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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 Terns. 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 full-time.

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
E5G 4M5
Tel: 506-662-8552 * Fax: 506-662-1081
Toll-free: 1-877-662-8552
or E-mail us:

Crew of "Sea Watcher" | Customers | Find us | General Info. | Goals | Grand Manan | History | Photo Gallery
Puffins/Machias Seal Island | Rates | Whale/Seabird watching Tours | Whale Watching "Code of Ethics"

This page designed by - Miramichi NB Canada - 506-773-7963

Revised Dec 1 1999