Not a dive trip but something we have always wanted to see--the enchanting Atlantic
Puffins are Pelagic birds, they spend almost all their lives floating, flying and fishing
in the open ocean. The North Atlantic can be a rough place for ocean going ships in the
winter but these tough little birds are out there from the coast of North America all
the way to Scandinavia and Russia. They come ashore to breed in March, nesting in
rock crevices or in burrows if there's enough soil for them to dig into.
This trip left from Jonesport in the northern part of Maine. We went out with "Norton
of Jonesport" (website http://www.machiassealisland.com/ ), a family owned
business founded in 1939 that specializes in getting you out to, and onto, Machais Seal
Island some 30 miles offshore in the Gulf of Maine. The "onto" can be difficult, slightly
rough seas make landing difficult. Seal Island is home to three thousand breeding
Puffins and an added bonus was a huge colony of Razorbills alongside them. Viewing
is from the concealment of bird blinds which allows close looks from six feet or less.
After the birds have settled down you can hear them scampering over the roof.
By August they will be back at sea, maybe not making landfall again until next year.
Astonishing for a bird that's a foot long and weighs less than a pound.
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