Lucky guests took to the seas to explore the Hebrides with CalMac Ferries and ORCA.
Leaving Oban early on Wednesday morning, guests boarded MV The Clansman for the first ever Hebrides Minicruise, exploring Coll, Tiree and Barra in the hope of seeing some of the amazing wildlife that calls the Hebrides home.
After making their way on board and leaving the port, ORCA Wildlife Officer Andy Gilbert gave a brief talk introducing the area and talking about some of the species of marine mammal and birds that the group were hoping to spot during the voyage.
Then, as the ship left the Sound of Mull all eyes were on the sea, looking out for telltale signs of life in the hope of spotting some wildlife - and the group were not disappointed!
43 common dolphins were recorded, as well as a couple of tantilising glimpses of unidentified breaching animals on the horizon. Grey and harbour seals were also on show alongside an array of birds - a juvenile golden eagle, white-tailed sea eagle, puffins, Manx shearwaters and Arctic skua were all enjoyed by the group on board!
It wasn't just out on deck that the animals were on show - those relaxing in the forward observation lounge also saw a minke whale and a number of harbour porpoises whilst they were taking a break from time on deck!
By the time the ship returned to Oban on Wednesday evening the lucky passengers had enjoyed a glimpse of the wildlife that the Hebrides has to offer, and they disembarked tired but happy after exploring this magnificent part of the world. Those that had travelled up to Scotland for the trip (some from as far afield as Bristol!) were certainly satisfied that the trip had been worthwhile!
A huge thank you to everyone who made this first Hebrides Minicruise a massive success, and we will hope to have the chance to take many more people out on this route to enjoy this Scottish jewel. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and keep an eye out on the news page of our website to hear more about our work on the west coast of Scotland, including future minicruises!