Boat Rides, Seabird Cruises

Wilson's petrel.
Wilson's Petrels

Come to Vinalhaven and go for a boat ride to see some of the adjacent islands and the wildlife there, these are some rare habitats and Vinalhaven has good access to them. I take folk out on a comfortable 36 lobster boat "Skua" (See below) moving through the water at speeds approaching 10 knots, I can carry six passengers and one crew. Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge is about an hour away and there is a lot to see there. If you are more interested in riding around Vinalhaven or Isle au Haut, Lighthouses, or something else we can customize a trip to suit your interests.

John Drury
P.O. Box 267
Vinalhaven, ME 04863

Phone: (207) 596-1841 (Green's Island) May-October,

Phone: (207) 863-4962 (Vinalhaven) November- mid April

E-Mail:, checked infrequently during summertime, best to call in summer

there is a gallery of photos I have taken from the boat recently at: some more recent better quality images here, I will try to post more pictures during the summer

RB t bird june 23 2013l.

Red-Billed Tropic Bird June 23 2013, Seal Island,

May 15 2014, The red billed Tropic bird was seen by Julia Gulka and Ed Jenkins who are down on Seal Island, it has come back again! what a bird.

rbtb seal june 4 14.

Red-billed Tropic Bird Seal Island June 4 14

jaegar chasing tern.
young Arctic Skua, (Parasitic Jaegar) Common Tern and Herring

This is an opportunity to get out on the water and see a variety of seascapes and seabirds. The most popular ride is a three and a half hour tour out past Roberts' and Otter Islands to Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge. There, during the summer, one can see Great Cormorant, Razorbills, Puffins, Arctic and Common Terns, Murres, Laughing gulls, Double-crested Cormorants and Guillemots. There has been a Red-billed Tropic Bird seen regularly in the area for several years. Out in the bay we often seen Gannets, Wilson's Petrels and some times Greater, Sooty and Manx Shearwaters and Parasitic Jaegars (Arctic Skua). Recently there has been a flood of Bald Eagles in the seabird consuming business specializing in Gulls, Eiders and Cormorants we usually see some of them on Robert's and or Otter Island. There are Grey Seals at Seal Island, Harbor seals hauled out on Yellow Ledge, almost invariably Porpoise in the bay and sometimes Minke Whales.

Greater shearwater over calm sea. .
Greater shearwater over calm sea

During the last two several years have also seen, a Black-browed Albatross, a Sabines gull, a 20' basking shark, many sunfish, tuna fish and a Thrasher Shark breaching three times, (that was really cool), also White-sided Dolphins, and Sei whales, Leaches Petrels two days Corey's shearwaters, humpback whales, an Ivory black-backed gull, (albino)

tropic bird showing barring on the back.

July 22 2013,

Other trips include a ride around Vinalhaven, an approximately 3 hour tour.
Around Isle au Haut, 4 hours. I would include a chart of the bay but you can see it better if you look at a satellite image of the area.

flying puffin.

A shorter ride up the reach down Hurricane Sound and out to Brimstone about 2 hours

I charge $90/hour.

I have been boating and conducting seabird population studies in the area for 30 years, and have been carrying passengers for 20 years. I transport researchers, working for the Audubon Society and the Fish and Wildlife service, from Vinalhaven out to Seal Island and Matinicus Rock.

One generous rider from Indiana wrote, "My sixth trip on Fluke, each time is completely different and each time is a joy, what a wonder-filled place this is and I'm grateful for such a fun and knowledgeable guide."

porpoise, Brimstone Island behind.
Porpoise, Brimstone Island beyond

Another wrote, "We are so happy we did this! We all love birding and learning more about wildlife and the islands. It was such a treat to see hundreds of Puffins, the Seals, Gannets, Jaegars, Cormorants and Eagles!! thank you so much! Truly wonderful"

new vessel SKUA.
This is my new boat, SKUA, a 1973 Jarvis Newman, 36' 115 horsepower, (same speed, @ 9 knots and hopefully about 30% less fuel consumption than our former Vessel Fluke). Named as a gesture of admiration for the elegance of the Arctic Skua, aka Parasitic Jaegar or Sea Hawk.

You can see a positive review of the service at about when John Vanderpol came out to see the Red-billed tropic bird

or on Keith Muellers great New England Coastal Birds blog.

Or at Neil Hayward's blog

These folk were all out chasing the Tropic bird, but as another Tropic bird chaser put it, something along the lines of "This is a great trip regardless of the Tropic Bird", in fairness I believe this fellow had seen the Tropic bird, but I think he was right.

Red-billed Tropic bird Seal Island coming this way.
Red-billed Tropic Bird Seal Island, July 17, 2013

summer 2005 there was a Red-billed tropicbird seen at Seal Island, early summer, also at Machias seal @100 miles east of Seal. early '06 one showed up at Matinicus Rock, 7 miles SW of Seal, this Tropicbird stayed around Matinicus Rock for the rest of summer then came back in '07, it had a little cavern it adopted as a roost, this bird changed its allegiance to Seal Island in '08, happily for those of us who take folk birding there, and has adopted a cavern on Seal Island as well, apparently a suitable nest site. There are large colonies of Arctic and common terns on both these Islands and the tropic bird seems to be imprinted on them. Perhaps as a lonely wayward youth it followed some terns bound for Maine from Venezuela. Hopefully it was lucky and capable enough to survive the winter again.

