Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Trip to the Magdelan Islands

My mom, my sister and I set out early the next morning. We left a little later than we intended so we had to race to the ferry in Pictou that would take us to PEI where we were to get another ferry to the Magdelan Islands. We made it just as they were loading. The sail to PEI took under 2 hours and since we had a few hours to spare before getting on the next boat, we decided to explore PEI a little. We first stopped at a lighthouse museum and gift shop and than took some pictures. We than drove for a while and took in some scenery and got lost a few times before stopping for lunch in Montague. We reached the ferry with a bit of time to spare but still took our places in line and waited patiently. This ferry ride was much longer at over five hours but the boat had all the comforts one would expect on such a long sail. There were Several restaurants and cafes, a gift shop, many resting areas, several outside decks and a movie theatre. It was in the movie theatre that we remained for most of the trip. I took a nap for a few hours and when I awoke, I made my way to the outside deck with the others. We were surprised that we were in sight of land already. We were quickly approaching Entry Island, the first island and the only one that stands alone is not attached to any other by a causeway. The island looked uninhabited and was covered with green valleys and rolling hills. Soon, we were at the main port on the main island and it was almost dark when we drove off the ferry. We drove straight to the campground where we already had reservations. We quickly found a nice lot close to everything and set up camp for the night. The next morning, we awoke to a surprise. The wind had gone up and our tent was starting to cave in on top of us! We immediately got up and secured it before it got worse than we showered and prepared breakfast. By the time we had finished eating, the tent had completely collapsed with all of out things still inside. We tried picking it up but it just toppled again. Finally, we had to move it somewhere else out of the wind. We now knew why everyone else had trailers and we were only ones with a tent. The only place we could move it to was in the cook-house. We figured no one would mind. After all, our tent troubles were no secret around the campground. Everyone saw us struggling to keep the tent up and I’m sure they found it quite comical. The only problem with the cook-house was the floor which was concrete and we had no mattresses. A small sacrifice to at least not have our tent fall on us and suffocate us in our sleep! We set up the tent and continued with our day. We decided that since it was our first day on the islands, we would just sight-see, visit a couple of shops and have supper at a local restaurant. We drove the entire length of the main highway that spread across the islands one way and than drove across the other way. We made many stops along the way. We stopped to watch some people who were parasailing at a beach.

We stopped at a few shops and bought some souvenirs and received the history of Sealing on the islands from a lady who sold seal-skin clothing for a living. She was also an actor in a show she was doing that evening and she invited us to attend if we were in the area. Than we stopped on the side of the highway and climbed the giant sand dunes to see what was on the other side. Once we got over them, the most beautiful sight stood before our eyes! A long, deserted, white, sandy beach that stretched as far as the eye could see! More beautiful than any beach I had seen down South in Florida or anywhere else. We walked in the soft sand until we sound just the right spot to prepare and eat our lunch. We reluctantly left the beach, vowing to return the next day. Our next stop was the wharf in Fatima where we bought some delicious Ice Cream and watched the going ons at the docks. The sun was starting to go down when we finished eating so we found a nice place by a lighthouse where we could take some pictures and relax before heading back to camp for the night.

We returned to camp and while washing our dishes for the next day, we met some people who were taking a zodiac tour to Entry Island the next morning. As they were explaining the tour to us, the idea grew on us too and it was decided that we would go. The Zodiak left at 9AM so after a good night’s rest, we woke up early and made our way to the docks. The only problem was it was extremely windy and raining. We debated for a while on whether it was a good idea to go but in the end the thought entered our minds that we would never have the opportunity to do this again so we suited up in the rain gear and boarded the crowded Zodiak to the only Island in the archipelago that was separated from the rest. Once we were out on the open water, the rain and wind had no effect on us as we were traveling to fast and water was spraying everywhere anyway. We bounced over waves for about an hour and stopped to watch some dolphins and learn about some of the different birds that were swarming around us. We continued towards shore but first we circled around the island. What spectacular sights we saw. Huge, rocky cliffs with rolling, green hills and cows and horses grazing top and awesome rock formations that jutted from everywhere, creating caves and caverns, a few of which we were able to navigate the Zodiak into. Than we made our way to shore and began our Entry Island Adventure. It was still raining pretty hard so we decided to leave our rain gear on. Our first stop was the small café by the docks. We sat in and had some French fries and coffee. We were surprised that everyone spoke English there. All the other islands were mostly French-speaking. We inquired a little and found out that, for some reason, Entry island has always been only inhabited by English-speaking people. After our little lunch, we walked the main road into the interior of the island. Our next stop was a small museum about the history of the island than we walked towards The Big Hill that we were told we should climb because of the view from the top. We made it half way up and decided that it was too windy and we were too tired to keep going. We stopped and took some pictures as the view from only half way up was beautiful than we started back towards the docks. Along the way, we grabbed some Ice Cream cones and than made our way back to the Zodiak that took us back to the main island. That evening, we drove around for a bit and stopped at a Tim Horton’s for a snack. Between the three of is, my French was the best so I was designated to place the order. I did well since the girl who took my order had no problem understanding me and she got our order right. After the long day we had, we returned back to camp and slept like babies. The next morning, the wind finally dies down enough for us to move our tent back outside. Later, we went back to try and find that beach we had found a few days earlier but we couldn’t find it. We tried climbing the sand dunes at various locations along the long stretch of highway but to no avail. All we found were more sand dunes that just kept going and going. We found a café and ordered some Poutine which, by the way, was much different than the Poutine back home and much tastier! W relaxed for a bit and, fortunately, enjoyed the sun while it was out because by mid-afternoon, the skies opened up and it rained for the rest of the day! There wasn’t much else we could do so we went shopping! We started at one end and worked our way down to the other end, stopping at every little Shop. We found some really good deals on clothing and souvenirs and we also visited a couple of museums and learned a lot about the geography and history of the islands. Then it was back to the campground to pack up and get ready to say farewell to the Magdelan Islands. We boarded the first ferry to PEI the next morning and met up with the ferry to Nova Scotia just in time. We made it home at around 10pm and I went straight to bed. My sister, on the other hand, had to begin packing to go the Newfoundland to gather some things and prepare to meet me in Calgary to visit our other sister in early September.

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