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.
BEFORE contacting us please read the FAQ below
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, leaping bluefin tuna, 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 we rarely encounter other boats or visitors.
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 seven 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 RIB Logan is a bright orange RIB on the slipway. We usually depart two hours before low water and return two hours after low water or at 09.00 and return around 16.30 on full day trips. Parking is available in the harbour car park and you will need about £8 in change. Note: the nearby public toilets now require a 20p coin.
Dates & Rates (whole boat - up to 7 passengers)
£455 half day (4 hours) or extend to a whole day for an extra £245. Please visit Availabilty, green days are available and red days are full.
The Trip details
It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the seal colony as we explore the coastline, coves, sites and if we are lucky spot a basking shark on the way. This gives you up to two hours with the seals and then usually an hour back offshore looking for cetaceans.
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 £455 for half day or £700 for a full day for whole boat exclusivity so you can then choose a day nearer the time that suits everyone - green days are available 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. 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, laptops, valuables, handbags etc.
Who can snorkel with seals?
Anyone with prior basic snorkelling experience can swim with the seals. We advise that you should be comfortable in cold deep water and be able to swim at least 100 metres.There is no particular age limit but anyone below 18 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or instructor in the water. The main issue for kids is the cold so they need thick wetsuits and lots of very warm clothes to change into.
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 for the duration of the trip, 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 to stay?
The Longboat Hotel, Penzance, TR18 2HZ, 01736 364137,
Good value, lively hotel just a few minutes walk from the quay - can be a bit noisy on Friday and Saturday nights.
Where to Eat?