Sailing & Wildlife watching in the Inner Hebrides
- Vessel: Zuza
- Where: Oban, Scotland
- Duration: 7 days
- Embark: North Pier, Oban - 30 August 2024, 14:00
- Disembark: North Pier, Oban - 5 September 2024, 10:00
Let Zuza show you the beauty of the Hebrides from the water, and you will also have plenty of chance to explore on foot – it is also an excellent time of year for wildlife watching!
Join comfy expedition yacht Zuza in the bustling harbour town of Oban for a sailing holiday adventure in Scotland. Set the sails and let the wind decide your route, as you reconnect with the natural landscape and experience sustainable travel at its finest.
From ancient fort ruins, abundant wildlife watching, wild sea swimming and atmospheric landscapes, you’ll quickly see why our guests return year on year. This voyage is perfect for those wanting to explore further into the Hebrides to reach islands that can only be accessed by boat.
- Skippered sailing
- Private cabins
- All-inclusive meals
- Wildlife watching
- Great for beginners
- Remote island discovery
- Perfect for couples and solo travellers
Your Sailing Area
The Inner Hebrides, Scotland
Start your sailing holiday on the West coast of Scotland in the port town of Oban, just a short train ride from Glasgow. Oban is one of our main sailing ports in Scotland providing our boats with a great access point to sail the inner and outer waters of the Hebrides.
One of our most popular sailing holiday destinations, the coasts and islands that make up the West Coast of Scotland offer so much variation for our boats and guests, you will quickly see why our guests return year on year. Panoramic landscapes are at every turn, with ancient woodlands lining mountains that plunge straight into the sea. You can travel for miles without seeing a single soul (except the wildlife of course) and you’ll be left memorised by the spell binding beauty that this myth shrouded part of the world has to offer.
There are miles of coast to discover, secret coves for picturesque anchorages and uninhabited islands for walking trails ashore. The itinerary is, of course, dependent on the wind and tides but our crew know all the hotspots off the beaten track and best places to anchor.
Depending on the wind, sail north to explore Mull and her surrounding isles, the Small Isles and the south coast of Skye OR sail south to discover the islands of Jura, Islay and Colonsay.
HEAD NORTH west
Mull and the Treshnish Isles
The second largest island in the inner Hebrides, the Isle of Mull is renowned for its abundant wildlife. From dolphins to whales, to sea eagles and puffins on Lunga there is plenty to watch both from the water and on the land. Mull is home to the iconic harbour side village of Tobermory where colourful houses line the waterfront.
The Treshnish Isles are a small cluster of islands and skerries nestled off the West coast of Mull. An important area for marine animals and breeding seabirds, the islands are part of a Special Area of Conservation. The island of Lunga is home to a large puffin colony, where you can sit ashore within metres of the friendly faced creatures. The island of Staffa is home of the famous geological wonder of Fingal’s cave where guests can take the tender to get off, explore the impressive basalt columns and practice their best singing voices!
The Small Isles
Rum is a National Nature Reserve and is the largest island of the Small Isles archipelago, 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.
Eigg offers 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.
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.
With its rugged landscapes, fairy tale castles, and picturesque fishing villages, the Isle of Skye is a popular destination for the adventure traveller. Admire the majestic Cuillins mountain range and the impressive Storr outcrop. Anchoring against the breathtaking backdrop of Loch Scavaig, nestled at the foot of the Cuillins, is a truly awe-inspiring experience. As a traveler’s paradise, Skye offers endless opportunities to explore its shores and discover hidden anchorages, making it a perfect destination to be explored from the water.
Jura, Colonsay & Islay
Jura was once the hideout for George Orwell as he wrote 1984 and it’s easy to see how he was inspired by the paradise of untouched nature and natural beauty that the island has to offer. The name Jura comes from the Norway and it means “Deer Island” and this still applies today with an estimated 5,500 deer and only around 180 human inhabitants.!
Sitting between Jura and Colonsay lies the infamous whirlpool of Scarba (the third largest in the world!) lying in the Gulf of Corryvreckan. Don’t worry though, Zuza will steer well clear and instead you can watch this natural wonder on foot from the cliff on the coast of Jura.
The island of Colonsay has a varied landscape with some beautiful sandy beaches. The highest elevation is Carnan Eoin, 143 meters above sea level and Kiloran Bay is the most famous of many sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. From otters to seals to wild goats and a plethora of wild plants; Colonsay is rich in wild and unspoilt nature. A variety of destroyed ruins and fortresses lie scattered across the island perfect for some exploring.
Islay is probably best known for its many independent whisky breweries and if guests would like, it may be possible to explore these ashore. With many secluded anchorages, Islay provides ultimate tranquility.
Experience incredible wildlife watching in the Hebrides.
Along the rugged coastline, witness the majestic flight of white-tailed eagles, while flocks of Black Guillemots adorn the skies. You’ll also have the opportunity to spot an array of birds of prey, including Buzzards, Kestrels, Sparrow-hawks, and the elusive Merlin – so keep your binoculars at the ready!
