As 2023 comes to an end let’s have a look at the season that has just gone by.


It has been a busy 12 months welcoming and transporting almost 120,000 passengers and 7,000 dogs to the Isles of Scilly across our Scillonian III and Skybus services. We have loved helping visitors and their four-legged friends to reach these shores and experience all that the Isles of Scilly have to offer, and we look forward to being part of even more exciting journeys in the coming year.


Here are some highlights of the year for Isles of Scilly Travel:




2023 has had its share of milestones for Isles of Scilly Travel. In October, our friendly passenger relations team issued its 500,000th ticket using the online booking system we introduced in 2016. The system makes booking even easier and quicker for our passengers looking to head to the islands. Read more about our helpful team and all they do here.


Another exciting highlight is that our fundraising total for Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust has hit an incredible £100,000. Since 2019 our wonderful customers have donated a grand total of £100,397 to the charity by making a voluntary donation when booking online. In 2023 alone, from 1st April through to 30th November, the amount raised has been an amazing £13,237.50. This generous amount will make a huge difference, helping to keep the Isles of Scilly special by protecting island wildlife.


That’s not all! Skybus celebrated more than 30 years of flying from Exeter Airport to the Isles of Scilly. Operating up to three flights a day, six days a week in the peak season, our Exeter route has helped to make these stunning islands even more accessible to our visitors.



Plane flying over islands





We have had a few famous faces travel over to the islands this year, with scientist Adam Hart Davies flying to St Mary’s by Skybus in October. In June, the islands were visited by TV historian Dan Snow, who spent several days on the Isles of Scilly with his production team where they made a documentary series for History Hit TV. We welcomed Dan Snow and the team on board both Scillonian III and Skybus. Their replica of Captain Bligh’s 23ft boat, Bounty, was shipped over on Gry Maritha.


Catch up on their series which explores the islands’ ancient history and what they discovered on History Hit TV.




As ever, this year continued to present brilliant opportunities for spotting marine life.


645 individual animals were observed this year on board Scillonian III, spotted by ORCA volunteers between March and November.


This incredible amount of sea life detected between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly has led to the crossing being named the best ferry route for wildlife spotting in the UK for the second year in a row.


The most sighted animal was the common dolphin, with 495 seen between Penzance and St Mary’s. If you make a trip in 2024 don’t forget to keep an eye out as you might just spot them!


Dolphins in the sea

Photo of common dolphins taken by ORCA


Other animals glimpsed were harbour porpoise, bottlenose and Risso dolphins, minke whales, grey seals, and tuna.


This round up shows how trips on board Scillonian offer incredible animal watching opportunities, with the journey being an exciting way to start an unforgettable trip. For more details on all that was found this year, head to our article here.


In other wildlife-spotting news, surveyors from the RSPB went on a total of 25 sailings on board Scillonian in 2023, where they counted the birdlife on each sailing. As many as 21,539 individual birds and 60 species were spotted, including rare birds such as Wilson’s Petrel, Sabine Gulls, Grey Phalarope, and a Velvet Scoter.




We re-opened our St Mary’s office in November which is open 10am to 2pm Monday-Saturday. Here, our friendly and knowledgeable team are ready to help you with any freight, travel, or general enquiries that you might have. Though we still recommend booking online, this is a brilliant option for those not able to do so.


We can’t wait to start 2024 and help more people travel to the Isles of Scilly, where memories are made that last a lifetime. Discover the islands for yourself by booking a trip here.