Archive for Prince Edward Island

East Coast Road Trip

Day 134: August 26 – Prince Edward Island

This morning I was looking forward to picking up a rental car for a few days and do a quick scoot around the East Coast to some of the areas that were a bit further out of the way from my intended route and I felt needed to be checked out while in the area.

Before picking up the rental car I somewhat hesitantly asked the folks at the Comfort Inn in Amherst whether they had a safe place for my bike for a few days.  They were very receptive to this request and offered up some floor space in the electrical room.  Much better than taking the bike apart and fitting it in the car!

After a surprisingly smooth process of picking up the rental car and packing all my gear into the car I was off to PEI via the 12.9km confederation bridge which connects the island to the mainland.

The Confederation Bridge to PEI

The Confederation Bridge to PEI

My first stop in PEI was Summerside – a cute little town on the south coast where I picked up a salad from Wendy’s and walked along the waterfront boardwalk for about an hour and checked out the wharf area.  After Summerside I headed to Cavendish on the north coast.  I’m sure most people know this is where author Lucy Maud Montgomery was raised by her grandparents and is the background for the Anne of Green Gables novels.  I can’t say I’ve ever read the novels, or watched The Road to Avonlea TV series (that I can recall) however I’ve heard the scenery in this area is spectacular, so I had to check it out.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The red rocky/sandy cliffs and ocean views are spectacular.  I spent about 4hrs checking out different little pockets in the area, hiking and in some cases just sitting around taking in the view with the sound of the water as my music!  I also did a super quick (about 15min) tour of the Avonlea Village where my main highlight was stopping for a COWS ice cream – voted best ice cream in Canada by Reader’s Digest.

A view of PEI's red sand

A view of PEI’s red sand

Farmland across the water

Farmland across the water

Harbour in Summerside

Harbour in Summerside

The wharf in Summerside

The wharf in Summerside

Walking along the boardwalk in Summerside

Walking along the boardwalk in Summerside

Don't these cows have a great view?

Don’t these cows have a great view?

The home Lucy Maud Montgomery grew up in

The home Lucy Maud Montgomery grew up in

An afternoon spent in Cavendish

An afternoon spent in Cavendish

Cavendish cliffs

Cavendish cliffs

P1040365P1040371

Evidence of the cliff erosion

Evidence of the cliff erosion

Awwww - this is peaceful

Awwww – this is peaceful

Dash and I soaking up the view

Dash and I soaking up the view in Cavendish

P1040380P1040385P1040388

Watching some kids ride the water

Watching some kids ride the water

P1040402

Still in the Cavendish area

Still in the Cavendish area

A flock of black guillemot

A flock of black guillemot

A closer view of the black guillemot

A closer view of the black guillemot

P1040411

Dunes in Cavendish by the beach

Dunes in Cavendish by the beach

Dunes

Dunes

Forested area in Cavendish

Forested area in Cavendish

Cavendish Beach

Cavendish Beach

Water temperature of 18 degrees - almost as warm as the air temperature of 22 degrees!

Water temperature of 18 degrees – almost as warm as the air temperature of 22 degrees!

Dash an dI taking a walk through the forest

Dash an dI taking a walk through the forest

P1040427

The school Lucy Maud Montgomery went to

Belmont School – where Lucy Maud Montgomery taught from 1896-97

Avonlea village

Avonlea village

After leaving Cavendish I headed to Charlottetown, checked into my hotel, grabbed some dinner and quickly fell asleep.

Inland PEI

Inland PEI – on my way from Cavendish to Charlottetown

Day 135: August 27 – Halifax

It was about a four hour drive from Charlottetown to Halifax, my first destination in Halifax was MEC for my final major supply re-stock of the trip!  And I really didn’t have much to pick up, just one more dehydrated food dinner and a handful of protein bars, energy gels and energy jubes.  It was good that I only needed a quick stop because I was having a hard time finding parking downtown Halifax and ended up making my own parking spot in front of the store.  I wasn’t blocking anybody or in anybody’s way so as long as a parking attendant didn’t come by I figured I’d be ok.  I immediately then headed over to the hotel, checked in and took a couple hours rest – driving seems more tiring than cycling sometimes!

Cows creamery in Charlottetown

Cows creamery in Charlottetown

Driving across the Confederation Bridge

Driving across the Confederation Bridge

Nova Scotia!  Again!

Nova Scotia! Again!

At the Nova Scotia tourist info

At the Nova Scotia tourist info

Around 6pm I headed out for a stroll and walked around the Halifax Citadel a large fort in Halifax that sits atop a large hill near downtown.  The views from here are not to be missed if you are in the area.

