Friday, March 10, 2006

Tip of the Island: Maritime Travels 8 Out of 12

You can see the outline of our travels pretty well on the map: from the ferry landing at Woods Islands west to Charlottetown, then north to Cavendish and North Rustico Bay, then further north to Alberton, from which we traveled to the North Cape and West Point.

When we left Cavendish, our plan was to explore as much of the upper west end of the island as we could cover, and that's exactly what we did. We purchased a map and I think we hit almost every gravel and dirt road on that portion of the island.

As far as accomododations were concerned, we had definitely saved the best for last. The
Northport Pier Inn provided luxurious accomodations and excellent dining on the edge of a small fishing village. The first thing we saw off our bedroom deck was the Sandhill Lighthouse, located on a small island out in the harbor, which immediately became the focus of intense longing on my part. A deserted island with a lighthouse ~ how would we get there?

Between an enthusiastic desk clerk and a matronly guest holding forth in the parlor, we were able to lay out a plan for the next couple of days. The desk clerk insisted that we head down to the dock for dinner in the hope of seeing a tuna boat come in. She was bubbling over with the news of one that had arrived a day or two earlier and, seeing our blank stares, burst into a peal of laughter as she recalled the baffled hotel guests whom she had urged down to the docks that day.

"I guess they couldn't understand what all the excitement was about," she said. "But a tuna can weigh 600 pounds, and watching the arrival of a successful tuna boat is quite a sight." I started to laugh, too, my knowledge of tuna being limited to Charley of Starfish commerical fame. She explained that a tuna could be worth $15,000, but was quick to point out that a crew might fish all summer without catching one. Life in a fishing village is not easy; she herself, preferring the pace of the island's edge to the bustle of Toronto, held three different jobs, and was concerned that her son was thinking about taking on the hard life of a fisherman.

In addition to sending us out to dine, she directed us to the North Cape for our after dinner sunset quest. She was eager for us to get an early start -- apparently at low tide you can walk far out into the Gulf on a sandbar that stretches north from the lighthouse. We didn't quite make it before the tide rolled in, but we did make it for the sunset itself. The glint off the red rocks of Prince Edward Island was dazzling, the fifteen or so windmills staggered just behind the point were eeerily beautiful in the dusk, and the moonrise behind the lighthouse was the perfect cap to the evening.


emmapeelDallas said...

I feel as if I were there with you...and in fact, I'm going to save a copy of this, because I'd like to go there, this is my kind of place! A deserted island with a would we get there? My thoughts, exactly. And 15 windmills, and a

Wonderful account.


LightYears2Venus said...

Your daughter is lovely! The tuna tale was eye-opening--I'll appreciate that can even more now. "Moonrise Behind Lighthouse" ...I'm sighing with admiration at your skill in capturing a magical moment.