6000 Pairs of Puffins

Jill MacLean Author of Fiction for Children and TeensEleonore and Bruce, the friends I stayed with in the Netherlands, are back to Nova Scotia on vacation. Eleonore wants to go to Grand Manan, an island in the Bay of Fundy (world’s highest tides, a 40-foot vertical rise and fall).

Sounds like a great idea to me, so off we go. And again, the weather gods smile on us.

We kayak, watching the fishermen empty the sardine weirs (nets set up in a heart shape just offshore).

We take a whale boat to Machias Seal Island, a 90-minute trip, then transfer (carefully) to a much smaller boat and land on the island.

Why are we here? Because 6000 pairs of puffins breed here every summer.

Only 15 people are allowed to land at a time, and we’re marched straight to blinds, little sheds with windows.

The puffins are about four feet away. They look to me like Parisian models on a catwalk – sleek and elegant, but totally improbable.

They sound like lawn mowers.

We also see lots of razorbills. They growl like dogs.

Early in August, all the juvenile puffins, in the middle of the night, crawl from their burrows, head straight for the sea, and all the puffins disperse.

The show’s over until next year.

Put this little rocky island on your bucket list!

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The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden
Jill MacLean's latest book The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden , published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside and is available in bookstores and on-line!

This book is the completion of the Newfoundland trilogy which started with The Nine Lives of Travis Keating, followed by The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy.

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Jill MacLean's book Nix Minus One , published by Pajama Press and now available in bookstores!

Nix Minus One is geared for readers in Grade 7-8 and up.
Published February 15, 2013


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