Explore the beauty of the Small Isles on the west coast of Scotland under the sail, with plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities!
Jump aboard Zuza for a week of smooth sailing, wonderful wildlife watching and great food. Sail from the harbour of Oban, Scotland, through the Sound of Mull (listen out for the cuckoo) and onto the Small Isles of Rum, Canna, Eigg and Muck.
The itinerary is, of course, dependent on the wind and tides but our crew know all the hotspots off the beaten track and the best places to anchor. We will show you the beauty of the islands from the water but you will also have the chance to explore on foot. Relax in sheltered anchorages and watch picturesque sunsets, and if we are blessed with dark skies, the stargazing from the deck is breathtaking – you may even spot the northern lights.
This cruise requires no previous sailing experience so you can sit back and enjoy the views, however, if you wish, the crew are more than happy to show you the ropes and even give you the helm!
Skipper Helen has been sailing these waters for years and you’ll definitely feel her love, appreciation and knowledge for these waters and its wildlife. She knows all the secret spots and loves sharing these with her guests. Sometimes she will even spontaneously jump in to swim with the seals! Along with her first mate, there is also an onboard chef ready to cook you locally sourced and freshly prepared meals.
Sightings of seabirds such as Black Guillemots can be seen in their hundreds and white-tailed eagles soar along the rugged coastline. Sailing on Zuza is often rewarded with widespread sightings of birds of prey like Buzzards, Kestrels, Sparrowhawks and Peregrines and, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the diminutive Merlin.
The island of Rum has a massive Manx Shearwater colony that allows incredible views as they raft offshore around the Small Isles or shear the waves in feeding parties. The sound is magnificently overwhelming, with the call of seabird colonies, Puffins, Guillemots & Razorbills, echoing off the cliffs.
There are frequent encounters with Common, Bottlenose & Whitebeak dolphins on board these trips, and Risso & White-sided dolphins are also occasionally sighted. There are plenty of whales in this part of the world too. Our most common encounters are with Minke – Humpbacks are a less frequent visitor, while the real star of the show is the resident pod of Orca if you’re lucky enough to see them gliding through the water. So keep your eyes peeled and have your binoculars at the ready!
The Small Isles
Rum is a National Nature Reserve and is the largest island, home to the architecturally remarkable Kinloch Castle, and of course some wonderful wildlife. The island’s most famous residents are sea eagles (re-introduced in the 1980s), red deer and the hardy Rum ponies. There is plenty of exploring to be had on the Isle of Rum, taking in the stunning mountain and coastal scenery.
Eigg is the most populated but still only has under 100 residents and is the most welcoming of the Small Isles. Offering Britain’s largest pitchstone ridge, eagles soaring over stunning white beaches and the worlds first fully renewably powered electricity grid, we’re sure you’ll love Eigg as much as its locals.
Muck is the smallest and most southerly island. Its low-lying mostly treeless landscape offers dramatic perspectives and panoramic views of sandy beaches and rocky shorelines. Watch out for Golden Eagles!
Canna, looked after by the National Trust since 1981, is one of the prettier islands. With its high basalt cliffs and dramatic volcanic landscapes, the views here are breathtaking. You might even be lucky enough to see Minke Whales from the high cliffs, soaring Sea Eagles and nesting Puffins.
Wherever you explore with Zuza, be sure that the views will be breathtaking and the wildlife in abundance, so have your eyes peeled and your binoculars at the ready for a wonderful trip. With food included, private cabins and comfy social spaces, this is an adventure not to be missed!
As with all Zuza’s sailing holidays, your ticket price includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks and Soft Drinks. There are two twin cabins with a shared bathroom and two double cabins with ensuites. All cabins are available for single occupancy. All cabins have bedding and towels provided.
Simply click “Enquire Now” to reserve your berth for five days whilst you sort your travel plans. No booking form or deposit is required until you are ready to book!
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Guest berths: 8 Rig: Bermudan Cutter
Built in 1998, Zuza already has plenty of history. After being launched in South Africa, the British Royal Geographical Society chose Zuza to be an offshore base for an international marine research project off the east coast of Africa, where her features and reliability helped to facilitate groundbreaking marine research.