Delight in the graceful movements of Fulmars and Hooded Crows as they navigate the air, while Gannets create a mesmerising spectacle as they plunge into the open sea. During our sailing holidays, you’ll frequently encounter the playful Common, Bottlenose, and White beak dolphins, and if luck is on your side, you might catch a glimpse of the rare Risso and White-sided dolphins.
Although basking sharks have been less prevalent in recent years, their return to Scotland brings renewed excitement to our voyages. The waters of the Hebrides are home to a variety of marine species including whales. The most common sightings include the graceful Minke whales, with occasional appearances by the majestic Humpbacks. However, the true stars of the show are the resident pod of Orca, their presence in the water an awe-inspiring sight to behold.
All voyages for Zuza
Guest berths: 8 Rig: Bermudan Cutter
Built in 1998, Zuza has had an interesting life on the water. 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 perfect 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 an experienced crew 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!
Zuza accommodates eight guests with versatile 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. Alternatively, an executive double cabin with ensuite and dressing room can be made by combining the twin cabins.
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.
Deck planMore about Zuza
Life on board
Exploring Scotland and the Hebrides with expedition vessel Zuza is perfect for couples and solo travellers looking to discover this hard to reach destination from the water. With so many islands to explore, travelling by boat certainly takes guests to places far away from the tourist hotspots.
Sailing with Zuza 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! She has a sloop rig with modern winches so is a great boat to learn the ropes on.
Sleeping, eating and relaxation
Along with the skipper and first mate, there is also an onboard chef ready to cook you locally sourced and freshly prepared meals. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are all included in your ticket price and the crew will definitely indulge you after a day of sailing in the fresh sea air!
Zuza was originally built as an expedition vessel so her space below decks is well considered. She has two twin cabins and two double ensuite cabins. A generous saloon sits next to a compact galley while the navigation station and helm sit at deck level in a covered wheelhouse with 360degree windows – perfect for wildlife watching in comfort!
Wherever you sail 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 all inclusive food, private cabins and comfy social spaces, this is a sailing holiday adventure in the Hebrides not to be missed!
What’s the weather like in Scotland?!
We get asked this question quite a lot and it is not a simple answer! The geography of the islands and coastline mean that weather can be very localised, changeable and in true Scotland fashion – a little moody at times. 2023 saw a lot of sun and not much wind at the start of the season, and 2022 saw a lot of rain and great sailing winds – there is no rhyme or reason but that’s what makes exploring Scotland exciting for the adventure traveller!
The beauty of localised weather and being on a boat surrounded by islands is that the skipper can plan and chase the better weather windows, finding sheltered anchorages – this is why we don’t commit to a sailing itinerary.
Once you’ve booked, we send a recommended kit list on what to pack to suit all options although we always recommend checking the weather forecast in the week leading up to your holiday.
To give you an idea of the average temperatures…
June, July & August > HIGHS of 18°C and LOWS of 9°C
- All inclusive (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, soft/hot drinks)
- All bedding (pillow, sheets & duvet) and wash towel
- Full crew plus tuition
- Marina and fuel fees
- All tender trips to and fro the boat
- Offshore sailing jackets for use in emergencies. These are not permitted to be taken off the boat
What’s not included
- Any flights
- Transit hotels
- Travel to and from the boat on the day of joining/leaving
- Travel insurance
- Sailing Insurance (Please read our Sailing Insurance page for more information)
- Crew tips
- Personal expenses
Travel insurance notes
As this is an active adventure holiday, we advise that everyone has the appropriate personal accident travel insurance whilst onboard in addition to standard travel insurance which would cover you in the time between making your booking and departing for your adventure. These policies can sometimes be combined so please check with your travel insurance provider.
This voyage will not be more than 12miles offshore.
Is there an age limit?
8+ years but 8-18yrs please check with the office as it can vary from voyage to voyage.
Can you cater for dietary needs?
Meat eaters and vegetarians only. It's a small galley!
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.
Do I need to tip the crew?
Tips are not mandatory but are welcomed by the crew!
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.
Are bedding and towels provided?
Yes - but please bring an extra swimming towel if you wish to go in the water.
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. The two twin bunk cabins can be turned into an extra large double ensuite cabin too.
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, Zuza does have some aboard, but please bring your own if you can.
From: North Pier, Oban
To: North Pier, Oban
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
There is ample parking in Oban if you arrive by car. Secure parking can be found at MacQueen Bros, or you could try the Tesco carpark and pay for 24 hour parking on arrival using the Your Parking Space app.
Oban station is a 5-10 minute walk from North Pier. Trains run 6 times a day to Glasgow Queen Street Station where there are good travel links to the rest of the UK.
Glasgow and Edinburgh Airport both require taking a train from Oban which takes approximately 2-3hours. Flights go direct to Stansted Airport.
STAY IN OBAN:
There are plenty of places to stay in Oban. Try Witchwood House, The Scot or Perle Hotels Oban.