Swim, snorkel & dive with Seals in Cornwall
Who am I?
Probably one of the most experienced guides in Cornwall to get you in front of seals. I have been in the water with these curious creatures since the mid 1980s, photographing many hundreds of individuals and now make it my passion to take out people to witness Cornwall's friendliest pinnipeds.
The best time generally is from mid May until October but the over-riding factor is the weather. The seals are always around at this time of year it's just you need the right conditions to find them. Ideally it should be sunny with calm winds. We also can combine trips with great encounters with basking sharks, bait-balling sardines and pods of common dolphins, diving gannets, Cornish penguins (don't ask), bottlenose dolphins, minke whale, pilot whale, leatherback turtle and sunfish.
Cornwall is a great place to see seals as the water clarity is much better (typically 7-20 metres) than many other coastal sites. Also due to the remoteness of where we visit no other boats or visitors will be there as well.
RIB Logan is a 7.2 metres (24 feet) rigid hull inflateable boat, which is the preferred option to use for snorkelling as it is easy to get in and out of. She is licensed to carry 7 passengers plus skipper up to 20 miles from a safe haven, which is more than far enough. We carry a full itinerary of safety equipment including oxygen.
Where and when?
As RIB Logan is on a trailer we are not tied to one port. However, we generally use Penzance for access to the swim with the seals (Penzance slip can be found at Google maps), look for the Sailing Club building and we usually depart at 09.00 and return around 16.30 on full day trips or by arrangement on half day trips depending upon tides. All day parking is available in the harbour car park and you will need about £6 in change. Note: the nearby public toilets now require a 20p coin.
Dates & Rates (whole boat - up to 7 passengers)
£700 per day - up to a maximum of 8 hours or £455 half day (4 hours). Please visit Availabilty, green days are available, orange days are bookable by individuals and red days are full.
Dates & Rates (individuals/part boat)
£150 per person per day - up to a maximum of 8 hours. Please visit Availabilty, orange days are bookable by individuals. Please keep checking as new days become available on a regular basis. If you are 3 or more I will reserve a green day for you.
How to Book?
Please go to my Contact page and send me an email (FB is OK for chit-chat but please email for bookings) or if short notice telephone (sorry no caller ID no answer!). Please note that all bookings are subject to my terms and conditions and by booking all passengers are deemed to have accepted them.
If I cancel the trip due to adverse weather then a refund will be made or you can book on to another day.
Are available at £150 per person per day or whole boat rates as above so you can then choose a day nearer the time that suits everyone - orange days individuals, green days whole boat see the calender.
What do I need to bring?
Preferably you will need a drysuit or a thick wetsuit such as a 5-6mm two-piece as the water is quite cold – 14 to 17 degrees centigrade, hood, gloves and windproof jacket. Also basic snorkelling equipment i.e. mask, fins, snorkel and weight belt. We can arrange for weights for overseas travellers. For dry passengers, waterproof trousers and jacket, hat, gloves, sunscreen, sunglasses and flat soled non-slip boots. We are usually out all day so you need a packed lunch and drink, we have a large cool box if required. A pair of binoculars also helps to locate other marine life and the more spotters we have the better! Please bring only essential gear with you as space is limited and any electronic or camera equipment needs to be in a waterproof box or bag. Please do not bring iPads and laptops etc.
We do have a range of popular sized quality wetsuits for hire as well as masks, fins and snorkels; £20 per person per day. Any hire equipment must be pre-booked at least 48 hours prior to departure. We do not have any gear hire facility at the launch site.
Generally we are at sea all day, however, there are a couple of coves that we can pull in for a comfort break and snacks. Depending on the tides you may have to wade/swim ashore.
The sea is vast with an endless flushing mechanism! For the girls it is also relatively easy to pee over the side, from the ladder or please advise if you prefer I can bring a portable loo.
Is seeing them guaranteed?
As with all marine wildlife seals can be sometimes tricky to find but we see them on over 95% of our trips, however, sightings are not guaranteed. Each summer we encounter them over and over again in the same place with many hours spent in the water with them and they even swim out to the boat to welcome us on the majority of the trips. You can also combine the trip and snorkel with basking sharks that are frequent visitors throughout the summer. There is also a good chance of seeing dolphin, sunfish (Mola mola), minke whale, porpoise and many species of sea bird as well.
What time of year is best?
The seals are around from May to October
Although not specifically protected it is an offence to cause harm to seals. All activities are carried out under the guidelines of the Marine Conservation Society. Let them come to us is our motto. Anyone found not respecting this rule will not be allowed to enter the water.
Where can I store my equipment?
All your gear can be left with us - there is heaps of room in the boat shed to store all your wet stuff and hang out your suit. We also have dryer for drying undersuits overnight. All camera equipment, washing crates, battery chargers we can sort out here so when you go to your accommodation you just have the bare essentials or whatever you want to take with you - laptop and card reader etc. We have also got a wireless network, which visitors may use anytime and we can always download any images onto our Apple Mac computer if you don’t have a laptop with you.
Where to stay?
Mount Haven Hotel, Marazion, TR17 0DQ, 01736 710249 www.mounthaven.co.uk.
Luxury hotel with stunning views over Mount's Bay and excellent restaurant, 10 mins drive from Penzance.
The Longboat Hotel, Penzance, TR18 2HZ, 01736 364137, www.thelongboathotel.net.
Good value, lively hotel just a few minutes walk from the quay - can be a bit noisy on Friday and Saturday nights.
Award winning B&B, 20 mins drive from Penzance for up to 7 people.
Rockridge House, Porthcurno, TR19 6HL, Tel: 01736 810410 www.rockridgehouseporthcurno.co.uk
Good value B&B, 20 mins drive from Penzance, suitable for groups of up to 12.
Where to Eat?