Its July everyone. :)
Today it the 150th anniversary of Canada as a nation. Happy Canada Day to those of you from that great nation.
And speaking of Canada, I thought I would show you some photos from my puffin boat trip this past Sunday. This was the reason we headed to northeast Maine and New Brunswick. (Even though I was still excited to visit the area and would definitely go back!)
Warning: this is a long post with lots of photos!
When I went to Iceland last summer I had hoped to see some puffins, and I did see one, but it was so far off that I couldn't tell it was a puffin until I came home and enlarged the photo.
So I did some searching on the internet because I heard you could see puffins in Maine, and Maine is the state right to the east of New Hampshire. In fact, I only live a couple of towns from the Maine border, so traveling to Maine is not an issue. In my research, I discovered there is a puffin trip out of Cutler, Maine that travels to Machias Seal Island.
I booked back in January because this is a very popular trip. In fact, by the first of February the trip was totally sold out for the season.
Machias Seal Island is a disputed island. Both the US and Canada claim to own the island, and right now the lighthouse on the island is managed by Canada.
This boat trip has a license to land on Machias Seal Island. They are the only boat from the US that does. Because this is a sanctuary island, the trip can only take 15 passengers.
This is our sea traveling vessel tied up to the dock. It's a lobster boat although it hasn't been used for lobstering. There are benches along the 3 back sides of the boat (at the opened end) so you have a real in the environment experience.
However, due to fairly rough seas, we couldn't land on Machias Seal Island. It was a little disappointing, BUT at least the sun was shining and we were able to go out on the water and see all the birds.
And boy were there birds. Thousands of them.
You can see how from the spray behind the rocks how rough it was.
Lots of birds are called Thick Billed Murres. They are distantly related to penguins and use their wings as flippers to swim like a penguin, but unlike penguins they can also fly.
the remind me of penguins on the rocks.
Can you see any puffins in the above photo?
But you can see these guy taking off from the water surface here.
Puffins are like murres and also use their wings to swim under water.
More murres. I LOVE my new zoom lens.
We also saw some porpoises (didn't get any photos of).
And since we visited Machias Seal Island, you would expect us to see some seals.
The ducks behind the seals are eider ducks, which you might have heard of if you've heard of eider down which was used in blankets and jackets.
I love the fact that there is a red haired seal. They have as much hair variety as people do.
How about some more birds.
We also saw this large seabird called a Gannet.
A little blurry, but here is the male eider duck with 2 females.
It was actually hard to take photos because the boat kept rocking and rolling in the swells.
I took lots of photos and probably 75% of them didn't come out very well., but I did that in hopes of getting at least some good photos. I think I got more good ones than I expected to.
The most disappointing photos were off the bald eagle we saw coming back into the harbor. I thought we were done with bird photos so I locked my zoom lens (as my lens has a lock on it). Then when we saw the eagle I got excited, and without thinking hit the auto-focus button into the off position. So I got lots of photos like this.
Bald eagle way out of focus. :(
I would have had some excellent shots since the ocean wasn't as rough here and I could snap better photos. But it was really cool to see the eagle.
I did manage to get just 1 focused eagle photo.
Not even the best shot either.
That's how it goes I guess.
So hope you enjoyed this installment of my vacation stories and photos.