Isle of Noss, Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom

An optional Ventures by Seabourn Zodiac excursion cruises the uninhabited isle of Noss, where naturalist Zodiac drivers can show participating guests the teeming colonies of seabirds nesting on the horizontal ledges in the rocks and cliffs that loom above the sea. There are over 45,000 pairs of guillemots here in season, as well as nearly 9,000 pairs of gannets and numerous puffins, razorbills, black-legged kittiwake gull and other species including fulmars, shags, great black-backed gulls and great skuas. Otters are frequently seen along the shore, as well as seals, dolphins and occasionally minke and orca whales. The islands were once inhabited, and remains of farms and fishing villages remain, but the last permanent residents left in 1939. The island is operated as a Nature Reserve by the Scottish National Heritage. A sheep ranch is also allowed to operate on the island, balancing nature preservation and agriculture. The excursion ends in Lerwick, where guests rejoin the shi