We are delighted that Skipper James, Wildlife Experts Lynsey & Will and Chefs Caroline & Ruth are all back on board for the 2020 season. We are also very pleased to welcome Skipper Iain who will share the season with James and new Bosun Helen.

Skipper James Fairbairns is a skilled and qualified Skipper with the Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence and is second coxswain of the Tobermory Lifeboat. In the winter he is an instructor and examiner for Yachtmasters, an advanced powerboat instructor, a first aid instructor and VHF assessor. James has been a Skipper for the past 18 years in the west coast of Scotland and his marine and wildlife knowledge is impressive.  His passion for the conservation and protection of the marine wildlife he encounters is evident in his ability to locate wildlife and pass on his knowledge to the guests on board.

Skipper Iain is well qualified with all the necessary Certificates of Competences to Skipper Emma Jane. He has been Vessel Master for the last 10 years in the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector all over the UK and Northern Europe and before that was employed by the RNLI as a Training Coxswain and Crew Assessor. Iain is a keen kayaker and diver and has dived with Rob Barlow all over the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda.

Wildlife Expert Lynsey Bland is a qualified geologist with a passion for wildlife and the Hebrides, especially whales and dolphins. She volunteers with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust assisting with updating the photo ID catalogues and taking part in cetacean research surveys. She will continue to collect data on board with Hebrides Cruises and will work closely with HWDT to develop their marine wildlife sightings app, which was launched in the summer of 2017.Lynsey is our main Wildlife Guide on board Emma Jane.

Wildlife Expert Will Smith is an ecologist with a particular passion for marine wildlife. He has guided groups in various locations such as outback Australia, but also closer to home in the mountains of Snowdonia. A keen cetacean watcher, Will has also spent several summers living in a lighthouse on a remote Island studying Arctic Terns, amongst other seabirds. He has spent a great deal of time at sea looking for wildlife, both above and below the water- never missing an opportunity to get up close and personal with cetaceans, sharks and turtles. Having visited the Southern, Pacific and Mid Atlantic Oceans, his favourite place is the West Coast of Scotland, and believes that the scenery and wildlife found here is as exciting as anywhere else in the world.

Chef Caroline Chilton-Bates, is a former Royal Naval Officer who therefore enjoys being on the water. Caroline is a graduate of Ashburton Cookery Academy and a registered nutritional consultant with an MSc in Personalised Nutrition and a Diploma in Nutritional Science. However our guests will be most pleased to know that her meals are not only full of flavour but also feature a little bit of naughtiness or well-earned afternoon treat after a shore excursion.

Chef Ruth Goldsworthy graduated with an International Culinary Diploma from London’s Westminster Kingsway College, then worked at the top seafood restaurant in London, Scotts of Mayfair. From there she worked alongside Angela Harnett at her Michelin star restaurant Murano before returning to Scotland for a head chef role at The Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow’s famous Ashton lane. Ruth then took her creative cheffing skills to sea and since then has been Private Cheffing all around the world from Cuba to Bermuda, across the Atlantic to the Azores and around the beautiful inner and outer Hebrides. Ruth loves using her creative abilities to design new menus, she is passionate about sourcing the best sustainable local ingredients to create dishes that inspire all palates. We are delighted that Ruth is really enjoying cheffing with us in the Hebrides and will be onboard again in 2020