Halifax harbour from the Citadel

Halifax harbour from the Citadel

The clock tower at the Halifax Citadel

The clock tower at the Halifax Citadel

An island in Halifax harbour

An island in Halifax harbour

P1040467

The current view of where the explosion mentioned above happened

The current view of where the explosion mentioned above happened

Looking back at the clock tower on the way down to the waterfront

Looking back at the clock tower on the way down to the waterfront

My next stop was the downtown core where I spent a couple hours walking (very slowly) along the waterfront boardwalk.  I was hoping to catch some of Signal Hill’s (an east coast band) set at the Lower Deck, but I was too tired to hang around beyond 9pm so I had to pass on that opportunity.  I did however take the opportunity to try a Beaver Tail – a fried doughy pastry that is stretched into the shape of a beaver tail with different toppings (my choice was hazelnut spread with reese’s pieces).  Otherwise it was a pleasant early evening strolling along the water.

City Hall.  This is where Dalhousie University used to be

City Hall. This is where Dalhousie University used to be

Thomas the Tank Engine boat

Thomas the Tank Engine boat

Historic Properties at the Halifax Wharf

Historic Properties at the Halifax Wharf

Some of the historic buildings

Some of the historic buildings

Along the Halifax Wharf

Along the Halifax Wharf

A view of the water from the wharf

A view of the water from the wharf

An old ship and a cruise ship in the harbour

An old ship and a cruise ship in the harbour

This ship had to get rescued and towed back to land

This ship had to get rescued and with assistance made it back to land

Riding the wave

Riding the wave

An island in the harbour

An island in the harbour

Looking at the harbour as the sun is setting

Looking at the harbour as the sun is setting

I liked the colour of the planes airstream

I liked the colour of the planes airstream

P1040506

Halifax from the top of the Citadel at night

Halifax from the top of the Citadel at night

 

Day 136: August 28 – Digby & Digby Neck

My goal was to be on the road by 9am today, but surprisingly enough I woke up before my alarm and was on the road shortly after 8am.  I had another 4hr drive ahead of me today as I was heading to Tiverton (a very small town on Long Island in the Digby Neck area) to go Whale Watching.  This is an excursion I have been looking forward to for a LONG time!  I was scheduled for the 2pm excursion which meant I would have to be at the ferry to cross over to Long Island by 1:30pm (the ferry only leaves once an hour on the half).  I actually made it to the ferry by 12pm and was just getting ready for the 1/2hr wait when the ferry made an unexpected trip and took us on the 5min trip across to Long Island at noon.  Apparently there was an overload of traffic from the other side (which crosses once an hour on the hour), so they had to go back to pick up the overload anyway.  I stopped in at the Ocean Explorations office where I was informed that they still had space on the 12:30 excursion – how is that for things falling in to place?  I told the lady that I had a dog in my car and asked her if there was a shady spot to park, she immediately walked me over to a driveway that had a canopy of trees.  She did offer to leave Dash in the office, but given Dash’s sometimes yappy nature I wasn’t sure that would be a good idea when they are trying to run a business.  Regardless, I left the windows wide open, it was foggy and overcast and only in the mid-teens temperature wise, I left my keys with the lady at the office just in case the car needed to be moved and she also offered to check in on Dash once and a while – soooo kind and accommodating!

In the Annapolis Valley area on my way to Tiverton

In the Annapolis Valley area on my way to Tiverton

Ferry to Tiverton

Ferry to Tiverton

Dash was quite curious about the movement of the ferry

Dash was quite curious about the movement of the car ferry

After I knew Dash was going to be in good hands it was pretty much time to get ready for the tour.  I was going on a zodiac so there were only 12 of us (plus the tour guide Tom) on the tour.  We were all given flotation suits to wear (not just a life vest or jacket, but a full suit with long sleeves, long pants and a hood).  I chatted a bit with an elderly couple who were sharing some of the same nervous excitement I had!  We walked down to the docks and watched as our tiny, tiny zodiac pulled in.

Ocean Explorations office

Ocean Explorations office

 

Suited up!

Suited up!

See that spec in the middle right of the frame?  That's our zodiac

See that spec in the middle of the frame? That’s our zodiac

The size of our zodiac compared to what other companies take out for whale watching

The size of our zodiac compared to what other companies take out for whale watching

