Posts Tagged ‘puffins’

I’m crossing off two days at once here because Day 6 was spent on the road and as I’m going through all of our zillions of photogs, it appears that nobody shot any on Day 6 (GASP!!).  But hold on to your undies, kids, cuz Day 7 is totally gonna make up for it.

Well, it will after we get the map out of the way…(Oh stop!  You know you love the map!  Geez!)

Map

Day 6 took us from Point D (D is for Dildo…c’mon…you remember this…) to Point E which is a spot called Holyrood.  We chose this place to camp for two days for a bunch of reasons, the first of which was that it offered us a chance to visit with our wayward friend, Wanda.

Wanda came to our campground (Blue Fin) under the lure of a campfire weenie roast.  Who could resist that?  Not Wanda, obviously.  Sadly, it was rainy and freezing, so we had to ix-nay the eenie-ways.  We huddled up inside the trailer while our friend regaled us with hilarious tales of her recent assimilation into Newfie society.  I guess you’d call her a Nouveau Newf, but she is still a work in progress.  So far, she’s managed to twang her long I’s but she has yet to master that odd H business.  

Wanda, girl, if the massage thing doesn’t work out, please consider stand-up as an option.  This ole world needs more laughter.  XO

The next morning, Shari, Bob, and I set out to explore.  We had a 1:30 reservation with Gatherall’s for a Puffin (!!!) and Whale Tour.  In the meantime, though, we had poking about to do.

One of the things we encountered was a small herd of Newfie Mutant Mallard Ducks.  They were unlike any mallards I’ve ever seen before.  Aside from their physical modifications, they were all sound asleep right beside (almost on) the road!  In fact, we had roared right past them before I managed to yell, “Stopppp!!” (Which is code for “I saw something interesting and I’m gonna leap out now and shoot several thousand photogs of it.”)  And, how the heck do you fall asleep standing on one foot right beside the road anyway?  You’d think the cars whooshing by would topple them, wouldn’t you?  It’s just weird, I tell ya.

Later on, after a lovely lunch of I-can’t-remember-what, we headed on over to Gatherall’s for our wee boat ride.  If you happened to be along on last year’s adventure to Maine, you’ll recall that I go a little off my stick when it comes to puffins. I can honestly admit that there has been no improvement in that area.  I can try to be cool about it, but it just bubbles up and explodes.  There’s a lot of grinning involved…and worse.

Happily, there weren’t very many people in our group. Happilier, almost immediately one of the crew spotted a humpback whale.  It was hilarious trying to get a shot off while clinging to the railing for dear life, not to mention that by the time you see the blow, it’s waaaaay too late.  The best I could do was this lovely blowhole shot (I know! I’m amazing!):

JDSC_0356ARShari had a bit more luck:

SDSC_0830RSo did Bob:

BDSCN1483RUnfortunately, this beautiful creature was just cruising and not eating or playing, so no action shots. Still…a humpback! How cool is that?!

On our trip to Maine last year, I was beyond excited about the twenty or so puffins we’d seen.  On this tour there were thousands of them!!  I was in puffin heaven!  Still and all, the lil rascals make it nigh on impossible to get a decent shot – for footballs with stubby wings, they sure can move!

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I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that it finally stopped raining!  The bad news is that this has happened just in time for us to go home.  Happily, our last day in Maine was spectacular, both weather-wise and fun-wise.

I know I’ve been a little vague about The Great Puffin Quest.  My reasons for doing so may seem odd to you, but, like that California Condor business, “See puffins” has long been a Bucket List item for me.  I was loath to jinx it by saying “we’re gonna go see puffins!  Neener neener!” just in case the whole thing went to hell like the whale-watching plan did.  I think I can speak for us all when I say that nobody likes to end up looking like one of those dorks who brags about all the stuff they’re gonna do and then end up with nothing but a handful of lamo excuses.

Anyhoo, the thing about puffins is that the little wheezers only come ashore for a very brief time each year to…er…well, y’know…beget puffinlets upon each other and whatnot.  When they do this stuff, they don’t really want us to watch, understandably, so they hide.  Most of this hiding goes on way out in the ocean on little rock-pile island-ettes.  As you might surmise, this makes the whole “See puffins” thing a tad dodgy as Bucket List items go.

For some reason, I had been under the erroneous illusion that one could simply arrive in Maine and say, “Yo, Where’re the puffins at?” someone would point, and we’d all live happily ever after.  Sadly, this was not the case.

The first roadblock came when we arrived in Maine initially (early last week) only to learn that the puffin tours weren’t scheduled to begin until June 13th, and that there would be only one tour per week (!!) for the course of the puffin mating season.  I feel we adapted rather well to this news:  I pouted pathetically and Bob rearranged our entire trip…once his query of “Do we really need to see the stupid puffins?” was met with…let’s just call it “hostility” and leave it at that, shall we?

So, already long story slightly less long, we headed over the border, as I mentioned in my last post, with the aim of being back in Boothbay Harbor (ha-bah) by Tuesday so that we’d be in plenty of time for the Wednesday morning puffin tour.

Unbelievably, it was STILL raining in Maine upon our return.  But, I was determined to see those pesky puffins so I checked and double-checked the weather.  No matter which website/TV channel I checked, the verdict was the same:

Precipitation:  Oh hell yeah!

Probability of it stopping:  In yer dreams, Skippy!

Boating conditions:  Sea – rough;  Waves – bring a barf bucket (it actually said that!) (I’m lying…again…)

Additional weatherisms:  FOG!  Visibility:  Nil to nada, with periods of zilch.

Perfect.

Now, I’ll have you know that I’m no weenie.  I’d have been willing to barf for the cause, but I sure as hell am NOT barfing if all I’m gonna see is fog.  My disappointment was complete.  Until…

I had begun to think that those puffins would just have to stay on the stupid Bucket List a while longer when Bob looked at me and said, “Well, there must be other puffin tours…”  You’re probably wondering why this had never crossed my mind.  I know I was…

La-la-long yadda-yadda-short, we found a tour going out last evening from a little harbor just up the road called, imaginatively enough, New Harbor.

You’ve been very patient (assuming you actually read your way to this point, and, if so, bless your heart!), so without further ado or inane babblage from yours truly, I give you….  PUFFINS!!

(Hiding among a pack of killer black guill…mumble-something-or-others)