Whales, Puffins, and Family

By Mark

 

Last weekend we helped my dad fulfill one of his bucket list items.  He wanted to visit Maine and do his part in combatting the great lobstah invasion.  It had been about 50 years since he had visited.

The adventurous travelers

The adventurous travelers

 Sarah, my sister Donna and my daughter had never visited.  This was my third trip so my sister put me in charge as "the minister of fun".   My first victory was scheduling the perfect weather for the trip.  We had clear blue skies, 75 degree days and cool nights. 

We choose Bar Harbor as our destination. It is quite a scenic little town and offers a lot of things to do and see.  

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor

Since my dad is getting a little bit mobility challenged, we spent the first day driving through Acadia National Park. I believe it is one of the prettiest wilderness areas in the country.  Cadillac Mountain is also the highest point on the East Coast. 

It truly is the spot where the first rays of the sun hit the United States. This is great, until you realize that takes place at 0430.  The road offers great scenic views of Jordan Pond and outwards towards the horizons.  

Jordan Pond

Jordan Pond

Making our way down to the pond itself we got to see little streams of sunlight highlighting things which we might otherwise miss.

On Saturday morning we got up early and headed down to the docks for the early morning “Puffins and Whales” tour.  

We headed out into the Gulf of Maine and cruised north, heading past Winter Harbor until we reached the lighthouse on Petit Manon Island. 

We could see lots of birds—terns, razorbills and puffins. Even though the captain took the boat in pretty close to the shoreline, the birds are pretty small.  Good thing the D800 has got such great resolution which enables us to actually see their bright orange bills. 

Did you know there is a Puffin song?

Did you know there is a Puffin song?

We turned South by Southeast and sped out about 20 miles off the coast.  Folks, even though it was July, when you combine the sea air and the fact that you are traveling about 30kts, it gets darn chilly out there.  Luckily we all were dressed warmly, but some people around us were wearing shorts or sun dresses and looked frozen.  The boat has a naturalist onboard and she clearly loved her job.  She led the way in searching for the whales in the old fashioned way—spouts and tails on the horizon.  We first spotted a pair of Finback whales.  

This species is very fast and sort of thin, I mean for whales at least.  They don’t have to come out of the water to dive, so what you observe is in fact their backs and their fins. 

After a while, the captain heard from some tuna fishers that they were seeing humpbacks, so we headed further out to sea.  When most people think of whale watching, these are what they have in mind. Tails, spouts, fins and magnificent rolling backs as they feed.

.  I am happy to report that the Minister of Fun was fully successful and all of us enjoyed the expedition.  Oh, between Dad, Cassie, Donna and I, we dispatched our fair share of lobsters.  Sarah ensured that the bovine population didn't get too overconfident.   

Lobster boats waiting to refill our plates. 

Lobster boats waiting to refill our plates.