Hebridean Cruise The Sounds of Mull, Luing, Shuna and Jura (Gemini Explorer)

Hebridean Cruise The Sounds of Mull, Luing, Shuna and Jura (Gemini Explorer)

From GBP £1,320


Travel along these world famous Sounds that separate some of the most famous islands of the Inner Hebrides and listen to the myriad sounds of the sea. Whichever Sounds we discover, they have one glorious thing in common. They are all the Sounds of Silence.

Sail by the spectacular islands of the Southern Hebrides: Isle of Mull, Kerrera, Luing, Shuna, Jura and Islay. Anchor in tranquil, remote bays. See the incredible wildlife such as soaring sea and golden eagles, porpoises, dolphins, seabirds and seals.

Sit back and enjoy the trip as you travel through the Sounds and sea lochs, view the spectacular mountains and fast running tides that make extraordinary spiral patterns and glassy runs in the sea and marvel at the headland lighthouses and castles and all the wildlife. For extra fun, bring your kayak and windsurfer, swim from the boat or go ashore on remote islands to explore. Don’t forget your walking boots for spectacular island walks with wonderful views of the Sounds.

This cruise can be a six or seven night itinerary depending on the dates you choose to travel.

Please note that your voyage is weather dependent. Weather doesn’t just mean good or bad weather. There are many considerations such as tidal gates, wind direction and strength, the strength and direction of currents, overfalls, and fetch. Depending upon the weather and nature’s conditions, wildlife viewing varies.

*If you wish to visit a specific place or have a specific experience, such as sea eagle tours or whisky tasting, then please do let your skipper know and he will endeavour to meet your request. Excursions and visits ashore are at your own cost.*

Some of the places we may visit are:

Oban: Your departure point will be Oban (Dunstaffnage Marina), the gateway to the Hebridean isles. After a short introduction to life on board our small ship we set sail to our first destination.

Loch Spelve: Loch Spelve is on the south side of Mull. To enter we have to negotiate the narrow entrance. The anchorage in this sheltered loch, which is surrounded by an ancient oak forest, gives us unparalleled views of the mountains of Mull. There are resident otters along its shoreline. We can also pick up some locally grown mussels before we leave to our next destination.

Isle of Shuna: Sail along the Isle of Lismore and into the Firth of Lorn and then, with the tide in our favour, (a must as the currents can run at five knots in these parts) we enter the Sound of Luing. We shoot past the famous Fladda lighthouse, the over falls and eddies of these fast running waters make extraordinary spiral patterns and glassy runs in the sea. The waters calm as we pass the southern tip of Luing Island and enter Shuna Sound. Our quiet anchorage off the North coast of the Isle of Shuna is a spot where otters frequently play along the shoreline. On the way to the remote island of Shuna, and at anytime during the trip, we may see soaring sea or golden eagles, porpoises and dolphins, as well as many types of seabirds.

Craighouse, Jura: We travel down the Shuna Sound with tidal planning again important as we will pass the notorious Gulf of Corryvreckan with its six knot tides which can be heard roaring 30 miles inland when there is a storm of wind against tide. We pass the northern headland of Jura, where George Orwell’s cottage can still be seen where he wrote 1984, to sail down the Sound of Jura. The magnificent Munro mountains, the three “Paps of Jura”, can be seen rising over the craggy cliffs of Jura’s shoreline to dominate the southern end of the Sound of Islay. Our destination anchorage is off Craighouse the home of the Jura Distillery and home to two distinct malts: sweet Origin and smoky Superstition.

