Marine Life

Skye has an incredibly rich and diverse marine ecosystem. In the summer months, sightings of Minke Whale and Common Dolphin are regular all around the coast of Skye. Less common though annual are sightings of Orca and both Humpback and Sperm Whales. Harbour Porpoise can be seen year round, as can Bottle-nosed and Risso’s Dolphins. Enormous Basking Sharks are a wonderful sight from land or from a boat. Numbers vary from year to year but typically the best time to see them is July to September.

Seals are abundant around the coast of Skye, with good numbers of both Common and Grey Seals. They are inquisitive and often swim along and pop up just offshore. Common Seals in particular like to bask on offshore rocks and are found in most bays, providing there isn’t regular disturbance.

Otters are relatively common on Skye, and with the right knowledge and fieldcraft most people who come for a week will see these enigmatic creatures.  The author Gavin Maxwell spent many years on Skye on Eilean Ban and nearby at Sandaig (Camusfearna). His classic novel Ring of Bright Water, and indeed most of his novels feature Otters and are well worth a read. Otters are very sensitive to disturbance though so please be very careful when out looking that you do not get upwind of them or make too much noise. Phil and Laura have spent many hundreds of hours enjoying Otters and can advise on some suitable locations from where to watch Otters without disturbing them.

Boat trips are the best way to connect with the marine wildlife here, and practically every harbour offers a range of inshore or offshore cruises, at a range of speeds too! With such a range of choice it can be difficult to know which to pick, but we would say always make sure that the boat operator operates in a wildlife friendly manner. If you have particular species in mind then Phil can point you to the best operator.