Enjoy the beautiful waters and scenery of Bristol with our ferry services between New Harbor and Monhegan Island!
PUFFIN WATCH WITH NATIONAL AUDUBON
- Adult Ages 13+
- Youth Ages 2-12
- Child Under 2
- Dog Fare Must be leashed or kenneled.
- Group Minimum of 30
- Peak Season Pricing applicable from July 1-Labor Day
Puffin Watching Tours in New Harbor
New Harbor is only 5 miles from EER making it the closest, easiest and most convenient way to see these fascinating birds. You spend less time traveling and more time with the birds. On the way to the EER you will see Franklin Island Lighthouse, Monhegan Island, the islands of Muscongus Bay and a spectacular view of the Camden Hills.
National Audubon Project Puffin naturalists are aboard each evening to narrate, help with bird identification and answer questions throughout the trip. Dr. Stephen Kress, who founded Project Puffin in 1973, will occasionally join us as well. He is currently the Director of the Seabird Restoration Program and Vice President for Bird Conservation at the National Audubon Society.
PUFFIN POPULATION: As of 2019, there were 188 nesting pairs of Puffins at EER.
SIGHTINGS: The boat circles EER at a distance of 40 – 150 feet from the rocky shoreline. Puffins are frequently sighted on the water and often seen 25 – 30 feet from the boat.
CAPTAINS: – Our team of experienced captains have decades of experience with EER. They are keen birders and have a broad understanding of Project Puffin.
VESSEL: The HARDY III has a 360 degree unobstructed view from the upper deck. The lower deck is enclosed to keep you warm, dry and out of the sun.
THE THREE BEST REASONS TO CHOOSE HARDY BOAT CRUISES FOR YOUR PUFFIN WATCH:
1) While other companies may have longer trips, most of that time is spent steaming out to Eastern Egg Rock and not with the birds. New Harbor is a short 20 minute trip to Eastern Egg Rock and on the way there you will have magnificent views of Pemaquid Lighthouse, Franklin Island Light, Monhegan Island and the Camden Hills.
2) We are a primary boat for National Audubon and Project Puffin. We have a 35 year relationship and the people working to sustain the population of Atlantic Puffin and the other seabirds of Eastern Egg Rock are your narrators. They will give you first hand experience and share the most current information about the status of their restoration project on Eastern Egg Rock.
3) When you purchase tickets with Hardy Boat Cruises, 10% of your fare goes directly to Project Puffin. To date we have contributed more than $200,000 to the effort. So, you can have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve really helped these amazing birds and feel good about where and how you’ve spent your hard earned dollars.
RESERVATION INFORMATION : Please call us if you would like to book a Puffin Watch after August 20th. We run our Puffin Watches as long as possible and most years the Puffins are around into the 4th week of August.
SEASON: We open in mid-May to accommodate our serious birdwatchers who have come to rely on us to get them out to the islands for the Spring migration. Our Puffin Watches will end when the birds have migrated. This usually occurs around the end of August. With an expanding population and individual variation, the Puffins have been known to stay through Labor Day.
DURATION: 1 1/2 hours
NARRATION: National Audubon Project Puffin naturalists are aboard each evening to narrate, help with bird identification and answer questions throughout the trip. Dr. Stephen Kress, who founded Project Puffin in 1973, will occasionally join us as well. He is currently the Director of the Seabird Restoration Program and Vice President for Bird Conservation at the National Audubon Society.
PARTNERS IN CONSERVATION: 10% of each ticket sold is donated to Project Puffin to help continue their important work. As of June 2021, Hardy Boat Cruises has contributed more than $200,000 directly to Project Puffin.
“I am proud of the partnership that Project Puffin and Hardy Boat Cruises have developed. Since 1986, Hardy Boat Cruises and Audubon naturalists have worked together to bring people close to the birds while providing fun and inspiring narrations about the puffins and other seabirds of Eastern Egg Rock. By donating part of the proceeds from each tour to Audubon, Hardy Boat Cruises is helping to insure a sustainable future for this special seabird colony.”
~ Stephen Kress, National Audubon Society; Founder and Director, Project Puffin
PROXIMITY TO EASTERN EGG ROCK (EER): New Harbor is only 5 miles from EER making it the closest, easiest and most convenient way to see these fascinating birds. You spend less time traveling and more time with the birds. On the way to the EER you will see Franklin Island Lighthouse, Monhegan Island, the islands of Muscongus Bay and a spectacular view of the Camden Hills.
WHY 5:30PM?: As evening approaches, the adult Puffins begin to settle down from the day long ritual of feeding their hungry chicks. They spend time socializing while loafing on the rocks or rafting together on the surface of the water before retiring to their burrows. This activity change, combined with the evening light, make it the perfect time to see these birds. Our Noon time trip also offers excellent views of the Puffins as we know there are more than 400 individuals on the island and any number of juveniles that are around waiting for their first breeding season.
EASTERN EGG ROCK (EER): The migratory seabird colony on EER is protected during the breeding and nesting season. No people, other than Project Puffin biologists, are allowed on the Island. The boat will circle the island for about 40 minutes.
OTHER BIRDS AT EER: Other birds found on EER are: Common and Arctic Terns, the endangered Roseate Tern, Black Guillemot, Common Eider Duck, Herring Gull, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Laughing Gull, Northern Gannet, Wilson’s Storm Petrel and Double-Crested Cormorant. Occasional sightings include: Surf Scoter, Razorbill (frequently seen in May and June), Greater Cormorant, Purple Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstone, Greater Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Black Tern and Parasitic Jaeger.
ARRIVAL: Please arrive at the dock 45 minutes prior to departure.
BE PREPARED: Dress appropriately. We suggest dressing in layers. Remember the weather on the Maine coast is changeable and can feel quite cold even in the middle of Summer. Warm blankets are available.
WHAT TO BRING: Bring binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. Binoculars are also available to rent.
GALLEY: Coffee, tea, healthy snacks and home baked goodies available.
PARKING: Paid lot per day, per vehicle and payable CASH ONLY. No credit cards or personal checks are accepted. For multiple day and overnight parking, the parking fee is payable upon the first day of parking. Parking is located around the corner from the dock in a large grassy field. Upon paying for your parking, you will receive a parking validation. You will need to present your parking validation at the dock to collect your boat tickets (peak season only). Please feel free to drive down to the dock to unload passengers and luggage before leaving your vehicle in the parking lot. The walk back to the dock is about 5 minutes. During the Spring and Fall, parking is payable at the ticket booth on the dock. The parking lot can accommodate buses, campers, RV’s and trailers.