1 I often drive my Hinckley Picnic Boat to the islands near Seal Harbor to look for seals sunning themselves on the rocky beaches at low tide.
2 One very popular place nearby is Bunker's Rock, right in the mouth of Seal Harbor. Seals congregate there at low tide, sunning themselves and resting happily in between feeding.
3 In the distance, one can easily view the beautiful profile of the Mt Desert terrain.
4 Little Duck Island is well known for its large population of harbor seals, also known as "the common seal". We slowly approached this group to have a closer look. Because the Picnic boat draws only 18 inches, I easily eased it towards the rocky cost of the islands to get a really closeup view of the seals.
5 Unlike many other varieties of pinnipeds, harbor seals are characteristically solitary and rarely interact other than to mate. However, they often "haul out" in loosely organized groups. These groups may include both sexes and all ages and even other varieties of seal.
6 "Hauling out" is a behavior associated with pinnipeds, where they temporarily leave the water to haul out, or relax on land, between foraging activity.
7 Other reasons for hauling out include, mating, giving birth, predator avoidance, thermal regulation and rest. Please observe the vast numbers of seals on this rocky coast - not an uncommon occurrence.
8 Harbor seals generally do not touch each other when hauled out. They maintain a space between them of several feet.
9 If touched by another harbor seal, they respond with aggressive growling, snorting, flipper-waving, head-thrusting, scratching, and even biting!
10 While on land, harbor seals rarely move once they find a comfy spot. They turn their heads frequently, however, to watch for potential danger. When alarmed, harbor seals will quickly rush into the water.
11 Jude spotted a very large one resting alone on a rock mass.
12 A very large one indeed! Adult harbor seals can grow to a length of 6.1 feet and weigh as much as 375 pounds!
13 Pups are born well developed, capable of swimming and diving within hours after birth. New born pups can weigh up to 35lbs at birth!
14 I am always amazed at the utter beauty of the islands and their rocky coastlines.
15 We spotted some Black Guillemots, also known as "sea pigeons", along the rocky shoreline which is laden with seaweed.
16 These pretty birds are close relatives of puffins and razorbills, and are known for their distinctive black plumage, white wing-patches and deep red colored legs.
17 They are very common to Little Duck Island because of the prolific rocky shoreline, where they prefer to nest.
18 They are such beautiful birds and I managed to get some picturesque shots of them.
19 We also spotted some Great Black-Backed Gulls, which are very new to the island and are being closely watched by environmental groups because of their aggressive behavior toward other birds.
20 All around the islands, in water deeper than 50 feet one can spot the foam buoys of the local fishermens' lobster pots. As a boater I'm always comforted by the sight of these buoys, knowing that the water is deep enough for my boat to navigate safely.
21 Not only are there hundreds of lobster pots along the coastlines of the islands, there are also huge flocks of native sea birds.
22 A bimini or sun shade cover is a wonderfully effective feature of my picnic boat. At 36 feet in length, this boat is very maneuverable, easy to drive and a delight to ride in. It has two comfortable bunks, a galley, a head, and all modern technology for easy navigation.