It was a 3 hour tour…a 3 hour tour

Just sit right back and you’ll hear tale

A tale of that fateful trip…..

…5 passengers set sail that day

on a 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour…..”

Ah Gilligan how I missed you on that cruise. Remember how the Minnow was lost? Little did I know what an adventure lay ahead of me as I stood in line to board the tour boat.

The sun had burned off the fog and haze and it was a beautiful afternoon. The sea was calm, what more could anyone ask for. Well maybe a bigger boat?

There were 2 boats tied up to the dock as I stood in line. One was a fair-sized boat with  a sign “Nature Tours”.

The other was a smaller boat. I took a picture of the larger boat thinking that was the one I would be on…wrong it was it’s smaller cousin the Islander. About that time the theme song from Gilligan’s Island began to play in my head. This tour was supposed to be around 3 hours…a 3 hour tour…

What a happy little group we all were as we motored out of the harbor past picturesque islands, the water a sparkling blue. On board with us tourists were the Skipper, his mate, and a naturalist/guide.

We no sooner left the protection of the harbor when the seas began to roll and chop. Spray off the bow had me soaked in no time and that water was cold! I noticed many of the other passengers heading inside. I thought it was to get warm but in fact that was where the main mass of tourists went to share their misery…seasickness! Oh boy, it was not a pretty sight.  So far I was hanging tough but even as cold as I was, I didn’t want to press my luck by staying where I was surrounded by barfing , green faces. At least the sun was still shining…for now.

We slowed down as we passed Bear Island with  a very pretty lighthouse. Then picked up speed again to head for another island that was several miles out to sea. This island, known as Petit Manan Island, also had a lighthouse and this was where we hoped to find the Puffins.

The farther we went from land the rougher it got and more and more passengers retired to the “sick” room. Then the fog rolled in. The Gillian’s Island song started playing in my head again! 🙂 Louder this time.

Finally we spotted the island. The skipper brought us in as close as he could safely go and dropped anchor and there were the puffins. My they were tiny! Only about 10 inches and they were almost lost in the surf but there were so many of them.

They were on the land, in the water and in the air. Along with the puffins were laughing gulls, arctic terns and a few other sea birds whose names I have forgotten. On land and at a distance they made me think of penguins.Naturalist/guide broke away from his nursing duties long enough to explain that this island was the most southern point of the Puffin’s range. They don’t do well with any sea gulls except the laughing gulls so a few years ago the scientists removed all of the gulls, dug holes for puffins to nest in and put fake puffins around the island. Then they broadcast puffin calls.

The first year a few puffins stopped by to investigate but didn’t nest. The next year a few pairs came and they stayed this time. Now there is a thriving colony large enough that it can protect its territory  from gulls and other invaders.

It was soon time to head home. I didn’t get the ” National Geographic Shot” but at least I saw real live Puffins.

I learned about them and about another location where you can actually go on the land to see them. Sounds like a plan for another time. Heading back we were going by one last island, Egg Rock Island, where there were seals and possibly eagles.

So anchors away! Let’s get this ship turned around!

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