After we were all settled in the zodiac Tom was quick to pull us away from the docks and we were heading out into the Bay of Fundy.  Tom told us to keep our eyes peeled for any sightings and to let the group know if any are spotted.  The zodiac can travel at a speed of about 20-30km/hr, so the ride alone was quite a thrill.  About 5min in we spotted a spec ahead of us, as we got closer we saw that it was a grey seal.  Tom was quick to tell us that we can look for seals later – right now we want to find whales or dolphins!  About 20min later of zipping along the bay we started to spot fins in the distance – sure enough – dolphins.  Atlantic white-sided dolphins (as per Tom).  They were jumping out of the water everywhere – but I was always too slow with the camera so I think I only got some pictures of fins and the water disturbance after they jumped!  Oh well!  It was pretty cool, the dolphins actually seemed a bit interested in playing with us and ‘swimming’ with the boat for a while as they quite literally followed the boat jumping on either side of us.  After about 15min of this Tom told us that he was going to pull the zodiac away from the dolphins so we could continue looking for whales.  Once we were removed from the school of dolphins Tom shut off the zodiac and told us to listen for the sound of a whale blowing water out of its blowhole.  Because it was a bit foggy our visibility was  reduced so he thought this would be the quickest way for us to find some whales.  No less than 1 minute after the zodiac was shut off we all heard a noise to our left.  Tom quickly turned the zodiac back on and off we were – looking for whales!  A couple minutes later we saw them!  A group of 4 humpback whales hanging out near the surface of the water.

Tour guide Tom

Tour guide Tom

It was a bit foggy when we first set out

It was a bit foggy when we first set out

I was always too slow to get a picture of the dolphins mid jump

I was always too slow to get a picture of the dolphins mid jump

The dolphins swimming with our boat

The dolphins swimming with our boat

And the last of my dolphin shots (the rest of the dolphin pics were just ripples of water)

And the last of my dolphin shots (the rest of the dolphin pics were just ripples of water)

As per Tom, these humpback whales spend their summers in the bay of fundy primarily eating.  They will usually spend about 5-8 minutes breathing near the surface and then they will go under to eat for about 5-8 minutes and then return to the surface to breath and repeat.  Just before they go under the water they give a bigger breath and then they roll their body a bit and the tail comes completely out of the water and gracefully goes under water.  At one point one whale did actually temporarily lift her head out of the water, but I was too busy watching the moment to catch it on film.  It was also kind of cool to see the green-flourescent hue that gets reflected off the whales white pectoral fins – I don’t think this picked up on the pictures.  We watched this group of 4 whales for about 4 rounds of them breathing near the surface and then heading under to eat.  About an hour later we decided to leave these 4 whales and see if we could find any others.  Within a few minutes we were able to hear the now familiar noise of a whale breathing and when we reached the source of the sound we saw a mother and her calf (humpbacks again).  We probably spent about 15min watching these two and got to see the calf do a roll on to its back (again no pictures).  These two seemed to be taking a break from eating as they spent the whole 15 minutes hanging out near the surface.  Unfortunately our time was winding down, so we had to head back to the docks and leave the whales.  On our way back we stopped at a cove area that grey seals tend to hang out in and so we spent a few minutes watching the seals before finishing our ride.  All in all, a successful excursion!

Here’s a clip of two humpback whales rolling and then going under water to feed:  Clip #3

Humpback whales

3 humpback whales

Humpback whales resting after a feed

3 humpback whales resting after a feed

humpback whales rolling before going under the water again

2 humpback whales rolling before going under the water again

A humpback whale tail midair is it heads under water

A humpback whale tail midair as it heads under water, another humpback whale rolling, a third whale getting ready to roll

Humpback whale tail

Humpback whale tail

I particularly liked the water coming off this humpbacks tail

I particularly liked the water coming off this humpbacks tail

A humpback blowing water.  They give a really load blow before the roll and head under the water

A humpback blowing water. They give a really load blow before the roll and head under the water

Humpback whales resting

Humpback whales resting & breathing

P1040583

 

4 humpback whales

4 humpback whales

Tom took a couple pics with me in them

Tour guide Tom took a couple pics with me in them

Pic courtesy of tour guide Tom

Pic courtesy of tour guide Tom

P1040592P1040600

Just as the tail submerges in the the water

Just as the tail submerges in the the water

As the fog lifted the water and sky took on a beautiful blue colour

As the fog lifted the water and sky took on a beautiful blue colour

Watching seals watching us

Watching seals watching us

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

The lighthouse was much more visible on our way back to the dock

The lighthouse was much more visible on our way back to the dock

Fishing farms

Fishing farms

I headed to my motel in Digby where I had some world famous Digby scallops for dinner and called it a day!

The view outside of my room at the Admiral Inn Digby

The view outside of my room at the Admiral Inn Digby

Day 137: August 29 – Bay of Fundy

I didn’t have anything particular planned today other then to get back to Amherst where I would be returning the car first thing tomorrow morning.  So I took my time leaving the hotel.  My first stop was a walk around the town of Digby where they were busy preparing for Wharf Rat Rally – a motorcyclist rally.  I checked out the wharf and saw the huge floating docs.  The Bay of Fundy experiences the highest tide changes in the world at around 50 ft.  The tide changes from high to low and back again every 6hrs 13min.

