37. Day Four in Shetland: Seabirds and Seals Wildlife Tour, a Walk to the Knab

The second I could make a reservation for a Seabirds and Seals tour, I did so! I was looking forward to this so much, and thankfully the weather cooperated (it is not unusual for these sea tours to get canceled because of wind conditions). I had read nothing but great reviews for this company, and I was really looking forward to up close and personal with the gannet colonies of Noss. And seeing the huge numbers of them on the cliffs from the sea is very dramatic (as I learned from my trip to St. Kilda in 2018).

But first, the most important meal of the day!

Tea today! Eggs and broccoli, toast, strawberries. A poifick brekkie.

I decided to take the bus again, this time into Lerwick to catch the Original Noss Boat. So much easier than driving and trying to park!

I took a picture to remind myself to go to this, then I forgot. But it’s an example of some of the fun stuff that happens in Da Toon in the summertime.
Dressed for the weather, whatever it will be.
We start in Lerwick, sail around the southern point of Bressay and up to the Southern point of Noss.

With any trip, no matter how much time you’ve got, some things just don’t happen. I had hoped to ferry to Bressay and then on to Noss to walk around those islands a bit, but it didn’t happen. Which makes me even happier that I got to take the Noss Boat tour.

The Lodberries and Bains Beach.
If you enlarge this photo, you can see the small white cottage’s garage with an upside-down sixareen boat as the roof.
Tombs with a view!
Bressay Lighthouse, one of several designed by Robert Louis Stevenson’s father and uncle in Shetland and Orkney.
Sea cave and mighty cliffs.
Sea cave entrance.

We took a detour into this sea cave, where we got a good view of a shag drying his wings, with his mate nearby!

Please pardon the aspect shift toward the end. I thought the camera would adjust.
Cute lil Guillemots hanging on a rock ledge.
Natural arch. We had just gone under it.
Those striations. I just never got tired of the formations of the cliffs in Shetland.
We are nearing the gannet colony, but I just keep snapping photos of the cliffs.
Gannet ho!
Bonxie (Great Skua) ho! This guy was flying WAY too close to our boat at times. They are pretty aggro, I thought he might attack us!
First gannets we saw nesting, a little outside the main colony.
A close-up showing the apartment floors, with gannets in the upper, and guillemots one floor down.
These guys were so cute. They look so much like penguins, except they are flying into the water rather than just jumping.

The following picture is hard to make out, but it’s a Great Skua predating a dead gannet. That gannet is probably dead from avian flu – there is a serious outbreak in the Shetland Islands right now, mostly impacting the gannet and skua populations. I saw a LOT of dead birds on beaches, and really everywhere. To see the skua making a meal and then probably getting sick itself, and taking the highly contagious disease back to its nesting grounds — so, so sad.

Fortunately, there are a great number of gannets that are not ill, and are nesting in great numbers. I’ll be curious to see what the final mortality numbers mean for the upcoming years’ breeding populations.

Embiggen to see the huge number of nests!

One of the features of this tour was the “feeding of the gannets.” Marie threw out fish for the gannets to dive for, and I had my video camera on the scene but forgot to push PLAY. One final still of one flying away from the feast.

Part of the pelagic fleet of high-tech fishing vessels in Shetland.
Hello, Northlink Viking Guy!
Mareel on the left, Shetland Museum and Archives on the right. I wouldn’t visit them until my last day in Shetland.
Norwegian-inspired architecture.

We parked the boat over a shipwreck and they sent down a robot camera. I didn’t take any photos, but it was great! Lots of life down under there!

As we were disembarking, I managed to sneak a photo of the two handsome Irish lesbians I had a crush on the entire tour.

I had seen so few kitties my entire trip! Finally, a couple of Lerwick cats enjoying the fine weather.

Since I’d not gotten any walking in, I decided to stroll out to the Knab, a strip of land on the edge of Lerwick proper. It’s a stiff climb to the top, and totally worth it.

And back down toward the bus and a closer look at this sculpture. Engraved with scenes of the fishing industry, and text in the Shetland dialect.

Before heading to the bus, I managed to find a department store where I could buy some PJs. My super light packing didn’t leave me any room for clothes to relax in, so since I didn’t have to haul a pack on my back for a few weeks, I decided to go for it. And ain’t they cute!

2 June, 2022


One response to “37. Day Four in Shetland: Seabirds and Seals Wildlife Tour, a Walk to the Knab”

  1. I love the Jammies!


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