Article in: Travel
July 19, 2012
All aboard the Friendship V for the Puffin and Whale Watch Tour in gorgeous Bar Harbor, Maine! Hours of fun in the Gulf of Maine searching for seals, eagles, porpoises, dolphins, offshore birds, lighthouses and North Atlantic Puffins…oh and whales! …well, no whales. BUT – worth it anyway. The Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. will give you free tickets to keep coming back until you get your whale sighting. Not that we need incentive to return to Maine!
Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. — The Friendship V
Our tour left at noon and the puffin (whale) search was on. Our narrator, I am afraid I don’t remember her name, pointed out lighthouses and discussed the types of mammals and birds we might see.
We really moved it out. It was chilly but the scenery was incredible! We reached the island of Petit Menan, part of the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge, and slowed way down. This area is part of an awesome and critical place for birds including the Atlantic Puffin. It is one of the most important islands in the Gulf of Maine for colonial nesting seabirds.
The National Audubon Society’s Project Puffin has successfully reintroduced Atlantic puffins to the island by transplanting chicks from Newfoundland, Canada, and hand-raising them.
Then…there they were! Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Common Murre, Arctic and Common Terns – ALL LIFERS for the lot of us. It was hard to take photos (oh, to have an awesome camera!) but we had great looks at everything.
We had a great trade for not seeing whales. We were able to travel farther out in our search to Mount Desert Rock, where in coorperation with the U.S. Coastguard and Allied Whale, the College of the Atlantic does seasonal marine mammal research. Tons of Harbor and Gray Seals filled the island.
We could not have asked for a better trip, aside from maybe a few whale sightings. Three more lifers were added in flight during the trip: Sooty and Great Shearwaters and Wilson’s Storm-petrel. It’s amazing how well you can view a bird from the boat as they fly.
Afterwards, we walked all over Bar Harbor’s downtown shopping area and ended up at Stewman’s Lobster Pound. Mom had her very first whole lobster and it was a great way to top off a spectacular day!