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.
We have been fortunate to take two trips here in 2010 and 2019. Our last time was
with Bold Coast Charters, leaving from Cutler in the northern part of Maine with the
very entertaining Captain Andy Patterson on board the Barbara Frost. This was a
short 45 minute ride to Machias Seal Island and Bold Coast specializes in getting you
out to, and onto, the island 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.
The island is on the border of the US and Canada waters, currently peacefully
contended it has a lighthouse that's staffed by the Canadian coast guard and they also
host researchers for the breeding seabirds.
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