Puffin trips to Machias Seal Island - more puffins than anywhere in Maine!

** Plans for 2024 Underway **

Update December 22

We will begin accepting online bookings for the 2024 summer season on our website home page beginning Tuesday, March 5 at 9:00 AM EST.

Captain Robert A Cates will be returning along with our long time First Mate Abbey Jessiman and Anna Patterson.

2023 was a successful season, even with the challenges I faced and given the weather was more unsettled than in seasons past.

We look forward to seeing you for another puffin filled season!

For additional tour information please see our FAQ page for more details.

~ Renee Patterson


Dear Fellow Birder or Nature Lover,

Greetings I would like to invite you to join me on a visit to possibly the most remarkable bird watching destination in all of North America!

Machias Seal Island is a small (15 acres), low-lying rocky offshore island situated ten miles from Cutler, the closest point of departure on the mainland. The island is designated a bird sanctuary by the U.S. and Canadian Wildlife Service, and is also the site of a manned light station, maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard. Ownership of the island has been under dispute for many years, with both the United States and Canadian governments claiming sovereignty.

Each year, the island becomes the summer nesting home for a great number and variety of migratory seabirds including Atlantic puffins, Razorbills, Common murres and Arctic terns. Other species which are present during the summer months are Common terns, Black guillemots and Common eiders. In addition, seabirds such as petrels, shearwaters and gannets are frequently sighted on the water, and many other shore and land species are found on the island as well. Machias Seal Island is the largest puffin colony on the Maine coast, with thousands more birds than any other site!

Interested in a visit to Machias Seal Island? Here's what you need to know:

The price for the approximately five hour excursion is $250 per person. Additionally, a reservation service fee of 6% is charged by our provider for all online bookings.

Bold Coast Charter Co. is the only tour operator in the United States permitted to bring visitors ashore on Machias Seal Island, and spaces on our island landing tours are very limited. Only one tour is scheduled daily, reservations are necessary and almost all tours fully book well in advance.

In addition, access to the island itself is dependent on favorable sea conditions, which naturally cannot be controlled or reliably predicted in advance. Please note: Island landings are not guaranteed and sea conditions may result in only the opportunity to view the seabirds from the waters close by and around the island. Further, all tours are subject to cancellation in the event of unfavorable weather or seas. See our frequently asked questions page for additional details.

For the 2023 summer season, tours are scheduled beginning May 30 through August 6. Our limited tour availability is subject to change as booking requests are received.

Tour reservation information:

Spaces on the Machias Seal Island tour are quite limited and book on a first come first served basis. Due to the high demand for this tour and the limited capacity, we will be unable to accommodate everyone seeking a reservation. We regret this limitation and appreciate your understanding.

Advance payment is required to secure a reservation our secure online reservation system accepts all major credit cards. All payments are fully refunded in the event a trip is cancelled due to unfavorable weather/sea conditions. See here for our cancellation policy and for additional tour details.

Check out our listing of local accommodations as well as attractions and activities in our area.

Trips depart from Cutler Harbor see our area map & directions page.

Departure times vary each day due to weather and tidal conditions, but the majority of our tours are scheduled in the morning. Departure times can be as early as 7 am but a later departure is also a possibility. An email will be sent the day before your scheduled tour with the correct departure time.

Trips are conducted aboard the BARBARA FROST, a custom forty foot US Coast Guard inspected passenger vessel (heated cabin and restroom equipped), the fastest and best equipped tour vessel serving the area. Travel time to the island is approximately 45 minutes. Island sanctuary regulations limits the time actually spent ashore to protect the nesting seabirds from excessive disturbance.

Things to remember to bring are: Warm clothing (very important!), suitable wind or rain proof outerwear, sturdy footwear, hat, camera, binoculars, bag lunch or snack. Raingear is also a good idea if showers are forecast.

The outstanding natural beauty as well as the magnificent display of life which annually flocks to it makes Machias Seal Island a most unique birding destination. I can tell you a visit there will not soon be forgotten.

Hope to see you here on the Bold Coast soon!

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P.O. BOX 364
CUTLER, ME  04626
e-mail: info@boldcoast.com