Hik’n, Driv’n, and Cruis’n

Ahoy from Bras d’Or Lakes. Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Looking down the most eastern point of PEI

Summary of the Week

The crew managed four travel days on the water this week. They also rented a car and took a day to explore Prince Edward Island, PEI. Tuesday, the crew travelled to the Provincial capital of PEI, Charlottetown (1). Wednesday the crew explored the Island by car. Thursday, the crew set out for Pictou (2). Friday, found the crew anchored in Havre Boucher (3). Then they ended their travels for the week in St Peters (4) on Saturday.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What was the second boom economy on PEI based upon?
  2. How often is a black fox breed in the wild?
  3. Why were Acadians deported from the maritime islands?
  4. Why is the dirt and sandstone red on PEI?
  5. What was the name of the boat that brought the first Scottish settlers to Nova Scotia?
  6. Where did these first folks establish their first settlement?

At the Box Office

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, July 21st

Today was National Ice Cream Day. Hope you celebrated this wonderful day with your favorite ice cream. The skipper’s favorite ice cream is a family recipe perfected by his dad. In honor of his father, here is the recipe: per half gallon to be made, mix the following ingredients:

3 eggs, beat/whip them up good before adding sugar

1 cup sugar, slowly add the sugar to egg mixture while stirring the eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla, again add slowly while stirring into mixture

1 can fat free evaporated milk, continue to stir up mixture

1 can sweetened condensed milk, continue to stir into mixture. If the ice cream is too sweet for your taste, cut back on this milk for your taste.

Pour the mixture into the ice cream bucket. Now fill the bucket to the fill line with whole milk. (You can substitute 2% milk if you are counting calories.) If the bucket has no fill line, fill the bucket 3/4 full.

Assemble your ice cream maker per manufacture instructions, add ice and rock salt. Turn till the ice cream hardens in the bucket.

Variation for fruit ice cream. Add 1 cup puréed fruit per half gallon. Add to the mixture before you top off with milk to the fill line.

The skipper about to test a batch of freshly churned peach ice cream

Monday, July 22nd

The crew had planned to rent a car in Summerside and expand their exploration of PEI. Unfortunately, while trying to book a car, the skipper discovered there were no cars available. He expanded his search for a car over to Charlottetown and again no cars available from three different vendors. Then he got a tip from Confetti, and was able to score a car for Wednesday.

In the mean time, the skipper went to visit a few museums while the Admiral went shopping.

The first museum that caught the attention of the skipper was the International Fox Museum and Hall of Fame. You may be wondering why a fox museum might interest the skipper. The answer is captured here from the skipper’s sister’s blog.

When I was 12 my dad got a call on a Saturday afternoon from a friend. Two hours later we were foster parents to 3 baby foxes whose mama had been killed and whose den had been found by Daddy’s friend. The babies were so young their eyes weren’t yet open. We fed them with eye droppers filled with a combination of evaporated milk and water. We hadn’t had Wiley E. Fox, Pepper and Mary Elisabeth very long when they were stolen while we were at school one day. The next day, after a call to the junior high principal and his impassioned appeal over the morning announcements, Wiley and Pepper were returned. I got to leave school in the middle of the day to take them home. We had them for several years. They were as “tame” as a wild animal could be. They loved to be brushed, walked on their leashes and they reveled in the attention they got from us and our friends.

The skipper (left) and brother Danny with their pet foxes

Wiley left home one day (ran out the open front door) and never looked back. We saw him from time to time in the wooded area behind our school. After his departure The Boys shared Pepper until he, too, decided it was time to go “home” to the woods. My brothers entered Wiley and Pepper into the annual Pet Show at Woodland West Recreation Center. They always won first place for Most Unusual Pet.

Pepper winning first place ribbon

The Fox Museum told the story of Prince Edward Island’s second economic boom period from the late 1880’s to WWII. A resident of the Island had trapped a couple of black fox and with the help of a friend, learned how to bred them in captivity in the 1870’s. The French Fur Trade was already big business, shipping pelts from North America to Europe. These new black pelts were a fashion hit with the upper crust of society in Europe.

