Island Hopping Voyages – Never Far from a Beach

Island Hopping Voyages – Sail and Explore Ashore

These are the voyages combining the best of both worlds – Sailing between islands and exploring ashore. They range from island hopping in tropical destinations where your landing stage is often a sandy beach, to islands closer to home where an ancient quay might offer a chance step ashore and keep your boots on.

Destinations for Island Hopping.

  • Isles of Scilly
  • Scotland
  • Svalbard – Spitsbergen
  • Iceland
  • Greenland
  • Canary Islands
  • Cape Verde
  • Caribbean
  • Antarctica
  • Lofoten Isles
  • Remote Ocean Outposts

Sailing & Shallow Water Pilotage

These are some the best coastal voyages because you take advantage of the sailing to move yourself from one beautiful island to another. The sailing is part of the journey and you feel you entitled to be in these amazing places. Enjoy the excitement of Rounding a headland to see the next island or bay to explore. Some island groups require a bit of offshore sailing to reach them, like the Scillies or St Kilda, but once there you can usually go from anchorage to anchorage, as long as the skipper keeps an eye of the weather forecast.

rowing ashore in the Caribbean on Grayhound
rowing ashore in the Caribbean on Grayhound

Step Onto Dry Land

Until you have been on a boat at sea, bouncing around and balancing your body on a heeling deck, you will never know how pleasurable it is to set foot on land and just WALK. Exploring ashore is an essential part of the voyage giving you the chance to stretch your legs, climb the nearest hill or part of a mountain, listen to bird song or smell the flowers. There is normally someone aboard with a special interest that you can tag along with. It could be birds, flowers, butterflies, geology, ancient monuments, local history, penguins or polar bears! 

We chose our sailing locations more for their wildlife, natural scenery and idyllic anchorages, than facilities ashore. Our skippers will awake the natural explorer in you. Be the first to row ashore and make footprints in the sand; sail silently under towering Norwegian cliffs; fend off over-friendly penguins ashore or take a zodiac ride between stranded icebergs in Antarctica. There is nothing wrong in hugging an oak tree after some time at sea, or re-living your childhood on a Cornish beach….We are not complete wilderness purists though. We do find the pub eventually !  Classic Sailing first Brochure 1997

Unspoilt nature around the UK Coast

Unless you are already a sailor or a fisherman you may not be aware how ecologically rich the seas around Britain are – particularly the western edge of the UK with its intricate mainland coastline and islands from the Scillies to the most North Westerly island shores of the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda.

Fast tides and wave action to stir up the waters, ocean currents like the Gulf Stream sweep creatures from as far away as the Caribbean bringing unusual sightings like turtles or strange jellyfish. The close proximity to the vast Atlantic allows frequent visits by many species of dolphins, whales and ocean seabirds like storm petrels and gannets.

St Agnes is the most SW island in the UK

Scotland – Outer Hebrides and St Kilda Voyages

The deep waters between the Western Isles are homes to Minke Whale, basking sharks and you often see seals swimming across the firths. Sea Eagles make their home on Rum and Lunga and the Shiant Islands have puffins. There are always plenty of voyages to choose from in Scotland with voyages starting from Greenock, Oban, Mallaig and Ullapool. There is no better way to see the Western Isles of Scotland than from a sailing holiday. No huge distance to drive between one place and the next, midges don’t go to sea and there are a huge number of overnight anchorages.

Hebridean Voyages

Tall Ship Tecla heading for St Kilda
Tall Ship Tecla heading for St Kilda

Isles of Scilly – Bird watchers Paradise

We have a variety of vessels that regularly visit the Isles of Scilly in summer, which offers excellent cetacean and bird watching opportunities. Many of the voyages include a tour ashore with local wildlife, fauna, geology and local history guide Will Wagstaff. Each Island has its own character and the idea is to give you the chance to explore as many as possible with short sails between the islands.

Isles of Scilly voyages

Anchored in the Scillies on a pilot cutter

Antarctic Island Hopping

Cape Horn is an island. The first land you reach on the way to the Antarctic Peninsula are the South Shetland Islands. Much of the landings on the West and East side of the Antarctic Peninsula are Islands – Trinity Island, Deception, Astrolabe, Paulet, Elephant Island.

Tall ships like Europa or Tecla visit other island groups in the Southern Ocean like South Georgia – an incredible wildlife oasis with millions of penguins and South Orkney with its elephant seals and adelie penguins. 

Antarctic Summer Voyages

Aicho Islands in South Shetland, Antarctica
Aicho Islands in South Shetland, Antarctica

Arctic Archipelagos

Tecla offers exploration voyages in Iceland, Greenland and in 2019 the North West Passage above Canada. Oosterschelde is exploring the Lofoten Isles and Blue Clipper makes Arctic journeys to several Arctic Islands.

We prefer an anchorage nestled below impressive cliffs or mountains or rocking gently off a deserted beach listening to the sounds of nature, rather than tied up to a pontoon in a marina amongst the rattle of wire halliards on aluminium masts.

Lofoten Islands skyline
Lofoten Islands skyline

Caribbean Island hopping by Tall Ship

Are you seeking, sun and adventure? There are always winter sunshine voyages in the Caribbean often based from Antigua or the sailing along fantastic island chains visiting island like St Martin and St Kitts, the British Virgin Islands and even Cuba.

Caribbean Voyages by Tall Ship

Tall Ship Morgenster sailing in the Caribbean
Tall Ship Morgenster sailing in the Caribbean

Cape Verde Archipelago

A trade wind alternative to the Caribbean with 9 islands to explore and windy North East trade winds for fast sailing between islands. Tropical sun, flying fish, wahoo, rum, and sugar cane off the West African Coast. Turquoise seas, jeep safaris, mountain walks and musicians in the cobbled streets.

Cape Verde Island Hopping Voyages

Canaries & Azores – Cetaceans & Winter Sun

Every UK winter we have voyages in the Western Canaries and Azores running dolphin and whale watching voyages in the winter sun. There is a nursery ground for bottlenosed dolphins off Tenerife and many of the worlds whale and dolphin research projects are based in either the Canaries or Azores as they are visited by many species. It is also a good place for turtle sightings and even manta rays. We occasionally have a square riggers like Morgenster, Lord Nelson or Tenacious in the Canaries for part of the winter.

Remote Ocean Outposts

Isolated volcanic outposts in the middle of oceans that can only be reached by ship. Some of our favourite bucket list islands include the Galapagos, Easter Island, St Helena, Tristan Da Cuhna, Lord Howe  Island, Pitcairn, Bear Island, Faroes and more.



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