Welcome to Shearwater Excursions and the Shearwater Family. Founded in 1999, we are a local family-run eco tour company dedicated to providing unique tours to individuals and families of all age groups. From small kids to grandparents, we have trips that cater to your needs and taste for adventure. Whether you take a short, leisurely tour around Nantucket Harbor, or a longer adventure exploring the realm of the great Whales offshore, we promise you an exceptional experience.

Our customers frequently ask what the meaning is behind our name. The business is named after Captain Blair’s favorite bird, the Shearwater. Shearwaters are routinely spotted on our offshore Whale Watches, the flagship excursion of our company.

If you don’t see a tour that fits your needs, we can customize one just for you. Feel free to call us to set up your ideal trip!

We look forward to meeting you and having you onboard one of our Excursions.

The Perkins Family


Captain Blair Perkins has been licensed by the US Coast Guard for more than three decades. His experience as a commercial fisherman, boat captain, and as a naturalist spans more than 40 years on Nantucket Island and he compliments each tour with local flavor and extensive knowledge. “I am thrilled to be able to offer Nantucket visitors and naturalists the opportunity to see the wild beauty of Nantucket which is rarely observed from the confines of everyday life”. Blair has gained his knowledge from his many interests which include helping researchers with their various projects, birdwatching, sailing, scuba diving and surfing. In the off-season, Blair is a commercial scalloper.


Captain Max Perkins is the oldest son of Shearwater Excursions’ founders, Rachael Perkins and Captain Blair Perkins. Having, literally, grown up crewing on the many boats that his father has owned/operated, Max has evolved into an exceptionally talented and responsible captain. Like his father, he has become fixated on his natural surroundings. His knowledge of Nantucket Island and “gift of the gab” allows for a memorable and entertaining cruise. As are all our Captains, Captain Max is licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard and certified in CPR and First Aid. In the off-season, Max is a real estate broker at Keller Williams for Boston-Metro in addition to refereeing soccer at a professional level.

Photo by Kevin Korn


Alex has been First Mate aboard the Shearwater since he was 11 years old. Early on, Alex was featured on Chronicle and in several magazines because of his unusual job at such a young age.  Alex obtained his Captains license within the past year and has been enjoying piloting the Adventure Excursions with his brother Max. Through the years, Alex has followed the entrepreneurial sprit of his parents by developing some of his own businesses. After graduating from college with a degree in engineering, Alex has moved to his other favorite island and is working as a Sustainable Engineer for the Center For Sustainable Development in Eluethera, Bahamas.


Renee is the communications “expert” for Shearwater. She helps to keep the various social media accounts looking as good as they do. On top of that, Renee works on the dock and as crew on the Shearwater or for her brothers wherever help is needed. Currently a business major in college, Renee is sure to have valuable input for the company in the future.


Rachael Perkins, co-founder of Shearwater Excursions, is the “hard drive” of the business and handles everything from reservations for all the varied Excursions to event planning to being a personal concierge . If you have booked an Excursion with Shearwater then you have talked with Rachael! From May through October she can be found under the big blue umbrella on Straight Wharf, greeting customers and answering questions. Please stop by to say hello!

In the off-season, Rachael scallops commercially with Blair, in addition to being a property manager. Rachael and Blair also develop products for their small company Grey Lady Gifts.


Captain John Stobaugh is the only non-family member on our team. John spent most of his formative years on Nantucket, teaching sailing at Community Sailing, and renting bikes for Young’s Bike Shop, so he knows the island well. Nowadays John follows the sun and splits his time between Culebra, Puerto Rico, and Nantucket.

From May through October you can find him piloting the Minke on Straight Wharf, and/or crewing on the Shearwater. In the winter, John has his own snorkel business in Culebra called WildEye. If you are in Culebra and want to go snorkeling, look him up.

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