Digby harbour

Digby harbour

Relative low tide given how low the boats were sitting on the dock

Relative low tide given how low the boats were sitting on the dock

Town of Digby

Town of Digby

They were setting up for a bike rally in town

They were setting up for a bike rally in town

Explanation of why Bay of Fundy has such high tides

Explanation of why Bay of Fundy has such high tides

After checking out Digby I headed East to Annapolis Royal – the oldest settlement in Canada.  This area has experienced a lot of turmoil in the past and claims to be the most fought over land in Canada.  I did a tour around town to look at the old buildings and then walked around Fort Anne.

Some of the old buildings on George St. in Annapolis Royal

Some of the old buildings on George St. in Annapolis Royal

George St

George St

Walking along the boardwalk in Annapolis Royal

Walking along the boardwalk in Annapolis Royal

Enjoying the water view

Enjoying the water view

A tide clock

A tide clock

Evidence that it was close to low tide

Evidence that it was close to low tide

Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal

Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal

Some history of the Fort

Some history of the Fort

 

More history

More history

The main building at the fort

The main building at the fort

Canons and gunpowder room

Canons and gunpowder room

Building at the fort

Building at the fort

Dash walking the halls in at Fort Anne

Dash walking the halls in at Fort Anne

Driving along Annapolis Valley - view to the south

Driving along Annapolis Valley – view to the south

View to the north at the same spot as the pic above - definitely in a valley!

View to the north at the same spot as the pic above – definitely in a valley!

My next stop was South Maitland which is situated along the Shubenacadie River.  I arrived here around 5pm and was told by the kind lady at the information tourist info that the Tidal Bore would happen today in South Maitland at 6:20pm.  I decided to stick around to watch this phenomenon.  So what is a Tidal Bore?  It’s when the incoming tide travels up a river and changes the natural directional flow of the river.  Apparently this can be as little a ripple or as a very visible wave.  Today it was a pretty mild ripple, however it was pretty neat to see just how quickly the tide did come into the river when it started.  While watching this occurrence I chatted with an elderly couple from Ontario who have spent the last 6 weeks road tripping – they had just come form Newfoundland and are now slowly making their way back to Ontario.  While chatting with them about my adventure a group of 3 started asking some questions – they were waiting for their daughters to finish ‘riding the tidal bore’ on a zodiac, they were supposed to be on the venture as well but the one guy broke two toes a couple days ago.  This group was also from Ontario and believe it or not but the one lady was a Schnurr born and raised in Formosa (a small town near my hometown!)  We tried comparing notes on people we might know, but we were just slightly off generation wise so we weren’t having much luck!

Maitland - where the Shubenacadie river meets the bay of fundy

Maitland – where the Shubenacadie river meets the bay of fundy

Dash and I in Maitland

Dash and I in Maitland

South Maitland - I get a sense this park is not used often...

South Maitland – I get a sense this park is not used often…

Pre tidal bore

Pre tidal bore

Mid tidal bore

Mid tidal bore

Mid tidal bore

Mid tidal bore – you can see white whips as the water moves

End of the tidal bore (40 min after the tidal bore started)

End of the tidal bore (40 min after the tidal bore started)

Pre tidal bore

Pre tidal bore

Mid tidal boreAnd 40 min after the tidal bore started

And 40 min after the tidal bore started

 

Mid tidal bore

Riding the bore zodiac coming down the river

Riding the bore zodiac coming down the river

A closer view of the zodiac

A closer view of the zodiac

 

Day 138: August 30 – Amherst

Today was a rest and relax day.  After having breakfast I picked up my bike.  They had moved it from the electrical room to a room that they are holding for upcoming renovations – they felt it would be safer there because it is closed and locked, whereas the electrical room door is left open during the day.  Again – the kindness and consideration of others continues to impress me!

I dropped off the rental car and came back to tighten up the back and front rack on my bike (these were coming loose when I left my bike on Sunday – it wasn’t anything that the hotel folks had done to it).  Unfortunately when I was tightening a nut on the front right rack, the screw it was attached to snapped off!  I must be getting too strong for my own good!  Haha!  I temporarily contemplated heading to a bike store to replace the front rack, or a hardware store to see if I can find a properly fitted U-shapped part to replace it, but decided given how close I am to my destination that I would try a duct tape fix job.  I hope it holds.  I really, really, really hope it holds.  The front rack is still attached by two other screws.  That along with the duct tape should work, right?  I’ll make sure to adjust my gear so the pannier that goes on that rack is lighter in weight.  Please hold duct tape!

Red green would be proud, wouldn't he?

Red green would be proud, wouldn’t he?