Bressay-based marine tourism operator Seabirds and Seals has won a 2014 Certificate of Excellence from the independent ratings website Tripadvisor.
Jonathan Wills started the business in 1992 and since then it has carried more than 35,500 passengers.
In 2001 he began using underwater wildlife viewing using video cameras and a remotely-controlled mini-submarine, or ROV on board Dunter III. This opened up to visitors a rich, fascinating and previously little known part of the islands.
Speaking about the award, Dr Wills said: “This really is most gratifying and reflects great credit on the crew of Dunter III, not only our new starts Ruairidh Mackenzie and David Watt but also Tom Bradshaw and Iain Derbyshire who put in so much hard work to achieve this award.”
Dr Wills said his aim was not to run “just another boat trip” but to provide an entertaining and informative experience that visitors would never forget. “We show them the entire marine ecosystem, from plant plankton blooms up to top predators like grey seals and great skuas.”
In the citation, Tripadvisor says Seabirds and Seals has “consistently earned outstanding feedback” and the award is “based on the quality of reviews and opinions” earned over the past year. The reviewers rate the daily wildlife adventure cruises at the highest, grade five level, making Dunter III Shetland’s top-rated tour boat and second only to The Shetland Museum as a local visitor attraction.
A recent Tripadvisor comment described the three-hour trip as “brilliant”, “very enjoyable and interesting”.