This expedition yacht has a double hull and Bermudan Cutter rig, which makes her very smooth and steady on the water, and is easy for those that want to learn more about sailing or to just sit back and enjoy the ride in the comfort of the warm and dry wheelhouse.
Zuza has a super experienced crew, lead by skipper Helen Walker, and spends her season sailing around the inner and outer Hebrides in Scotland. With trips to St Kilda, Mull, Jura, Barra, The Small Isles and Skye, Zuza can sail to locations that are not accessible by the larger cruise boats in this area which make her perfect for sailing holidays in Scotland. Her quiet approach also stands her in good stead as to not scare off wildlife, which means she can get as close as is fair to the plethora of marine and wildlife that calls Scotland home.
She has a modern cutter rig and operates her sails with an easy and safe winch system. So if exploring hard to reach Scottish Islands and wildlife watching in comfort is the sort of experience you are seeking, then Zuza is the boat for you!
This vessel accommodates eight guests with plenty of living room both on and below deck. Unusually for a vessel of this size, she has two lovely private double ensuite cabins, which are often popular with guests travelling as couples. There are also another two, private twin-berth cabins with bunk-bed style accommodation that share a bathroom. Zuza’s versatile accommodation makes her a great fit for all party sizes whether you are smaller group, couple, solo traveller or are looking for a private charter. She has a comfortable saloon that is perfect for getting to know each other; trading sea-faring stories and enjoying some of the delicious food prepared by the chef. The saloon is adjacent to the well-equipped galley that serves as the chef’s workstation, and there are lots of windows throughout to make the most of long summer evenings and wildlife watching with a glass of chilled wine. Read more about Helen, the skipper and life on board Zuza as she cruises Scotland.
Take a look at this unique yacht and enjoy some big boat sailing!
Deck planMore about Zuza
Is there an age limit?
There are no age limits but preferably no under 8's on scheduled voyages.
Can you cater for dietary needs?
Yes we can - please let us know in advance of your trip
Can I charge my phone and camera?
Yes we have charging outlets onboard - although mobile signal can be intermittent
What should a pack?
A mix of warm and light clothes with a good pair of walking boots for exploring. See our kit list in your joining pack information.
What language is spoken on board?
Will I get bitten by midges?
The summer in Scotland brings midges which mostly are not a problem for guests as we anchor offshore far enough away for them not to bother us. We recommend you bring SMIDGE repellant just in case.
Do you have hairdryers on board?
No we do not - but if you'd like to bring one please make sure it's travel hairdryer.
Will I be sea sick?
Everyone reacts differently on a boat. Zuza has a double hull so is very steady and smooth to sail - which helps with the motion of the boat. We recommend if you are at all worried to take some medication 24 hours before departure.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
Zuza has 2 double ensuite bed cabins and 2 twin bunk cabins.
How many toilets/showers does she have?
An ensuite with each double cabin and a shared bathroom for the twin cabins.
Are all meals included?
Yes, all meals are included in the price unless you go ashore.(Breakfast, lunch, dinner, soft/hot drinks) Alcohol is not included.
Are life jackets provided?
Are there waterproofs available?
Yes, Helen does have some aboard, but please bring your own if you can.
For long stay secure parking, you can pre brook with Stoddarts of Oban. Ring Sally on 01631 564176 or try MacQueen Bros 01631 564848 for about £40/week. The other option is to take your chance in an unmetered residential area – but Oban is a busy little town so this is not guaranteed!
Oban station is right in the town centre and is about a 10-minute walk to Oban North Pier where Zuza will be located. Trains run 6 times a day from Glasgow Queen Street station (only twice on Sundays) and run along the famous West Highland line. For times and prices visit the First Scotrail site. Glasgow main train stations can be reached from all UK mainline trains.
Although Glasgow Airport is marginally closer, Edinburgh Airport isn’t much further. Both take between 3 & 4 hours by train to Oban, and flights go direct from Stanstead. There are good links from the airport to the train and bus terminals for onward travel to Oban.