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Machias Seal Island

Updated: May 22, 2022

Why a Wonder: Machias Seal Island is a wildlife and seabird sanctuary. Mostly known as a home to a large colony of Atlantic Puffins, it is also a haven for other seabirds such as razorbills, common terns and more. The island is the only piece of land that is still disputed between Canada and the United States of America.

Where: This tiny rocky, treeless island of only 18 acres is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, about 16 km (10 mi) southeast from Cutler, Maine, and 19 km (12 mi) southwest of Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick.

The island and its surrounding are fogbound for many days of the year, and is often subjected to strong winds and rough seas.

When: Tours to the island are typically offered from around late June to early August.

Access to the island is very limited. Only two operators are licensed to bring tourists to the island (one based in Canada, and the other based in the USA). These operators can only bring up to 15 tourists per day, 6 days/week, for a 6–7-week period.

Photography: Once you get off the skiff and step foot on the island, the guides bring you to a blind, where you have to stay put for your entire stay. After about an hour or so in the blind, they come and get you and lead you back to the boat.

Bring a telephoto zoom and a wide-angle zoom. You’ll appreciate the ability to zoom out to wider focal lengths, as the birds often come very close. You may also want to pack a super-telephoto lens, just in case you spot a whale on the way to or from the island.

After your skiff leave the island, the captain will bring the vessel close to an even smaller island, just minutes away from Machias. There you will see a large colony of harbor seals. The captain will slow down the skiff and make sure everyone gets a chance to snap some pics. Get your telephoto lens ready!

Learn More

Click here to learn more about Machias Seal Island.

© André Audet

This post sponsored by Adorama.

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