Sailing Safaris Offer Unusual Wild & Sea Life Encounters
Mid-coast, MAINE – While it’s possible to travel halfway around the world to catch a glimpse of exotic wildlife in its natural habitat, it’s also possible to enjoy large mammals, predators, and raptors much closer to home. Here on the coast of Maine, abundant wildlife is just a short sail away. And seeing this wildlife is easy as climbing aboard, relaxing and watching the breathtaking scenery sail past your traditional sailing ship. Maine windjammer guests experience the wildlife native to the coast of Maine the way it was hundreds of years ago… uninhabited and traveling in harmony with weather, wind and tide on board one of the eight Maine Windjammer Association fleet vessels.
The experienced captains of the Maine Windjammer Association – the largest fleet of working windjammers in America – keep their eyes peeled for wildlife sightings, pointing out larger animals splashing in the water, loping down a beach or skittering back to the woods after being glimpsed at the shoreline. All the while, gorgeous and often unusual pelagic birds call to each other and circle the skies above.
In addition to being master mariners, practiced storytellers, maritime history buffs, and sail training experts, the Maine Windjammer Association captains are deeply knowledgeable when it comes to Maine’s flora and fauna. What’s more, they are committed to preserving Maine’s pristine environment, and they demonstrate the principles of Leave No Trace before every shore visit. Thanks to the strong stewardship efforts of windjammer guests, captains and crew members, Maine’s islands are much the same as they’ve always been.
And because these sailing vessels don’t disturb the environment with loud engines, wildlife is far less likely to scatter when approached, giving windjammer guests singular access to wildlife sightings. Curious seals and porpoises are not afraid to swim close to the vessels under sail. It’s not uncommon to witness seal pups at play as the windjammers quietly slide past their nurseries. Respectful distances are always maintained, but close-up views are awe-inspiring and plentiful.
There are many reasons to keep binoculars on hand when enjoying Penobscot Bay, but here are the top ten:
TOP WINDJAMMER WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
- Seals Guaranteed!
More big wet Labrador than elusive marine mammal, Harbor Seals have big brown eyes, long whiskers, and they love to bark. They bask in the sun on ledges as windjammers sail silently past and their frolicking pups entertain windjammer guests.
Penobscot Bay is on the Atlantic Flyway – from the Artic to the Caribbean and back twice a year, guests aboard Maine’s windjammers have the pleasure of witnessing the great migration in spring and fall and are likely to see species such as the black-capped chickadee, and various species of woodpecker, duck, goose, merganser, eider, hawk, warbler and scaup.
- Whale of a Tale!
Though whales are more elusive, windjammer guests do see them now and again and special whale-watching cruises takes guests offshore to breeding grounds where finbacks, minkes and pilot whales can be spotted. Many guests take advantage of the American Eagle trip to Canada every summer, where guests have regularly sighted the endangered Northern right whale.
- Glory of Eagles
The bald eagle is an American success story. Once on the brink of extinction, the eagle has made a comeback and windjammer captains regularly point out the treetop nests, and the mating pairs circling the smaller islands on the hunt. And it’s not just eagles: osprey, hawks and other migrating pelagic species populate Maine’s summer skies to the delight of windjammer guests.
- Loon Tunes
During the season, they make their way toward open water and call to each other in gorgeous, haunting tones as guests are lulled to sleep by the gentle lapping of small waves against the hull.
- That’s a bird? I thought it was a clown!
Every spring and summer, the “Clowns of the Sea” aka, puffins, make landfall to breed and raise their young. As a result, windjammer guests occasionally see them in passing, and some of the captains offer special “puffin-scouting” cruises that include a sail offshore to a puffin colony.
- Deer Me!
Maine’s deer can be found all over the state – even on islands where their ancestors swam out at some point. Large bucks, gentle does and spotted fawns are reclusive and breathtaking for the guests who spot them.
- Porpoises, not dolphins!
Porpoises are usually found in small pods of up to 12 playing in a windajmmers wake. Distinct from their southern cousins, these marine mammals are playful, curious and unforgettable.
- Lobster Tales
Ah, the lobster. Wandering in and out of traps on the seabed, the lobster is iconic Maine and whether spied in the marsh grass or on the plate, this is one native that you can’t miss.
Ursus americanus can be found throughout Maine and while they tend to be very reclusive, you never know when a well-timed glance at the shoreline will reveal one of these pudgy fellows lumbering along in search of a field of berries to sample or a tree to climb.
If you’re eager to view wildlife in its natural environment on your next vacation, then consider sailing aboard one of the eight vessels in the Maine Windjammer Association. Departing from Rockland and Camden, Maine, every cruise is a “sailing safari.” Trips are available from May to October, and range from weekend getaways to six-day sailing adventures. Prices start round $700 per person, including all accommodations, meals and priceless memories while at sea.
For more information, contact the Maine Windjammer Association 1-800-807-WIND or check out the website at Sailmainecoast.com. For media information and to schedule a press trip on board one of the Maine Windjammer Association vessels, please contact our PR department at pr@SailMaineCoast.com.
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