Islay Sea Adventures Review
Even if you’re just visiting Islay for its abundance of whisky distilleries producing its famous peaty whiskies, you can’t help but notice the vast amount of nature there is around. It’s everywhere on the island. Deer roaming around, sheep wandering on the road, dolphins and seals swimming in the bay, even peacocks meandering about the verges, not to mention the plethora of bird species from oyster-catchers, choughs to the many birds of prey. We saw most of these on one afternoon on the road from Claggan Bay to Ardbeg.
The dolphins were so close to the shore at Claggan Bay we were mesmerised and wanted to experience more. That’s where Gus Newman and Islay Sea Adventures come in. They offer tours round the island and to the Corryvreckan whirlpool, and even trips across to Northern Ireland.
The Wildlife Trip
We booked the “Wildlife Trip” on the rib “Sea Explorer” piloted by Gus Newman. We donned the wet weather gear supplied, climbed aboard and set off along the coast. A great way to view the Kildalton distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. We passed the Island of Texa with its wild red deer and saw Peregrine falcons soaring above. The weather was classic Islay with light rain suddenly clearing to blue skies and sun.
Passing Lagavulin with the formidable ruins of Dunyvaig Castle, Gus supplies an informative tour with stories about local landmarks and history of Islay, as well as some hilarious banter with Harold.
In search for dolphins which we spotted earlier at Claggan Bay, at first there was no sign of them, then after some radio chat between Gus and Harold, we spotted one, then another, then a pair together, then they seemed to appear all around us. Pods of about six or seven coming towards us, then alongside so close we could almost stroke them. Absolutely thrilling to see such magnificent creatures so close.
We pulled into a cove where we met up with the sister boat “Wavedancer” piloted by Harold. A sea eagle had previously been seen around this area but we were out of luck that day. However, in true local style, Gus broke open a bottle of 10-year-old Laphroaig and we all had a healthy dram which warmed the bellies nicely. A heart stopping moment as Gus threw the bottle over to Harold’s boat to share. Well caught, I think they’ve done this before possibly.
On the last leg of the return journey Gus treated us to some exhilarating high-speed ‘Bond’ style tight turns with the rib bouncing over the waves, much to the delight of all on board.
The trip lasted about three hours which just flew by with so much to see and experience. I can highly recommend this adventure and we will definitely be booking another trip on our next visit to Islay.
Book a Trip
Islay Sea Adventures offer a range of tours including the Wild Life Trip, Fishing Trip and a Diving Trip. You can also privately charter a trip for a hen or stag party, diving, distillery destinations or a visit to the Corryvreckan whirlpool.