Today we went on a car tour through Prince Edward Island and then we walked around a bit in downtown Charlottetown.
Our guide took us on a large loop around the center of Price Edward Island (PEI). If you think of the island as a U with the straight parts lopped off but fat in the middle, you have a pretty good idea of what the shape of the island is. It takes about 5 hours to drive from one end to the other. We drove around the right part of the “fat” part of the island. We drove north to the North Shore then along the shore before curving back around and driving back to Charlottetown.
The countryside was very pretty. Here are a few photos.
On the North Shore, we went to a few fishing villages. The fishing villages have existed for a long time and basically consist of small huts along a dock area. The huts primarily house repair workshops for the fishermen. Fishing and lobster, oyster and mussel trapping are huge industries on PEI and there are many old traditions around it. One that our guide told us about was that on the first day of the fishing season, the elder fisherman in the fishing village leads everyone out of the harbor in a procession before dispersing to set their traps.
The North Shore is also known for its beaches. Because of the Gulf Stream, the waters around PEI are actually fairly warm during the summer and many people go there to spend time at the beach. We stopped at one spot but the wind was so hard that the sand was flying up and hitting us in the face! We rapidly returned to the car.
Here’s a picture I took at a different beach where we were not getting sandblasted.
Anne of Green Gables
On our way back to Charlottetown we stopped at Lucy Maud Montgomery’s house, the house where Anne of Green Gables was based. I’m no fan of the series, so I won’t dwell on the subject.
After our tour, we went back to the boat for lunch and returned to the city to walk around. There are a few paths marked in paint on the sidewalks kinda like the Freedom Trail in Boston. We roughly followed the Historical Walk which took us past the most important historical parts of town.
The first stop on our tour was a beautiful church. Across the street was a nice row of what I presume are homes.
At the end of that street is Confederation Hall, the birthplace of Canada. It was in that building that the founders of Canada met to discuss becoming a nation in 1864.
We turned left in front of Confederation Hall and walked down Victoria Row, a pedestrian street somewhat like 16th Street Mall in Denver but much shorter (only one city block). Then we walked over through an older district of town with many nice, old houses.
Our last stop was Cow’s, a famous local ice cream store. They are famous for their chocolate covered potato chips and we tried to get a sample, but they didn’t give us one :(. We made up for it by getting some of their ice cream.
After that, it was time to head back to the ship, but before we got back, we walked along some of the boardwalk and got this nice picture of the ship.
Dinner with the Captain’s Parents
The evening was very similar to the other evenings, but we had some very interesting table mates at dinner. We ate with the ship captain’s parents. We figure that we are related because their last name is O’Driscoll and they are from Cork, Ireland. We have relatives on mom’s side of the family from the same place.
The father was a captain himself. He worked on fishing boats. His wife is a farmer.
They have a very deep Irish accent, so much so that it was difficult to understand them at times. It often sounded like they were speaking German instead of English. English is a Germanic Language, so likely the English dialect in Ireland has been influenced less by French through the ages. It has also probably retained a bunch of the Celtic influence (Celtic is another Germanic Language). (Linguistics is a very fascinating study, you can really learn a lot about history by examining the similarities between languages.)
Going Under Confederation Bridge
During dinner, we were approaching Confederation Bridge, a 13 km (8 mi) long bridge connecting PEI to mainland New Brunswick. When we got close, the captain’s father and I went up to the top deck and watched us sail under the bridge. While we were up there, I got some great pictures of the sunset and of Confederation Bridge.
Meeting the Captain
Near the end of dinner, Captain Noel O’Driscoll, the captain of the ship, came by to say hello to his parents. We were introduced to him and had a nice conversation. During our conversation we asked him how much clearance we had under Confederation Bridge. He said two metres (6.6 ft). For a ship of our size, that’s not that much clearance. In fact, they had to lower one of the ship’s antennas to be able to pass under safely. I was able to get a picture with the Captain and his father.
At the tail end of dinner there was a beautiful sunset. These pictures really don’t do it justice.