In the early days of the Fox Trade, three different breeders cornered the market on these exclusive black pelts that sold around $1,000 a pelt at auction houses in Europe. The three breeders signed a pact not to sell breeding pairs of Fox to any other people wanting in the lucrative business.

Eventually, one of the three sold a breeding pair of Fox to a nephew under the promise that he would not breed and sell pelts. The nephew kept his word. For three years he bred his fox to grow a sizable inventory. Then he sold live fox breeding pairs rather than pelts. His pairs were sold for $5,000, more than double what a pair of pelts sold for.

Silver Fox pelts as a variation to the solid black pelts

With that kind of money to be made, the other three fox farms also began to sell breeding pair. It did not take long for the market to saturate and the free market economy based on supply and demand busted the ‘Boom Day’s.’ By the end of WWII, with women’s fashion no longer seeking fox coats, a pelt sold for only $7.

This was all interesting, but the skipper wanted to know if a black fox was unique to the Island. The museum did not answer this mystery so he asked a worker. She informed him that these were actually just ‘run of the mill’ red fox. However, in nature, one out of 1,000 liters will contain a black colored fox. Because these fox were on a remote island, more black fox were present and able to bred in the wild.

With that mystery solved, it was time to ride six miles out to the Acadian Museum, to learn about their story. As mentioned last week, the Acadians originally migrated to the region from France. Initially, the Acadian population was mostly along the Bay of Fundy coastline of modern day Nova Scotia.

As the British won lands during the French and Indian War, they began deporting the French from the lands. Following the Treaty of 1763 that transferred New France to Britain, the British wanted their new colonist to take an oath of faith supporting the new Protestant Rulers. When these Acadians refused based on their French Catholic views, the British deported them back to France.

Expulsion of Acadians by Lewis Parker

Ships Take Acadians into Exile by Claude T. Picard

In the 1780s and 1790s, these deported Acadians began to migrate back to their former settlements. However, they found these areas now settled by American settlers and Loyalists from the Revolutionary War. Therefore, the Acadians searched out new areas and settled in western Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the eastern shore of New Brunswick.

Settlements are Burned by Claude T. Picard

With a better understanding of these Acadians, the skipper headed back to the boat to prepare for departure to Charlottetown tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 23rd

The run to Charlottetown proved to be uneventful, well except for the potential boarding opportunity provided by Canadian Border Patrol as the crew approached the inlet to town. The Border Patrol boat came speeding out of the harbor and closely cruised by Still Waters II. The Border Patrol Boat then passed behind Still Waters II and circled around on the starboard side. By now, they had gained the skipper’s full attention. The Boarder Patrol Boat then passed behind Still Waters II a second time and pulled up close the port side.

The skipper observed the agents on board give him hand signals to slow down, so the skipper put the engines in neutral and just drifted. He came down out of the helm and called down to the Admiral, who was in the salon, that Customs was stopping them. She came up to see what was going on.

The three agents pulled along side Still Waters II and began to ask a boat load of questions. But the majority of the questions centered around the agents trying to understand how the skipper and Admiral had gotten that big boat all the way to Charlottetown. It truly intrigued them. Once their curiosity was satisfied, they asked to see the cruising permit that the crew received when they checked into customs just north of Lake Champlain. Luckily, the Admiral knew right where the piece of paper was and went to retrieve the permit.

After the agents copied information from the permit down, they asked if the crew had seen any suspicious activity while they were out cruising. The skipper replied that the only thing suspicious that they had seen were three people dressed in black running around in a black boat. Once the agents realized he was talking about them, they laughed and wished the crew safe travels.

Once the crew got settled in their slip, they walked to the rental car company, PEI Rental Cars, to see if their car was ready for pickup. Upon arrival, the owner apologized and said the people who had the car had extended till 1800 and were in the process of driving back to the office.

