Worst Pelagic Trip Ever

I made my second attempt to visit Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine this week. On my first attempt last year, the seas were “the roughest we’ve had all season” and it was too foggy to see much on the way out. When we arrived at the island, it was deemed too rough to land, so we coasted back and forth in the lee of the island before heading back. We still saw lots of birds, but couldn’t get on shore for nice close looks.

So I was really looking forward to this year’s trip. The forecast was for calm seas and sun. But I am a magnet for rough seas. The ocean was angrier than last year and the fog was thicker. I caught a brief glimpse of a Wilson’s Storm-petrel on the way out, but that was it. We couldn’t land on the island (although it didn’t look that bad to me) so we cruised around looking at foggy birds.

Here’s a foggy Atlantic Puffin

a foggy Razorbill

a very foggy Common Murre

This is our view of the island. Believe it or not, there is actually a lighthouse, several buildings, and observation blinds here.

When we returned to the harbor in Jonesport, the sun emerged and revealed these harbor seals enjoying the beautiful summer weather. And so it goes. Perhaps, after enough time has passed to dull the memory of this trip, I will someday actually make it to the island and enjoy some face-to-face interaction with some Maine seabirds.

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