Boat Rides, Seabird Cruises
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.
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: email@example.com, checked infrequently during summertime, best to call in summer
there is a gallery of photos I have taken from the boat recently at:
http://sightingsfromskua.blogspot.com/ some more recent better quality images here, I will try to post more pictures during the summer
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.
Red-billed Tropic Bird Seal Island June 4 14
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
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)
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.
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 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"
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 http://www.bigyear2011.com/seal-island-john-drury-and-the-red-billed-tro... about when John Vanderpol came out to see the Red-billed tropic bird
or on Keith Muellers great New England Coastal Birds blog. http://coastalbirds2.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2012-07-01T00:00:00...
Or at Neil Hayward's blog http://accidentalbigyear2013.blogspot.com/2013/06/650.html
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, 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
Peregrine carrying Tern, with mob escorting.
Some pictures taken from the boat during the last few years
Sabines Gull, July 7 2010, @1 mile NE No Man's land.
Black-browed Albatross, July 15 '09 just north of Snippershan shoal,
Murres, Seal Island
Spring Great Cormorant
Immature Great Cormorant blessing young seal
Greater Shearwater, White sided Dolphin
Parasitic jaegar, common Tern, and Herring
Pair of Harlequin
Adult Eagle Double-crested Cormorant
Wilson's petrel, skating
Diamond Rock and Brimstone
Puffins at Seal Island
Ivory Black-back June 2012, adult Albino Black-back
Birders aboard Fluke, my old boat shes a 34' mahogany Irvin Jones built in East Boothbay,
Le Equipe de Seal Isle en board Skua mon nouveau vieux bateau.
Don, Terry, Bob and Louis aboard Fluke at Seal Island
Greater Shearwaer, Puffin majeur
Greater Shearwater, Pardela Capirotada
Corey's Shearwater Aug. 8 '12
Sunfish, chaser of jellyfish
Sunfish, aka Pez Luna
Sunfish near Skua, Ariel observing
Sei Whale, July 27 2011, Seal Island
Curious young Humpback Whale looming, SW of Seal Island
Humback Flukes, 20 miles beyond Seal Island.
Grey Seals squeeker guzzle Seal Island
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 Aug '09
Northern, or Red-necked Phalerope, July 2011 in the bay
Red Phalerope and three rednecks
Three species of Shearwater
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.