Guide to seeing dolphins and porpoises on Skye

The waters around the coast of Skye are rich in marine life and swimming right at the top of the marine food chain are dolphins and porpoises which are often seen in summer in the sea lochs of Skye.

Dolphins usually attract star billing as they are much more noticeable, active and engaging than their shyer smaller cousins, the porpoises.  Yet, there are probably more porpoises around than dolphins and they are certainly seen more often, if only fleetingly.

Dolphin alongside

Porpoise coming up for air

Dolphins, in contrast seem to like interaction with boats and will freely bow wave ride alongside or wake chase across the stern.  They frequently break the surface, often in small groups, an enthrall and delight with their amazing swimming speed, agility and, if you are very lucky, acrobatics.

Dolphins wake chasing

Porpoises only break the surface very briefly and are gone before you are fully aware of what it is you are seeing.  They are much smaller than dolphins and, unless it’s very calm, often difficult to see at a distance in the chop of the waves.

You need to be out at sea to have the best views of these marine mammals and Elgol, where our Springbank Skye self catering holiday cottage is located, has several boat trip operators taking visitors offshore to where these mammals might be seen.   Try Misty Isle Boat Trips or Bella Jane Boat Trips for the latest information on where to go and what you might see.

In case you are not sure what you are seeing, Springbank Skye self catering holiday cottage has an environmental activities room with resources to help identify sea mammals as well binoculars to help you locate them.   Good luck!