Machias Seal Island
Machais Seal Island is located in the lower Bay of Fundy, approximately ten miles west of Grand Manan Island. The island is barely a mile long at low tide, and a few hundred feet wide. A lighthouse is located there and in the non-nesting season the only occupants on the island are the two lighthouse keepers. The lighthouse has been maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard for over 100 years.
It has been described as a very unique place to visit, and to the avid bird watcher, it is heaven. During the nesting season it becomes home to thousands of pelagic birds.The most noted species is the Atlantic Puffin, but other species such as the Razorbill Auk , and Common and Arctic Terns add to the viewing enjoyment. No matter where you stand on the island, you will see thousands of birds flying by. There are approximately to 5000 pairs of puffins, 1000 pairs of razorbill auks, and 500 pairs of common murres. Common and artic terns may be seen as well, they used to nest here, but in recent years they have not. Nobody understands why.Other birds which may be seen on the trip out to the island are Shearwaters (greater, sooty, manx), Wilson Storm Petrels, Phalaropes, Jeagers (pomarine, parasitic) Northern Gannet, Black Guillemots and Eider Ducks.
Access to the island is very limited. Sea Watch Tours is permitted to land 15 people a day, six days a week.
Sea Watch Tours is the only company in Canada with access to Machais Seal Island. Those who land on the island are taken by the first mate ( Durlan ), to an orientation area, where he will explain to you the rules and regulations of the sanctuary. He will be your guide while you visit the island. He will escort you to enclosed blinds where you can view the birds close up, the puffins will come within 3 -6 feet from your blind, lots of chances for great photographs.
The puffins can also be viewed from our skiff. This is a 16' outboard motor boat which is used to shuttle people shore. We'll take you around Machias Seal Island and call the puffins for you. After many years of dedicated observation, Captain Wilcox has learned to call puffins. Don't be surprised if one wants to join you in the skiff! Seals, being curious in nature, will make their presence known as well. After leaving the island, we'll visit a nearby seal colony for more great pictures!
NOTE: LANDING IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. Landing on Machias Seal Island requires physical agility. You must transfer from our 45’ vessel into our 16’ skiff and upon landing at Machias, you may have to walk across very slippery, seaweed covered, rocks to the footpath leading to the orientation area. Landing on Machais Seal Island requires favourable sea conditions.