The crew decided to try some fish and chips while they waited for the car to return. They ordered a 2 piece cod dinner that they planned to split. When the food came out they each had a large helping of fries and 2 large pieces of cod. When the bill arrived, they were only charged for 1 plate. The skipper brought the error to the servers attention and said that they would pay for two since they had eaten all the food. The server said no, that she served them the 2 piece dinner and had split the plate. The skipper is still not sure how they count to 2 in Prince Edward Island but he will gladly eat 4 large pieces of cod and pay for 2 anytime.

Water Street Fish & Chips

The crew finished dinner, procured the car, and went on a provisioning run at the local Walmart a few miles away. When the Admiral went to pay, she learned two things rather quickly. For starters they do not bag your products at this Walmart, it is ‘bag your own’ country. Secondly, they do not provide any bags.

Luckily, the Admiral always carries her own bags so the latter was not an issue. The crew learned that PEI has passed a law outlawing plastic bags, and the law just went into effect. Most of the stores on the Island claim they have not had time to come up with a bag solution. Seemed apparent to the skipper that they all had found the same solution, require the customer to provide their own bags. Our crew can remember when those plastic bags were the environmentally friendly answer to tree killing paper bags. So, how long will it be before this answer is also found to be wrong?

Upon return to the boat, the challenge was to find a place to park. After circling around a bit, the crew found a parking lot that was empty and within view of the boat.

Wednesday, July 24th

A cruise ship pulled up to the dock this morning and docked just outside the marina. About 0830, the skipper looked out and noticed the empty parking lot was filling up with tour buses and shore excursions. He also looked over at the rental car and all appeared to be fine.

At 0845 the crew departed the boat and walked over to the rental car. When the skipper reached in his pocket to pull out the keys, he glanced over towards the car, and failed to see the vehicle. He asked the Admiral if she could see the car, she pointed and said it WAS right there.

Seems the crew had parked in the taxi cab waiting line for the cruise ship, and the cab drivers had the car towed. Ouch. Then they had to pay a cab driver to take them to the tow company to fetch the rental car. Double ouch. This day certainly got off to a crummy start.

Once the car was rescued from the impound yard, the crew set out to explore the eastern and northern shores of Prince Edward Island (PEI).

They made stops at the Sorous Lighthouse, East Point Lighthouse, and the Greenwich Sand Dunes.

When they arrived at the Sorous Lighthouse, a crew was busy setting up a tent for the annual Sea Glass Festival. There was a young boy following one of the workers around as he hammered in tent stakes.

The young boy was busy hammering the worker with questions. In fact, the boy could ask questions faster than a Gatling Gun can fire rounds. At one point the worker paused from hammering tent stakes and answering questions to make a comment about the boy’s T-shirt. He said, your mom sure dressed you right today.

The skipper was not sure what to make of the comment, but continued to observe the strange dance before him while he waited for the Admiral to finish shopping down the gift shop. At some point the boy tired of his endless questions and turned to find his mom. When the skipper saw the T-shirt he could only laugh at the worker’s earlier comment.

But Why? brings us to the question of why is all this dirt on PEI red? The dirt on the Island is rich in iron ore. When the iron ore is exposed to the air and water it rusts staining the dirt and giving it the red rust coloration.

After exploring the eastern portion of PEI, the crew drove over to Cavendish to try and see the Anne of Green Gables House. Upon arrival they found where the two cruise ships full of tourist were spending the day. The parking lot was full of cars and tour busses. The grounds were covered like ants at a picnic with people. The crew did not have time to fight the crowds and return the rental car on time, so the skipper turned out of the parking lot to head back to Charlottetown.

After returning the rental car the crew went over to Confetti and Island Office where they joined the two other crews for dock tails before finding a restaurant for dinner.

Thursday, July 25th

The crew left PEI in the morning to cross the Northumberlad Strait to Nova Scotia. The run across the Strait was much less dramatic than the loss of the rental car the day before. Most of the day was wide open big water with not much to see.

They ended the day by anchoring across the marina in Pictou. There was an interesting looking, rather large, old wooden boat beside the marina. The vessel is a replica of the Hector.

The original Hector left Scotland in 1773 and brought the initial 189 Scottish settlers to New Scotland, modern day Nova Scotia. These first colonists established the Village of Pictou as their new home and hence it’s nickname, “The Birthplace of New Scotland.”

