Isle of May, Scotland
Today was the day that I (Annette) was most anticipating, PUFFIN DAY!!! We were lucky enough to walk on down to the harbor where the Anstruther Pleasure Cruises boat leaves in about 5 minutes since we were staying so close. The line forms pretty early so if you’re picky about where you sit then get there about 45 minutes early. We were so lucky that the weather was warm and beautiful, it was about 70°F out but still it got pretty chilly on the boat so you might want to bring a jacket even in nice weather. The ride to the island was about an hour. We were lucky that the tides were with us so we had 3 hours to explore the island. It’s reminiscent of Ahch-To from Star Wars: The Force Awakens which is of course an actual island off the coast of Ireland, so it makes sense that it would be similar. The island has so much scenery and we were VERY lucky that the puffins were there late this year. The island was full of puffins, guillemots, and so many other seabirds that we felt very lucky that we made it off the island without guano dropping out of the sky and onto our heads! The island itself is beautiful to explore, stunning views of the oceans from the cliffs. Three hours is the perfect amount of time to explore, we were just getting tired when it was time to head back to the boat. There isn’t any food on the island, but there is a snack bar aboard the ship where you can purchase drinks and snacks. I’d advise taking a lunch. We were lucky that Jill, our Airbnb host, suggested that we bring a lunch with us and she was nice enough to drive us to the local co-op the night before. We bought bread, cheese, and some salami and it was the perfect quick lunch! If you take the cruise, they will give you a great map of the island, our favorite part to see was the South Plateau. That side had (in our humble opinion) the best views and definitely had the most puffins. The North Plateau had a pretty walk as well leading down to a beautiful lighthouse. There are some staff on the island, they greet you with a speech at the beginning and then they are around the island to answer any questions you may have. They are so knowledgeable and friendly, and answered all the questions that we had like What sound do puffins make? The answer is that they sort of moo which is quite different than the other seabirds on the island. On the ride back, we had a special treat. Sometimes, when the pufflings don’t make it to the ocean after they come out of their burrows, the Isle of May staff ask the Cruise operators to take them and release them once they are farther from the island so they are less likely to be attacked by predators and that is jus what happened on our return journey. We got to see the little puffling up close and he was oh so cute (see the picture above.). Puffins are one of my favorite animals, so I felt very very lucky to be able to see them up close and personal. If you’re ever in the area during the time the puffins are supposed to be there which is late spring into early summer, I highly suggest taking the cruise. If you happen to be in Anstruther between September and I think they said November, apparently it’s a great time to see the grey seals! All in all, this day gets 5 out of 5 stars.