Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Special Maine Lighthouse Cruise this Saturday, Sept. 24!


Great Duck Island
Join COA faculty and local historians for a lighthouse and seabird history tour.

BAR HARBOR, ME—Maine’s outer islands hold many secrets, and its lighthouses are packed
full with stories. But there are an equal number of stories within the nests and burrows of the many
seabirds that shelter their young on these same islands—just ask John Anderson, College of the
Atlantic faculty member in biology.

Join Anderson and a host of his colleagues from 2:30 to 5:30 on Saturday, Sept. 24 for a benefit Lighthouse and Seabird History Tour. Proceeds will assist the college’s Marine Studies Program, and help with lighthouse and building renovations on Great Duck Island.

In addition to Anderson, the William H. Drury Chair of Ecology and Natural History, COA alumni, faculty, and staff Matt Drennan, Toby Stephenson, and Scott Swann, naturalists and natural storytellers all. Additionally, local historians Richard Sassaman and Zack Klyver will be aboard.

Each island has its own dramatic tale. Take Great Duck Island, one of COA’s two research stations. Its original boreal forest has been inhabited by waves of humans, from fishermen and farmers, to therapists and natural history researchers. And then there are the birds. Each summer Great Duck’s rocky fringe is home to hundreds of nesting auks, gulls, and ducks. Just beyond this granite shore stands a dense forest where, at the base of spruce trees, hoards of storm petrels burrow into the forest floor. Recently, eagles have been vying for space and dominion over this small island. Beyond the life-and-death dramas of birds and humans stands the abiding beauty of the island. As Stephenson, COA’s marine captain, notes, “The bold coast of Great Duck is back-dropped by the mountainous views of Acadia, the most majestic vista possible.”

Among the highlights of the cruise are the lights of Bear Island, Great Duck, Baker Island, and Egg Rock, in addition to Cranberry Island Life Saving Station and Thrumcap Island.

The journey will be aboard the Bay King III or Friendship V, of the Bar Harbor Whale Watch fleet. There’s a rain date for Sunday, Sept. 25. Feel free to bring lunch, though the snack bar, with snacks and drinks, will be open. The cost is $30 adults; $10 for those 14 and younger. Space is limited. To reserve seats, participants are asked to call the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. at 207-288-2386. A $5 reservation can be placed on a credit card with the rest to be paid in cash or check before embarking. Meet the boat at Harbor Place, 1 West St. in Bar Harbor.