White-sided Dolphin, Aug 8 '12 SW of Seal Island .

White-sided Dolphin Aug 8 '12, SW of Seal Island

Manx shearwaters.

Manx Shearwater

Black Guillemot.
Black Guillemot

peregrine with tern.
Peregrine carrying Tern, with mob escorting.

Some pictures taken from the boat during the last few years

Sabines gull.

Sabines Gull, July 7 2010, @1 mile NE No Man's land.

Razorbill on the water


Saddleback Ledge

Black-browed Albatross
Black-browed Albatross, July 15 '09 just north of Snippershan shoal,

3 murre one ringed
Murres, Seal Island

Great Cormorant flying
Spring Great Cormorant

imm GC and baby seal
Immature Great Cormorant blessing young seal

Greater shearwater white-sided Dolphin
Greater Shearwater, White sided Dolphin

parasitic Jaegar common tern herring
Parasitic jaegar, common Tern, and Herring

pair of harlequin flying
Pair of Harlequin

Eagle over shags
Adult Eagle Double-crested Cormorant

fulmar swimming

Gannet flying

skating Petrel
Wilson's petrel, skating

Diamond rock and brimstonel
Diamond Rock and Brimstone

Puffins flying at Seal Island
Puffins at Seal Island

Ivory black back
Ivory Black-back June 2012, adult Albino Black-back

birders on Fluke
Birders aboard Fluke, my old boat shes a 34' mahogany Irvin Jones built in East Boothbay,

Le Equipe de seal Isle
Le Equipe de Seal Isle en board Skua mon nouveau vieux bateau.

Don, Terry, Bob and Louis
Don, Terry, Bob and Louis aboard Fluke at Seal Island

Greater Shearwater over blue
Greater Shearwaer, Puffin majeur

Greater Shearwater over blue

Greater Shearwater, Pardela Capirotada

Coreys shearwater
Corey's Shearwater Aug. 8 '12

Sunfish, chaser of jellyfish

Sunfish, aka Pez Luna

Sunfish near Skua, Ariel observing

Sei Whale

Sei Whale, July 27 2011, Seal Island

Curious young humpback,
Curious young Humpback Whale looming, SW of Seal Island

Humback Flukes,
Humback Flukes, 20 miles beyond Seal Island.

Grey seals squeeker Guzzle,
Grey Seals squeeker guzzle Seal Island

Sooty Shearwater taking off, Sooty Shearwater

Leaches Petrel Aug. 8, '12 Leaches Petrel, offshore, though they breed on Seal Island and many other Islands in the area they are very rarely seen during the day, you have to go out a ways to find them.

Back side of Seal Island, starfisher Back side of Seal Island, Starfisher Aug '09

Phalerope in driftweed Northern, or Red-necked Phalerope, July 2011 in the bay

red and red necked  Phalerope
Red Phalerope and three rednecks

Greater, Sooty and two Manx Three species of Shearwater

Grand Paille-en-queue
Grand Paille-en-queue, Seal isle, Juillet 17, 2013,

As an example of what one might see over the course of a summer here are some sightings from summer 2011,

I saw the Tropic Bird May 12, This crazed bird survived the winter arrived back at the Island before the terns, Haley Walsh and I saw it Sail into its cavern this morning @11:00

June 23 '011 Red-billed Tropic bird, Harlequin Ducks (2 male, seen 3 times last time)

June 27, Red-billed tropic Bird , lesser-black back, Ivory Black-back gull see photo. Great Cormorants, Arctic Terns, Parasitic Jaegar, Manx Shearwater

June 21, Manx Shearwater, Great Cormorants, very dark morph Parasitic Jaegar (pale one too) Arctic tern, Murre, Razorbill, Puffins, Minke Whale, Grey seals, Porpoise,

June 26, Greater, Sooty and Manx shearwaters, SE wind blew them in, Murres

July 2 Tropic bird, Manx shearwater, Razorbill with chick

July 7, Tropic bird, Peregrine taking tern see photo, Dowichers

July 23,24,25,26,28th Tropic bird at Seal Island

During the week of July 23-29 I also saw, Jaegars, mostly Parasitic, one Pomarine, 7 Parasitic one day.

4 Sei Whales, July 28th, Manx, Greater and Sooty Shearwaters, Black tern, common Murre, Razorbill and Puffins, Arctic Terns, Gannets, Eagles, Great Cormorants.

Aug 16, The tropic bird was seen

Aug 1,3,5, 13th,
Parasitic Jaegars, regularly, Manx and Greater shearwaters, Peregrine at Seal Island, Gannets, Arctic Terns and Puffins still around though the Razorbills have left. Great Cormorants being attacked by eagles at Little Roberts Island. Harrier, Semipalmated Plovers, Rudy Turnstones, lesser Yellowlegs,

There have been Coreys shearwater in the gulf of Maine for the last few years and this year I saw them several days, 12 or so on a trip beyond Seal Island where we saw several Leaches' Petrel as well.