Sea Watch Tours
(established 1969, Canadian Coast Guard approved)
What we now know as "Sea Watch Tours" began almost four decades ago -in the
early 'sixties! My dad, Capt. Preston Wilcox, was awarded a service contract
by the federal government to maintain and service all aids to navigation in
the Grand Manan area. One aspect of this contract was to take the mail,
groceries and supplies to the lighthouse keepers and their families located
on Machais Seal Island. Just as it is now, it was then home to a
large colony of Atlantic puffins, Razorbill Auks, and Arctic and Common
It wasn't long before people were asking my father if they could go along
with him on the maintenance run so they could view the birds. At first
there were just a few requests, so he took them for free. Eventually he
began charging three dollars as there seemed to be more and more people who wanted
to go to Machias Seal Island.
Also, around the same time, there was a doctor from Ontario, who brought
his family to Grand Manan each summer for vacation. He would hire my Dad to
take him out on Pelagic trips and family picnics. I used to tag along on
some of these trips because the doctor had a son who was the same age as
me. My Dad knew the local names for all the seabirds, and he began to
learn their real names. For example: sea pigeons - guillemots, haglings -
shearwaters, sea geese - phalaropes and the list goes on. From a love of
nature and a willingness to share it with other, Sea Watch Tours began.
As the years have come and gone, the service contract is long gone. The
island still has two lighthouse keepers, but all maintenance is carried out
by helicopter. The puffin trips are no longer just once in awhile, but have
become daily tours during the summer nesting season. There has been such
demand in the last decade that the Canadian Wildlife Service has taken over
the operation of the sanctuary and has limited the number of visitors each
day to Machias Seal Island.
Over the years many tour companies, non-profit groups and individuals have
relied on Sea Watch Tours for a memorable and high quality tour. One
particular group will be coming for their 24th. consecutive year - a
testament to our quality and reliability.
In the early seventies whale watching began in earnest in the Maritimes.
We had an abundance of marine life in our own backyard that we were willing
to share. As demand grew we began to take excursions out to view the
whales and pelagic birds. People came from far and wide to view these great
mammals of the deep as attention was given to show their plight and
devastation in years past. We are proud to have a part in educating the
public about these creatures, their habitat, and needs for survival.
In 1980 the name "Sea Watch Tours" was chosen for our business. Until then it had remained nameless, or as most locals called it, "Preston's
Tour". As more and more people began to make Grand Manan a part of their
vacation plans, the demand for educational and high quality tours grew
faster than it ever had before. Until this time my father had managed
the business with the help of my mother answering the phone and making
reservations, and my help when work would allow. In the mid- eighties I
left my job as foreman of the provincial park to work with my father
Almost two decades have gone by and the business has been passed
on to me, to maintain and surpass what has taken place in the past.
As each year goes by we endeavor to add new ideas and programs that
will enhance what we have to offer you. As in the beginning, our aim
is that you will be more than satisfied with your tour. We want to
help you have a great holiday experience!
For more information, contact us at;
Sea Watch Tours
P.O. Box 505, Seal Cove
Grand Manan, NB, Canada
Tel: 506-662-8552 * Fax: 506-662-1081
or E-mail us:
This page designed by - Miramichi NB Canada - 506-773-7963
Revised Dec 1 1999