Islay: Islay is the Malt Whisky capital of the world. Our anchorage is in Kilnaughton Bay, off Port Ellen, which is Islay’s main town (the Port Ellen distillery closed in 1983 but the maltings are still in operation). We are spoilt for choice for distillery visits: Lagavulin distillery is just north of Port Ellen and, close by, are the other world famous distilleries of Ardbeg and Laphroaig. They all use Islay’s peaty water and peated malt to give their famous powerful, salty, peaty, iodiney flavours. In contrast, the northern distilleries of Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich draw their water directly from springs to give lighter, nuttier flavours. Caol lla, close to Bunnahabhain, produces a delicate flavoured malt, while Bowmore, the oldest distillery on the island (1779), in the middle of the town of Bowmore and on the banks of a loch, has its own very distinctive peaty, salty taste.

Loch Sween: An anchorage in the upper reaches of beautiful Loch Sween – its seal population lining its banks to watch us as we pass by. We will pass the natural anchorage of Tayvallich, once a famous Viking harbor.

Crinan Canal: We can anchor just outside the Crinan Canal which has truly magnificent scenery and is rich in history, with many world-class heritage sites. It is a designated wildlife reserve with miles of forest walks and cycle ways. Guests can choose to do a three hour walk from Tayvallich (Loch Sween) to the Crinan Canal.

Isle of Luing: Guests can be dropped off at the little village of Toberonochy and do a beautiful walk to the Atlantic Islands Centre.

Trip Name
Hebridean Cruise The Sounds of Mull, Luing, Shuna and Jura (Gemini Explorer)
Vessel Type: Small Ship Length: 72 feet / 21.9 meters Passenger Capacity: 8 Built / refurbished: 1974 / 2020 The new mini cruise ship is a historic, converted cruising lifeboat that once roamed the Western Approaches and was involved in the storm of the ill-fated 1979 Fastnet Race. Gemini Explorer was built in 1974 in Bideford Shipyard as the City of Bristol (70-003), one of three, Clyde class, cruising lifeboats with an extended offshore range of 1700 miles. She is powered by two powerful Gardner diesel engines and she will achieve speeds of up to twelve knots. The Gemini Explorer entered service at the Clovelly Lifeboat Station on the North Devonshire coast and, after saving 44 lives, was finally retired in 1989. Since then, after extensive re-fits and modifications (including a new galley, high bulwarks, viewing top deck, en-suite accommodation and a well lit saloon), she has been converted to a mini cruise ship and today sails as the Gemini Explorer. However, there are parts of the insides of the vessel that have been kept in their original state to give an exciting insight in to role she once played as a cruising lifeboat.  As a mini cruise ship she has voyaged as far away as Greenland and, for the last 10 years, sailed as a charter vessel on the east coast of Scotland. In 2020 after a further refit and upgrade she will be sailing the beautiful islands and sea lochs of Scotland’s west coast as part of St Hilda Sea Adventures little fleet. The deck saloon is where everyone dines and socialises and where everyone enjoys a convivial atmosphere that is encouraged by shipboard life aboard this ex-cruising lifeboat.  Cabins are warm and comfortable with eight berths for our guests. In the forward part of the vessel there is a double en-suite, a twin en-suite and single en-suite. In the aft part of the vessel there is a cabin which has a one double bed and two single berths. We are happy to offer this cabin to two guests only, without supplement. This aft cabin shares the bathroom with the two crew. All en-suites and the bathroom have a washbasin, toilet and shower. All cabin linen and towels are supplied. There is an upper viewing deck complete with teak benches and perfect for spotting wildlife and relaxing. You also have some deck space to embark your own equipment such as kayaks and paddleboards. You will also be able to use the onboard two person sea kayak.


Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
08-09-202214-09-2022GBP £1,320Twin / Double Cabin
08-09-202214-09-2022GBP £1,950Single Cabin En-suite
08-09-202214-09-2022GBP £1,950Twin / Double Cabin En-suite
19-09-202225-09-2022GBP £1,980Twin / Double Cabin
19-09-202225-09-2022GBP £2,100Twin / Double Cabin En-suite


    • Explore the Hebridean
    • Visit Isle of Shuna
    • Experience Tobermory
    • Be Amazed by Loch Aline