Cutler: Puffin Trip to Machias Seal Island

Friday, May 26:  Noon – 5 pm

Saturday, May 27:  1 – 6 pm

Boat Captain: Andrew Patterson

Guest Guides: Chris Bartlett on Friday, Woody Gillies on Saturday

Fee: $130  

Machias Seal Island has the largest Atlantic Puffin colony along the Maine coastline. Your trip from picturesque Cutler Harbor to the island aboard the Barbara Frost will take about 60 minutes; you should have over two hours on the island, weather and sea conditions permitting. If you are able to go ashore, you’ll have up to 45-60 minutes in a blind with puffins all around you. The rest of the time on the island, you’ll be on a ground-level, open-observation platform.

If you are interested in alcids, this is your trip. Avian occupants during late May include thousands of Atlantic Puffins, as well as Razorbills and Common Murres. Arctic Terns and Common Terns have also historically nested on the island but recent years have seen a decline in these species. Black Guillemots, Common Eiders, and of course gulls are other likely sightings. Additional seabirds, such as Northern Gannet, Black-legged Kittiwake, shearwaters, and storm-petrels, are possible. Bald Eagles and seals are spotted regularly. A camera and binoculars are musts. You may also want to bring a snack and a bottle of water.

Wear sturdy footwear. Transfers to and from the island require a degree of physical mobility and surefootedness. Once at the island, landing conditions will be slippery. Landing is dependent on calm sea conditions and is at your own risk. If the boat is unable to land, the captain will cruise around the island affording an excellent opportunity to view the island’s birds. Landing and going ashore will be at the Captain’s discretion. Your safety will be his first concern.

The Barbara Frost, a 40-foot Coast Guard certified passenger vessel, has a restroom and an enclosed heated cabin. Bring warm clothing nonetheless.

If the trip is canceled due to poor weather, you will receive a full refund.

Where to start: Cutler is located on Rt. 191. You can reach Cutler by traveling south/east from Route 1 in East Machias, or by taking Rt. 191, north off of Rte 189 between Whiting and Lubec. Once in the harbor area, look on the water side of the road for the blue street sign marked “Wharf Road" as well as a white sign marked "Little River Lobster Co."  This is the town landing. Park along the road or in the small landing parking lot and meet your captain, Andy Patterson, along the water at the boat ramp.

Please dress warmly and in layers.

For GPS navigation, the precise coordinates of our tour departure point are:
Latitude 44.65768
Longitude -67.20724