Ghosts and Gastronomy in Canada's smallest Province
Part Two

The crossing to PEI took only 75 minutes but it was like entering another world. The rain stopped and the sun came out. We stopped at the tourist information and, like a mirage, a liquor store appeared next door. Normally, as a relic of prohibition, liquor stores are built as far out of town as possible and the staff are trained in advanced surliness. PEI however is known as the holiday island.

Camping at Brudenell Provincial Park, PEI, our ...

... base for sailing in Montague - see chart above.

We drove to a pleasant campsite at Montague where we were almost the only campers at Brudenell Provincial Park. What a change from the 1960's when the site would have been almost full. Jim had sailed here before and knew that we could launch and keep the boat at the marina. This is luxury Wayfarer cruising!


Montague Marina

A PEI courtesy flag was required. Montague was scoured but only a king size version was available. It would have made a nice bedspread. We found a small printed one in the $1 store, it would have to do.

The Montague River is beautiful. We had to motor against the wind as the river estuary gradually widened and shellfish farms (above) started to appear. They are seen as an array of small floating buoys set out like mine fields. They make motoring very difficult; sailing can be next to impossible. These huge aquaculture farms (mussels, oysters, clams etc.) are the local answer to the collapse of the conventional fishing industry, but they do mess up the sailing.

Panmure Island at the mouth of the Montague River - see chart above

It had been a cold day's sailing and we fancied a curry.  The advantage of campsite cruising is that supermarkets are never far away. We stocked up on curry ingredients. Chicken curry with mango chutney and pappadums were prepared and consumed. Due to over-ordering, some extra spicy pappadums were left over. We decided to leave these for the raccoons.  During the night there was a time of great squealing and crashing about. Next morning all the pappadums and all of the extra hot salsa had gone (even the jars had been opened). We decided that either they liked it or thought they had been poisoned!

I attempted to photograph the raccoons with the usual lack of success. Jim was rather more circumspect. It turns out that, on one of his trips, he went out of the tent to shoo off some raccoons only to find that he was surrounded by skunks. This could have been bad news. If you are sprayed by a skunk, the only thing that gets rid of the smell is to bathe in tomato ketchup!

The next campsite was at Campbell's Cove on the north coast of PEI.  We arrived in sunshine and were the only ones there. "Would you like some crab meat?" asked the owner. Our dinner plans changed immediately and we feasted on fresh snow crab sandwiches.

Camping Park at ...

... Campbells ...

... Cove

We had an invitation to go crab fishing but this involved an 0430 start. We declined. Why do crab/lobster fishermen have to start at such an unearthly hour? We think that this is a macho thing that involves big 4x4 cars, revving engines and generally tough stuff.

Sailing in this area is generally exposed so we went for a bike ride. (is this still OK in a sailing mag., Mr Editor?)

St. Peters Bay ...

... bicycling Confederation Trail

St. Peters Bay ...

... Greenwich Dunes National Park

PEI used to have a railway running the length of the place, but it went bust. It is now a superb cycle track. We had an excellent ride on hired bikes and I ended up with a sore bum. There was a rather good fish shop on the way that sold us fresh haddock and mussels. The fried haddock and moules mariniers were our tea.

From here we drove to Charlottetown, the Provincial capital, to buy charts and guidebooks and thence to Malpeque Bay.

Malpeque Bay:

... Green ...


Here, strong winds curtailed our sailing plans and, other than a day sail, we concentrated on museums and hiking.

Lennox Island, Malpeque Bay: Barrier beach sheltering the bay from the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the distance.

Confederation Bridge which links PEI to the province of New Brunswick

Our way home was via the bridge to New Brunswick. It is the longest bridge in the World across water that freezes. Despite the marketing hype it is a seriously long bridge. It has freed PEI from the restrictions of the ferry and brought it into the 21st century.


This cruise has not been like our previous ones. On the minus side, I have missed the adventure, wild camping, need for self-reliance, navigation skills, etc. On the plus side, we have enjoyed more sailing rather than motoring, better food and camping facilities, and a generally easier life (we are getting older!).

Allan Parry  W7556 Dylan
----- Original Message -----
From: jim fraser
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 7:10 PM
Subject: Wayfarer cruise


... Prince Edward Island is a pleasant island to vacation on.  I have trailered my Wayfarer to PEI on two previous years plus I have gone there on cycling/camping vacations by myself or with the family.  The Confederation Trail is a well maintained cycling trail which stretches over most of the island and it is always close to good sailing spots. Many of the bays and rivers of PEI are encumbered with mussel farms which can make sailing difficult at times though.

I recommend the Eastern coast of PEI from Murray Harbour to Souris and the north shore behind the barrier beaches from Alberton to Malpeque Bay as interesting cruising areas for visitors with Wayfarers.  The bays behind Prince Edward National Park such as Tracadie, Rustico, and New London Bay might be interesting also, but this section of the coast is where the tourists congest and I avoid the area to camp.

Two helpful books for visitors with a cruising dinghy are:
  • Harbours & Marinas of Prince Edward Island by Sam Cioran
  • Paddling Prince Edward Island by Bob Gillette

Best wishes

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