News / 30,000th passenger on Dunter III

Dunter III skipper Jonathan Wills (left) presents Swiss tourist Andy Baumgartner with “The Birds of Shetland” book and cake to celebrate the 30,000th passenger with Seabirds-and-Seals, accompanied at the Noss gannetry with guide Jon Dunn (right) of Shetland Wildlife.

SHETLAND wildlife tour operator Jonathan Wills has welcomed his 30,000th passenger on board his tour boat Dunter III for a three hour trip round the Noss National Nature Reserve.

Dr Wills business Seabirds and Seals has been taking wildlife enthusiasts to the 600 foot high cliffs of Noss since 1992.

On Monday a Swiss tourist was presented with a commemorative cake and a copy of The Birds of Shetland to mark the occasion.

Dr Wills said: “When I started out 19 years ago with a 24 foot open boat my passengers had to wear oilskins and wellies, but since we launched Dunter III in 2003 we’ve had a warm, sheltered cabin with panoramic windows, so we’re able to sail on wet and windy days, when there’s still plenty to see.

“In 2001 we introduced underwater viewing and this has been a big attraction as clients discover the amazingly rich and colourful wildlife beneath the surface.


“Using a remotely controlled underwater video camera, we explore the entire ecosystem, from the plant and animal plankton up to the gannets at the top of the food chain. We also have an onboard microscope to show clients the plankton and this is very popular.”

Like many other tourism operators in the isles, Seabirds and Seals are reporting a record breaking season this summer.

“Sales are up by a quarter on last year and are now well ahead of where we were in 2006, before the global financial crisis,” Dr Wills said.

“The strong euro and the weak pound are a double benefit. Eurozone travellers find Shetland a real bargain while British holidaymakers, wary of high costs, flight problems and political instability in some foreign destinations, are attracted to Shetland because their money’s worth the same here, there’s less travel hassle and there’s so much to see and do. As I’ve always said, it’s like going abroad without a passport.”

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