Vinalhaven Island Excursion

This 1-day adventure includes a ferry ride across the bay to one of the areas largest working harbors. Explore the rich granite and fishing history, the rocky coastline landscape, and the working harbor. Strolling through the village, visit the historical museum, unique small shops with arts and hand made crafts, a print maker’s artist studio, a fine art gallery, and along the way be able to feel the pulse of the island community.

Covid update: Currently the Coast Guard has put restrictions on the ferry service to allow only 5 passengers per cabin. There are 2 cabins. Outdoor seating is at the discretion of the captain at the time of boarding, and I understand that no one has been left behind. 

We will be required to wear a face mask on the ferry, when mingling with others in the photo group, during our discussions, and when social distancing is not possible in public places. 


Chris Clarke’s printmaking studio. Photo by Steve McKinney.

2020 DATES (more dates may be added, call to request)

    • May 16 
    • June 6 
    • June 28 
    • July 5 
    • July 19 
    • July 28
    • Aug 5
    • Aug 8
    • Aug 15 ✵ Cancelled
    • Sept 8
    • Sept 19
    • Sept 29
    • or schedule a private tour for yourself or your group

Times: 10-6, meet at the Maine State Ferry Terminal in Rockland at 10am. Check back for additional dates or call to reserve a private tour to accommodate your schedule. For private tour rates go to the Private Rates page.

Rates: Adults – $135, Ages 11-17  – $95, Ages 10 or under – free but must purchase a ferry ticket. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. For paying participants, your fee includes ferry fare, tour, and photo lessons. Does not include lunch. Payment is by cash, check if you are registering early enough, or if you prefer, book online for an additional fee.

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More Info……

Photographic discussions will be on-site and will cover such things as camera settings, controlling exposure, framing, foreground/background relationships, point of view, and capturing the right moment.

Sharing images at lunch. Photo by Steve McKinney.

Our 75-minute scenic ferry ride across Penobscot Bay passes through Hurricane Sound, and The Reach. Scenery will include many small islands including Hurricane Island, Greens Island, and Potato Island. Expect to see marine wildlife such as seals, ducks, ospreys and bald eagles, and occasionally porpoises. We will go over some camera handling techniques while on the ferry. You’ll also have time to enjoy the bay scenery during the crossing. The ferry docks in Carvers Harbor, which is on the edge of the village and is home port for a large lobster fishing fleet.

A little history of the island

One of Maine’s largest quarrying centers from the 19th century, Vinalhaven granite was shipped off the island to be used in many places throughout the central and eastern United States. Building projects include the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City Customs House, Post Offices in Brooklyn, Washington, Buffalo, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Kansas City, the Washington Monument, and the eight huge columns for the nave of the Cathedral of Saint John The Divine in NYC, also other monuments, bridges, dams, private mansions, and more. The granite industry had ceased in the mid-20th century but the lobster fishing business is thriving. Currently, Vinalhaven has the most profitable lobster fishing fleet. For more info check out,

How to prepare

Since we are going to be carrying all that we bring with us for the whole day you’ll want to pack light, yet at the same time bring what you need. If you can, we recommend using a backpack instead of an over-the-shoulder bag.

Please wear good walking shoes. We will be on our feet most of the day. It will be easy walking, mostly on pavement, with the most demanding part being a few small hills.

Weather – This is a rain or shine (or fog) event. Dress accordingly for the weather, and dress in layers. It will be colder during the bay crossings. The ferry does have inside seating, however, if you want to photograph from outside while on the ferry we recommend that you bring a light-weight wind breaker or rain jacket, and a light sweater that will pack easily once you’re on the island.

Camera equipment – Any camera is acceptable, including smart phones and tablets. Make sure that your battery is fully charged and  that you have plenty of room on your memory card for at least a few hundred pictures. However, we do recommend having a second memory card with you, too. If you have a DSLR you may want to bring additional lenses if you have them. Tri-pods can be bulky and heavy but if you usually use one then certainly bring it along.

Food – We recommend bringing a snack, lunch might be on the later side, and definitely pack along some drinking water. The cost of lunch is not included in the price of the photo tour.

Suggested items – sun protection; sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, etc. We will be outside most of the day.

Warning – There is likely no cell phone reception on the island.

Once you have registered you will be given further information about the tour and how to prepare. Please call if you have any questions before or after registration.

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