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Machias Seal Island

2009.08.08
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I took a boat trip in last month to Machias Seal Island to photograph the puffins. I used Bold Coast Charter Company out of Cutler, Maine, and booked in February. Of course, one of the only days it rained while we were on vacation was the day of the trip. Capt. Andy cancelled the 7 am departure and told us to check back around 1030. Luckily, the rain had stopped and we just had fog and high waves to deal with. He decided to make a go of it, and away we went. We started out of Cutler Harbor and passed by the Little River Lighthouse. After we entered the Atlantic out of the harbor, things got a little rough. I'd say 5-10 foot waves. He had to go slower than usual and the 45 minute trip took a little over an hour. No big deal for me, I did not take any motion sickness meds and was fine. The other 9 passengers were also ok. We get out to the island, which has a manned lighthouse (manned by the Canadians), and the waters are still a little rough. Capt. Andy made the decision not to go ashore which totally devastated me. But, we then came around to the landing side of the island and things were smoother. Capt. Andy reluctantly changed his mind and decided to try to land on the island. Let me tell you, getting out of the big boat and into a small row boat when they are moving at different times and heights against each other in rough surf was a bit tricky. I did fine, and so did the others, but the potential for disaster was there. Anyway, away we go to the landing. We get off and Capt. Andy has to make several more trips to get everyone onto the island as we all could not fit into the smaller boat at the same time. I was on the first landing, so I had some time to photograph while standing around and being buzzed by 3,000 pairs of puffins, not to mention the razor-billed auks and common murres. It was awesome. I took my Canon 5d2, 40d, 500/4 (which I only used outside of the blinds - it was not needed inside as the puffins are on top of you), 24-70, and 70-200, 400mm lenses. Inside the blinds I used my 70-200 on my 40d and the 400 on the 5d2. Puffins were close enough that I could not focus on the closest ones. they were everywhere. I had 6, 8gb cards, too. Anyway, after everyone landed, we were escorted to a central meeting place and given instructions. We were all able to get into different blinds at the same time as we had a small group. And we got to spend over an hour in the blinds as the puffins were every where. From just a few feet away to several hundred feet away. And they are so FAST. Trying to photograph them in action really takes some patience. After our hour was up, we regrouped and reboarded the Barbara Frost. Capt. Andy took us by a ledge that was lined with seals. Not the first time I have seen seals, but every time I do see them I am in awe. As we made our way back to Cutler Harbor and passed the Little River Lighthouse, we finally made it back into port. What a great trip and experience. All in all, I took over 1,100 photos just on this trip alone... I hope you enjoy them. Some others are on my flickr site, www.flickr.com/photos/mrickard5/sets/

Thanks for looking.
12 Comments
Maartii fantastic:)
Maartii · 2009-08-08: 15:02
dontblink What a wonderful set. I think you definately used your hour well. Amazing,
dontblink · 2009-08-08: 15:18
Lynda Love the puffin shots
Lynda · 2009-08-08: 16:47
mrickard Thanks!!
mrickard · 2009-08-08: 17:35
????? That's one of the best sets I ever saw. I'll favorite something so that I can come back and look again. Its hard to chose which impresses me the most, these are all so wonderful!
????? · 2009-08-09: 23:59
????? The Puffins look like worried little people with their hands behind their backs!!
????? · 2009-08-10: 00:00
slowpete wow set love the colours
slowpete · 2009-08-11: 02:23
DancingDolphin Puffins!!! Beautiful photos of them!

I must tell you my own Puffin story: Years ago when in England, our son most wanted to take a boat out into the ocean to see the puffins. Off we went only to find that the puffins had left the island a few weeks earlier... imagine that, they didn't even tell us! We were terribly disappointed. I'll send him your link! Thanks for sharing.
DancingDolphin · 2009-08-23: 10:12
mrickard Wow, I would have been very disappointed too.
mrickard · 2009-08-23: 15:06
Karol I can't believe thaht someone can do such shots! I,m so proud that You are my friend on photoblog :D
Karol · 2009-08-24: 14:58
mrickard Thanks for the very nice comment, Karol!!
mrickard · 2009-08-24: 15:19
vterezia lovely set , THANKS FOR SHARING .......#9,#19 added in my faves !!!
vterezia · 2009-09-26: 05:20
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Views: 329
Category: Wildlife
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Tagged: boat murre auks billed razor birds canada maine ocean atlantic puffins island seal machias
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