It was the mysterious minke whale which first gripped naturalist Richard Fairbairns' imagination and brought Sea Life Surveys into existence.
Inspired by a close encounter with this magnificent creature in 1982, he took the first tentative steps towards investigating the little-researched cetaceans of the Inner Hebrides. With advice from whale biologists Vassili Papastavrou and Jonathan Gordon, he created the research organisation, Mull Cetacean Project. The aims of the project were to investigate the cetacean populations over an area of 300mi2 to the north and west of Mull using only benign methods to study their behaviour (particularly that of the minke whale) and their place in the ecosystem of the area.
Funds for this work were to be raised by the introduction of commercial whale watching holidays and day trips run by Sea Life Surveys. Data collection was to be carried out from the whale watching vessel by Richard, a crew of student volunteers and paying members of the public under supervision.
In 1994 the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust was created, which has now taken over much of the education and conservation activities of the Mull Cetacean Project. Research activities of Sea Life Surveys continue to focus on the minke whale and cetaceans in the area which complements further studies by the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust.
More recently the company had been under the direction of Richard's son, James. James continued to take the company from strength to strength, offering a range of day trips and package holidays, with success being highlighted with a GOLD Green Business Award in 2013 & 2015 by the Green Tourism Business Scheme.
In August 2016 Sea Life Surveys was acquired by Staffa Tours. By harnessing the strengths of both businesses, we hope to continue our growth and continue to operate at the high standard that our customers have become accustomed to.