About Us

With decades of experience in eco-tourism on the West Coast of Scotland, responsible wildlife watching is at the forefront of everything we do.

Here's a little bit about each of us...

Richard Fairbairns
Popz (Dad)
Salty ol' Seadog & Original Whalewatcher - 38th season

By establishing Sea Life Surveys back in the 80’s, Dad created the first whale watching platform in the UK. Although SLS changed hands in August 2016, Sea Wild Scotland continues to work for the conservation of our precious marine environment by collecting sightings data, taking identification photographs and many more projects, all under the same original ethos that Dad started with all those years ago. He is passionate about developing a better understanding of our local waters and, most importantly, educating the public on how we can protect them. He thrives on being afloat and looking for what he fondly calls the ‘Stinke Minke’…!

James Fairbairns
Skipper, Guide & Photographer - 16th season

Working with his Dad from a young age, James has years of experience running cruises in our local waters, directing Sea Life Surveys for many years until its sale in 2016. Second coxswain of the Tobermory Lifeboat and an RYA instructor during the winter months, there are perhaps no better hands to be in whilst cruising the Inner Hebrides. James loves to drink a regular cup of tea and (with tea in hand!) he is capable of finding you a myriad of marine beasties and safely landing you on one of our beautiful Scottish Islands for lunch.

Rona McCann
Guide & Marine Biologist - 4th season

Rona holds a master’s degree in Marine System Science from the University of Glasgow and has managed marine science projects as far afield as the Caribbean, Iceland and Egypt. Her recent research has focused on the Hebrides and has resulted in a publication in the journal of Ocean & Coastal Management, investigating the use of wildlife-watching codes in the Sea of the Hebrides. It’s fantastic to have Rona on the Sea Wild Scotland team again for 2017, sharing her passion and knowledge with guests and being the driving force behind our on board science projects.

Richard Darby
Skipper, Guide & Photographer - 5th season

2017 will be Richie’s fifth season with us. A very relaxed skipper who has a wealth of experience cruising our waters. A keen photographer and often the first person to spot the first whale or dolphin of the day! Unlike James' addiction to tea, Richie's addiction to chocolate biscuits will distract him from finding beasties - so don't tempt him!

Ewan Miles
Guide & Photographer - 7th season

In the 7 years that we've worked together we have grown very fond of Ewan's incredible skills both afloat and ashore looking for beasties. Ewan now also runs his own very successful land-based tour company, Nature Scotland, also on the Isle of Mull. Ewan often spots a whale or dolphin at great distance and has an intimate knowledge of both marine and land beasties, flowers, birds and so much more. It's a privilege to be running the Hebridean Photography Tour in partnership with Ewan this season.

Andy Tait
Volunteer, Filmographer & "Professor Plankton" - 20+ seasons

Andy has been helping us on board as a volunteer for more than two decades, usually during his time off work. Now retired, he is incredibly passionate about the study and conservation of our waters. Originally a hobby, Andy now specialises in plankton, from the larger zooplankton that we can see with our naked eye to the thousands of phytoplankton beasties that we need a microscope to discover. Andy is now affectionately known as "Proffessor Plankton" (with two f’s!).


Sea Wild Scotland
Dunstaffnage Marina
PA37 1P

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Terms & Conditions


Sea Wild Scotland (SWS) will not consider a reservation to have been made until a 50% deposit has been received. Any person who make a booking for, or on behalf of, any other person or group of persons warrants and confirms that they have the authority of each such person to accept these conditions and agree to be bound by these conditions.


SWS reserves the right to alter and programme advertised on this website in any way as they consider necessary or desirable, as a reult of adverse weather or any ofher circumstances. Also, if SWS experiences any major changes in cost between the time of booking and the time of departure, they reserve the right to change the prices in accordance with any such change.

Loss or Damage

SWS gives notice that all arrangements are made on the express condition that they will not be liable for any loss, damage, delay, irregularity, injury or death whatsoever which may arise or be caused either by reason of any defect in vessels or vehicles, through default of any company or persons engaged in conveying passengers or in carrying out the arrangements of the cruise(s) or otherwise in connection therewith: or of any servant or employee or for any failure on the part of SWS or agent to provide any of the facilities normally available of for any other reason. In addition SWS does not accept any responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delays in changes in air, rail, road, sea or services, strikes, war, weather or any other cause.


If, owing to circumstances beyond its control, SWS is unable to provide the vessel or cruise booked or suitable alternative SWS will refund any monies paid to it in full and the candidate shall have no further claim against SWS in respect of this.

A passenger who fails to attend a cruise will forfeit the fee if the reservation had not been cancelled at least 30 days in advance of the commencement of the cruise. The fee will be refunded, or an alternative place on a later cruise offered, if a cancellation is received in sufficient time for the place to be offered to another passenger.


All decisions regarding the safety of the vessel, its tender and all those on board rest ultimately with the Skipper. The Skipper or SWS may (notwithstanding any booking previously made) refuse to carry any passenger or any luggage on any passage for any reason relating to the safety of the vessel or the passenger or any of the other property on board the vessel. If such circumstances should arise, the candidate shall not be entitled to, nor shall he/she receive, any compensation or payment whatsoever except that if a passenger is refused carriage on any cruise SWS shall refund to that passenger any fare paid to SWS in respect of that cruise.

Insurance Cover

The vessel carries full Marine Insurance for physical injury or accident to any passenger while on board the vessel. SWS is covered up to £3,000,000 in respect of any one incident.

Private Property

Whilst the vessels operated by SWS are covered by full Marine Insurance for bodily injury or accident to any passenger, SWS does not accept responsibility for loss or damage to passengers' personal effects, property or valuables whilst on board the vessel or in transit. We would therefore recommend you check your own insurance cover or take out a separate policy to cover the duration of your cruise.

Supply of Equipment

If any of the SWS equipment, which is used aboard by passengers, is lost or damaged then the passenger/charterer shall be responsible for the repair or replacement thereof.

Misuse of Drugs

Drugs or other unlawful substances are prohibited on board the vessel at all times and SWS shall not be liable or respobsible for any breach of this condition by any passenger.

Legal Action

Any legal action or proceedings arising out of or in connection with, this contract shall be governed by the Laws of Scotland.

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