The highlight of the trip through Maine is Machias Seal Island. In the Atlantic Ocean, 10 miles off the coast of New Brunswick. This small rock island is host to thousands of nesting Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Common Murres, Arctic Terns, Eider Ducks and even a possible Northern Gannet. On the way are colonies of Seals.
Access to these highly protected nesting sites is extremely limited. Several tour boats will take you around these colonies, and you can photograph them from the boat. Machias Seal Island is actually disputed territory claimed by both the US and Canada. Only one single boat per day from the US, and a single boat from Canada are allowed to bring people ashore and they are only allowed to bring 15 passengers per trip.
When you arrive you will be given specific instruction where to go and what to do. It is absolutely imperative for the protection of the birds that you follow these instructions.
You will be allowed to photograph the birds from one of 4 blinds, and the birds will come very close. On the trip back Captain Patterson will circle the island so you can get more pictures of the birds flying, swimming, and on the shore. He will also circle a colony of seals that you can photograph from the boat.
The US boat departs from Cutler Harbor and is operated by Bold Coast Charter Company. Reservations for the season do not begin until Jan 1 and they always sell out very quickly. Trips are also dependent on the weather so there is always a risk you may not be able to make the trip, but make no mistake that this trip is a “bucket list” experience.
Machias Seal Island photographed from the boat. Seen here – Common Murres, Razorbills and a single pair of Gannets:
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