Friday, July 26th

The crew had another successful run in the big open water today in fabulous cruising conditions. The first forty miles were dedicated to reaching Cap George, where they altered course into St George Bay. Within just the first few miles they began seeing whales and harbour porpoises. By the end of the run they had spotted three whales and at least 10 porpoises.

The final destination today was an anchorage in a well protected cove. Once anchored the crew sat back to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Unfortunately the peaceful day was interrupted by bad news from a fellow boater on the Down East Loop.

Seems Laughter joined the ranks of shipwrecks along the St Lawrence River. Yesterday while trying to enter the marina at Rivière de Madeleine, the crew were abruptly hit by strong winds that shoved them into the rocks.

Two weeks ago when our crew was there they encountered strong winds in the late afternoons. The cruising guide called this phenomena, Katabatic Winds. The winds turn a calm, peaceful sea breeze around abruptly. The winds starts to blow from shore and rapidly builds to 30-35 knots.

The only good news with this story was that the crew managed to get to shore safely. The whole ordeal was a not so subtle reminder just how quickly conditions can change from a great day, to your worst day, in just a matter of moments.

Saturday, July 27th

The crew weighed anchor and got under way towards Bras d’Or Lakes. Their goal was St Peter’s Marina. After just a few miles they entered the Strait of Casno and headed to the Casno Lock.

The lock and causeway were opened in 1955 to to help ships traverse the Strait. Prior to the causeway, the current would rip through the Strait at 6-7 knots. The engineering challenge was how to fill the 155 foot deep Strait to stop the current. The solution was determined to be right before their eyes. They quarried 10 million tons of rock off of Porcupine Mountain to backfill the Strait and create the roadbed.

After clearing the lock, the crew made way to the Bridge over the Lenox Passage. The Bridge was under repair which might cause the crew some problems and cause a 10 mile detour. When they arrived at the bridge they found scaffold built out into the waterway making the tight squeeze just a bit smaller. The crew worked together to pilot Still Waters II under and past the hazards.

Next challenge was the St Peter’s Lock. When the crew arrived at the lock, the gates were swinging open to allow passage. The lock and Canal were first put into operation back in 1869. To celebrate the 150th year of operation, the lock was passing out Certificates of Commemoration. Still Waters II was the 424th vessel to transit the St Peter’s Canal in 2019.

After the Canal, the crew turned towards the St Peter’s Marina to bring the run to a close. They found Island Office already tied to the pier. They had arrived yesterday making the run from Charlottetown in just one day. The two crews walked into town and had an enjoyable dinner together.

All in all, it has been a great week for the crew.

Boat Name of the Week

Followed Reel’n & Deal’n thru the St Peters Lock

Next Week –

The crew will spend the week exploring the Bras d’Or Lakes region and this island paradise before returning to the mainland of Nova Scotia.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

10 Comments on “Hik’n, Driv’n, and Cruis’n

  1. Great photos and interesting report on our little corner of the Maritimes. However I think you might mean Souris not Suruos ???? Though here on the Island the French name is pronounced Surrey, like the English county.

    Like

  2. WOW, what a great blog this week! We thoroughly enjoyed reading it….put bunches of smiles on our faces. We missed the fact that Sunday was ‘National Ice Cream Day’. Guess we’ll just have to double celebrate this Sunday. So glad that you guys are having such a great time. The only thing that could make it better, would be if we could be there to experience it ourselves. Thanks for taking the time to post.
    David & Barbara

    Like

  3. Always look forward to reading your weekly updates, learning about the history of the area, and this time we learned about your pet foxes and homemade icecream…awesome

    Like

  4. I hate that you couldn’t get inside but thanks for the photos of Anne’s house!

    Also loved seeing Daddy’s ice cream recipe and my blog story about the foxes. Terry & I had banana splits for supper in honor of National Ice Cream Day. 😁

    Like

  5. Never been to Nova Scotia area before. Enjoyed your blog. Learned a lot of history. Evangeline by Longfellow was about this.

    Like

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