Monday, June 18, 2012


We’re staying on Prince Edward Island longer than originally planned. There’s an annual music festival on the island which we learned about last week, and since it opened Thursday night, we decided to stick around and attend one of the shows. It’s called the Festival of Small Halls, since performances are held at small venues in some of the small towns around the island. The one we went to was in a town about 45 minutes from our campground and  featured traditional Maritime fiddlers and dancers.  Think Irish roots music. It was sort of like Celtic Woman without the singing, or women; or like Riverdance, without the big production. There were some really terrific fiddle players and a few dancers who, as in Riverdance, manage to dance just from the waist down. It was a sellout and really a lot of fun.

We’re in a different campground now, on the eastern side of the island, and the weather has been picture-perfect. DSC_0463 The place is called Seal Cove, and we’re told seals frolic along the beach at low tide. This picture was taken at low tide…from the spot where the seals are supposed to congregate. We haven’t seen a single seal, although when we returned here after the show we did hear a couple of seal barks. If you look closely at the picture you’ll see a local fisherman digging clams. Also, unseen in the photo are hundreds of floats in the bay marking mussel farms. Who knew mussels were farm raised, but they are. Mussel seeds (so we’ve been told, but I assume they’re really baby mussels) are placed in a nylon mesh bag, called a sock, which is attached to the float and I assume a weight to keep the sock in place. The mussels grow big and strong, and the fishermen come along, scoop them out of the socks, and sell them at the fish market or the local restaurants. Speaking of which, we had dinner in a nice place before the show. Penny had mussels and a lobster which was probably crawling around the bottom of the bay a couple of hours before she ate it.  She said both the mussels and lobster were great. PEI is wonderful, but not the place for fine dining for someone like me with a serious seafood allergy.


There’s a fishing wharf  about 1/4 mile from the campground and we went there the other evening to check out the sunset. There were about a half dozen of the small commercial fishing boats that ply the local waters for mussels and some species of local fish.

I think the boats in these pictures are primarily mussel boats, but DSC_0466some had sophisticated navigation equipment on board, so I assume they venture away from the sheltered bays where the mussels are farmed. There are lots of lobstermen on the island, but we didn’t see any lobster pots (traps) at this particular wharf. The owner of our campground has an arrangement with a local lobsterman and if any campers want really fresh lobsters he’ll pick them up right at the boat.

Other features of PEI should be mentioned here. DSC_0474One is the flowers, which I believe are lupine, that seem to grow wild along many roadways. They seem to be in this blue/purple, white and pink, and we’ve seen them depicted in a lot of the local artwork.

PEI is a very rural island, which is known both as the Green Island and the Gentle Province. I guess the “gentle” derives from the really warm and friendly people who live here, but we’ve found nice, friendly folk in all of the provinces we’ve visited.

The “green” probably DSC_0447derives from the lush farmland and forests that cover the island between the very few cities and towns. The biggest city is Charlottetown, which, if memory serves, has only about 65,000 residents.

Finally, PEI has a bunch of lighthouses, many of which have been taken over by local civic organizations. Most of these lights were erected in the late 1800s and virtually all of them are no longer functioning. But since we’re here, I figured there might be some sort of requirement for tourists to take a picture of a light house. I took two, and here they are.




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