Friday, August 28, 2015

8/28 Nature Boat Tour, Bar Harbor, Maine

The early part of this week was foggy and dreary, with rain all day Wednesday, so it was very pleasant that yesterday and today turned out to be sunny and very pleasant.  I figured it would be a great day for one of the boat tours offered out of Bar Harbor because I would miss weekend crowds.  (Schools do not start here until after Labor Day, so there are still lots of families traveling.)

Much to my surprise, there were two big Holland America cruise ships in this relatively small town today:  the Maasdam and Veendam, each holding about 1,200 passengers!  Luckily I had a reservation and most of the cruise line passengers seemed to be taking the whale watching trip. 

This is the Maasdam.

And here is the Veendam.  The harbor does not have room for such big ships so they had to use tenders to transfer passengers back and forth.

One thing I learned on this tour was how Bar Harbor got its name.  See the sandy area in this photo?  It is a sand bar that blocks part of the harbor at low tide.  You can walk out onto it, and you can just barely see the people on the far side of the bar.  The tide is as much as 10 feet in this area, so most of the time boats can pass over this bar, but they do have to be careful.  Also, if you decide to walk out onto the bar, you have to make sure you get back to shore before the tide comes in or you will be stranded on the island to the right and need to be rescued for a fee.
Leaving the harbor.

The next few pictures show the big mansions along the shore.  Nice places to spend the summer. 

While most of these homes are older, this one is new. 

No mansions in this photo; just showing you the rocky shoreline of Acadia National Park.

What does NOT show up well, is that the tour boat is going past thousands of lobster buoys.  They are everywhere, but since the boat is a catamaran propelled by jets of water instead of regular propellers, they don't get tangled in all the trap ropes.

A couple of days ago, I posted some photos of Thunder Hole.  This is what it looks like from the ocean.  You can see here that it is not only a crack in the rock, but there is a cave at the end that makes the booming noise and spray of water.  Unfortunately, this is low tide and there are no big waves.  It must really be impressive in big storms! 

This is a lobster fisherman checking his pots.

Part of the tour was going to Egg Rock.  It got its name because it is a bird nesting area and eggs were collected here a long time ago.  It is managed by the National Park service as a bird and seal sanctuary.  During early summer, a lot of puffins nest here, but not very many nesting birds this time of year.  There were still a lot of gulls hanging around.

The guide said these were mostly harbor seals, with an occasional grey seal.  

This is the Egg Rock Lighthouse, obviously.

Another private island with a sturdily built stone cabin.

This is a privately owned island which is also managed by the park service.  There is a house, but it is seldom occupied. It has a huge solar power array on a large area of the roof.

Some colorful kayakers and more lobster traps.

There is a young eagle sitting in the tree in the middle right of this photo.

Back at Bar Harbor.  Most of these boats are lobster boats, by the way.

These guys were unloading and loading stuff.  Did not see any actual lobsters, but lots of traps on this and on other boats.

It was a nice tour, and just about the right length for me.  Headed back home via the shuttle.  Tomorrow will be a catch up on work and laundry day.  I leave on Sunday morning for Saint John, New Brunswick, so I am looking forward to that.  I have really enjoyed my 8 days in Bar Harbor, but it is time to move on to new things to see.

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