Last week I went on my second voyage aboard the Dolphin Spirit boat trip along the Beauly and Inverness firths. A firth is an inlet leading to the open sea. We covered seven nautical miles on our trip, which lasted 75 minutes. We arrived at Inverness Marina, where there are a large number of boats moored.
This time I was with the parents who had been visiting us. It was a beautiful calm day, without too much wind - perfect wildlife spotting conditions! After a brief but comprehensive safety briefing onboard, the Dolphin Spirit set off!
We were originally booked onto the 10 am sailing (there are 4 a day) but there was a load of sea-mist, so I gave the office a quick call to bump us to the midday sailing. It was worth it, as, by noon, the skies were clearing! As we left the marina, the water was still. The previous time I had been out with friends, the water was very choppy and we didn't see any wildlife apart from the old seagull - so this gave me a bit of hope that we might be fortunate to spot a seal or dolphin!
The boat takes up to 70 passengers per sailing, and there's a main lower deck with an inside viewing area, plus a top-level deck for up to 18 people at any one time. Passengers are free to move around the boat at any time in order to get that ever elusive glimpse of a dolphin!
The guides give an extensive history of the local wildlife, as well as pointing out other details about the landscape and different folk tales about the areas we passed.
Then - up surfaced Kesslet - a local to the Beauly firth, along with her calf who is only a couple of weeks old! I got one photo of them which I was delighted with!
After the boat had stopped for a few minutes to watch (without intruding into the personal space of the dolphins), we continued on our route, now well and truly bitten by the dolphin spotting bug!
The sea mist hadn't quite passed fully - the photo below shows the area of Inverness that we live in. We live quite far up the hill so sometimes when the sea mist comes in, we can't see down into the city centre until lunchtime.
However, looking east - it was clear and we passed under the Kessock Bridge, which connects Inverness to the Black Isle (to confuse you, not an island but a peninsula). Before the bridge was built, it was a long 22-mile drive around the coastline.
Then we headed into more sea-mist as we continued our boat trip- which made our views very hazy and almost dreamlike!
The water was still very calm and we caught sight again of Kesslet and her calf, as well as a few seals who popped their heads up briefly.
Before long it was time for the Dolphin Spirit to head back to dry land. As we drew back into the harbour there were lots of cormorants, no doubt checking out the fish supply in the water below.
I can definitely recommend taking a Dolphin Spirit boat trip - it's a walkable distance from Inverness City Centre and good value for money = regardless of whether you are lucky enough to spot any dolphins!
I received no incentive for this review. All opinions are my own.