make sure you enjoy your trip, while they share their passion for marine life with you.

2  Thank LothiansJack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShaneWasik, Owner at Basking Shark Scotland, responded to this reviewResponded 21 December 2016

This was the all time epic - wonderful memories from this trip! Those sea condition were unbelievable! All the best!

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Reviews (145)
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107 - 111 of 145 reviews

Reviewed 14 July 2014

We went for a Seals Swimming tour with three children aged 10,11 and 14, two of whom do not speak English and we all had no such experience (swimming in the cold sea and snorkelling, all was alient for us)
But, the tour was guided by such a lovely team, that all our worries disappeared immediately. Esther, Luke and Cameron were very passionate and caring and always on a watch for a wildlife (on land and sea) to show us and tell some interesting info. Tour is lovely organise and worse every penny! We felt that we were looked after by professionals and felt safe!
But main "plus" point: how brilliant they were with our children! Children had the best coaching we could ask for and even hot chocolate!

Thank Olya S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShaneWasik, Owner at Basking Shark Scotland, responded to this reviewResponded 21 December 2016

Thanks for the review and glad you enjoyed your day with us!

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Reviewed 8 July 2014

I visited Basking Shark Scotland as the European Rolex Scholar and it was an excellent experience! Even though we didn't find basking sharks as it was the beginning of the season, the experienced crew (Shane, Eszter and Luke) took us to stunning places! We interacted with beautiful seals in very clear waters and we snorkelled around Coll Island. If you haven't been here yet you should go!! At this time of the year (june) it is surprisingly warm and full of wildlife

Thank Elena S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShaneWasik, Owner at Basking Shark Scotland, responded to this reviewResponded 21 December 2016

Thanks Elena, good luck for the future, you have great ideas for shark conservation and we wish you all the best with your endeavours!

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Reviewed 25 June 2014

Spent the day looking for Basking sharks of Mull and Coll, The team were excellent and knew all the area its wildlife and did everything to make the day enjoyable - the team supported every member of the group and answered all the question that they could - fulyl recommend Shane, Ester and the team.

Thank brianjm_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShaneWasik, Owner at Basking Shark Scotland, responded to this reviewResponded 21 December 2016

Thanks for the review and glad you enjoyed the trip with us!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2014 via mobile

I'd booked with shane for a seal swim trip for myself, partner and our three girls, 13,15,16. We had exchanged a lot of emails and he was very quick to respond and informative of everything I needed to know, regardless of how many questions I had.
two days prior, he emailed to say there had been shark sightings and that's what they were hoping to try to see, how did we feel about this? we were more than happy to do so, as long as the girls got a little swim with the seals.
friday came, and ill be honest, I didn't expect a shark sighting.how wrong was I?
we saw five! and once our eldest had been shown very calmly how to snorkel, and put her at ease in deep water, we got to swim towards them, following shane and listening to his instructions.
we were rewarded with fantastic close views next to and underneath us for what felt like ages.
the search for seals was forgotten as the girls hyped over how it was the most awesome thing they had ever seen and we set off in search of more sharks. They proved a little elusive for the rest of the day, but it didn't matter, it had been way beyond our expectations and we will definately be coming back for a longer trip with them.
I can't recommend these guys enough, their knowledge and passion for what they do, and patience with us was exceptional, and the collecting of plankton was very interesting, a great understanding into what lurks beneath that you wouldn't normally see. Many many thanks.

Thank dollyhb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ShaneWasik, Owner at Basking Shark Scotland, responded to this reviewResponded 21 December 2016

Thanks for the review guys, just getting round to all the responses now. I remember the day and glad we got all the girls in. Hope they still remember it! Shane

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