Whales-n-sails Adventures will not be sailing in 2016. Sea Watch Tours continues to provide both Whale Watching Tours & trips to see the Puffins on Machias Island. Top of the Island Boat Tours contninues to sail out of North Head. You can also go sea kayaking with Adventure High, explore the outer islands with Grand Manan Guide 1 Services, Top of the Island Boat Tours and Island Bound Charters Grand Manan According to the GMTA web site, you can always ask individual boat owners at fishermen's wharves the length of the island if there is a specific place to want to go to or to see from the ocean. See the bottom of the page for contact info.
Sea Watch Tours - Machias Seal Island Puffin Tour & Whale Watching Tours
If you have that nagging feeling you have already met Captain Peter Wilcox and First Mate Durlan Ingersol, they were part of Rick Mercer's "lobster fishing adventure" a few years back! The Machias (Match-EYE-us) Seal Island Tour gives visitors an unparalleled view of one of Grand Manan's most famous birds, the puffin. Sea Watch runs both Whale Watching and Puffins tours - the latter runs only for a limited period in June and July, and can only accommodate a limited number of people each day to avoid disturbing the puffins during the nesting season on their sanctuary island.
As part of the tour, you also get to see the south eastern side of the island from the water - extraordinary views of the Flock of Sheep geological features and Southern Head, as well as hundreds of seals on their own island on the way back - and you get to experience a long tour on the sea as well - it's a good 4 -5 hours to Machias and back (including your time on the island itself).
There are approximately to 5000 pairs of puffins, 1000 pairs of razorbill auks, and 500 pairs of common murres. Common and arctic terns may be seen as well (they used to nest here, but in recent years they have not). You are transferred from the "Day's Catch" on a small motor boat, and get to spend 45 minutes in a blind in the midst of the Puffins burrows.
The historic light house is also a feature of the tour, as is the informative talk given by the UNB researchers who live on the island in the summer months to study all the birds which nest there.
The sights can only really be appreciated with the sounds! First video is focuses on the puffins and razor bills; the second includes views of the lighthouse on Machias Island as well.
Whales-n-Sails Adventures - will not be sailing in the 2016 Season
Whales-n-Sails provided an unforgettable experience. It was my first time on a sail boat, and thanks to the fact we had enough wind the day we went out, it was an inspiring few hours in wind and waves.
And did we see whales! Huge Right Whales, the more sleek Finback and Humpback Whales, and the smaller Minke - along with seals, porpoises and sea birds a-plenty. A calf suckling its mother clear as day, three Right whales along side the boat, blowing in sequence, whales breaching ... the list is endless. And we learned an enormous amount from both Laurie and Alan, who patiently answered everyone's questions.
I can't say much about my ability to photograph the sea part of the experience ... I was part of the large group who went "oooo" when the whales leapt out of the water, and was part of the "click,click,click"group, capturing the event somewhat after the whales submerged again. I'll be better prepared next time! Their web site has many photographs to see and videos to watch and Allan has provided Mananook the images below.
This was WAY better than the Nature Channel. Our first time out on the Elsie Menota, but certainly not our last.
In 2012, we also took the Sunset Cruise around the northern end of the island to Indian Beach. The water is so deep, we stayed very close to land, and got extraordinary views of Hole in the Wall, Seven Days Work and Ashburton Head. We also had the opportunity to see a Right Whale - and of course, sunset - a great experience affording highly unique views of the island, even for some of the Grand Mananers on board!
A unique view of Seven Days Work - you just can't get this from the Ferry crossing.
Right Whale sighting - we followed it for half an hour, with just sails - the motor tends to make them shyer, it seems.
And sunset reflections (with some island education on how to correctly pronounce "weir"!)
Grand Manan Sea Tours & Rentals
Sea Kayaking Adventure Tours with experienced guides exploring the coastline of Grand Manan. No experience required: they will teach you the basic strokes and make sure you enjoy a safe comfortable trip.
Boat Tours & Charters out of North Head, Grand Manan. $60.00/adult, $50.00/children under 12. Sightseeing, 10 am - 1pm and 2pm to 5 pm Mon - Wed/ Fri & Sat; Sunset tours 7 pm - 10 pm Mon - Sun. Campobello I sland ($85) 10 am - 3pm Thurs & 10 am - 3 pm every other Sun.