Today we took the ferry from New Glasgow (Novia Scotia) to Prince Edward Island (PEI). Initially, we planned to take the 9:30 ferry (which was supposed to be the first one). As the ferry does not take any reservations we were told to be there at least 1 hr in advance. When we came to the ferry terminal we saw that there was an earlier ferry just being loaded and we got the last place on it :-).
After 75 minutes we arrived at PEI and decided to take the Points East Coastal Drive. At PEI farming seems to be quite an industry as you can see farmhouses all over the island.
Along the drive we did several stops at scenic places.
At Montague we booked a seal cruise which turned out to be a good decision. On the tour we did not only see seals, but also learnt quite a lot about the region. Most interesting for us was to learn about the mussle farms at PEI. We were quite amazed to hear that mussle farms are a huge business at PEI, about 26 million dollars just last year. Mussle farms are quite a new invention and go back to a Belgium immigrant who started this business about 30 years ago.
Baby mussles are put into a "mussle sock" and hang from a mussle buoy. Usually, mussle buoys are organized in lines of about 100 buoys. The mussles usually need 2-3 years to grow to their full size. Each line results in about 5000 pounds of mussles. We were surprised to learn that starfish are the biggest predators of mussles, especially the small starfish which are small enough to get into the mussle socks. As one starfish can eat 50 pounds of mussles a year (and there are many of them in PEI's waters) they are not really a fisherman's friend. To protect mussles from being eaten by starfish fishermen apply lime to the mussle socks.
Ready for dinner - On the boat tour they also showed us how lobsters are caught.
On the way back the crew looked for volunteers to steer the boat.
Werner and Captain John.
Werner with his "Captain Certificate".
On the boat tour we could also see a lot of beautiful houses along the coast and we were totally amazed how cheap houses are on PEI.
After this very interesting tour we visited Prince Edward Island National Park at Greenwich. To get an overview of the park we first checked with the Visitor Center, watched a movie and went through the exhibits. We then did two nice hikes in the park. One of them brought us to the parabolic sanddunes which you rarely find on the island.
Without the marram grass stabilizing the sand dunes they would be blown away by the wind.
The second trail provided us with a good view of St. Peter's Bay.
We then drove to Charlottetown where we stayed overnight. We had an excellent seafood dinner with mussles and a lobster at Flex Mussles restaurant at the wharf.