Mussels, mussels, and more mussels

Trip Start Sep 19, 2013
Trip End Oct 07, 2013

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Flag of Canada  , Prince Edward Island,
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wednesday dawned with nice weather, so we were excited to head off to explore Charlottetown.

This is the site of the founding of Canada. Victorian architecture abounds along the narrow streets near the historic water front. Confederation Landing Park marks the site of the meeting of the Fathers' of the Confederation of 1864.  

The island, which is 175 miles long and 28 miles wide at the widest, is composed of very fertile soil which is heavy in iron oxide that gives the limestone its red color.  The island has no gravel or rocks.  The island is attached to the mainland by an 8 mile bridge to New Brunswick, which carries a $45 toll off the island, and by a 6 hour ferry ride to Nova Scotia.  There are no factories on the island, but there is a frozen food plant.  Fishing for lobster, farming mussels and twenty other kinds of seafood or fish are a large industry.  Wine grapes, potato farming, blueberries and apple orchards are further proof of the fertility of the soil.

Kevin, our guide, took us, on a cross island tour. We explored the beautiful north shore with its red cliffs, Anne of Green Gables house, Cavendish, Brackley Beach, both South and North Rustico fishing villages, Covehead Light House and PEI National park. Along the way we passed mussel farms and learned how they are cultivated.  
80% of the mussels consumed are cultivated in the island's waters.  The young mussels are collected and sorted into net bags by size.  Then they are attached to buoys by strings and put back in the water until maturity which is about 11/2 years.  They are collected year round and if the buoys cannot be located, divers go down to find the netting holding the mussels.  

We stopped at Dalvay by the Sea, which was the location of a reception for Prince William and Princess Kate following their wedding.  The lake was used by the Prince to train for water helicopter landings and the couple had boat races on the lake.  It is a lovely home on a beautiful piece of property.  

The Farmers' Bank of Rustico is typical of early P.E.I. architecture and a symbol of survival of the Acadian people.  The British exiled these French people from the area but hundreds escaped into the woods and many in the area are their descendants.  The Cajans of Louisiana are also descendants of the Acadians, who were exiled from the area by the British.  The Bank operated from 1864-1894 and was the model for future credit unions.  Next door is the restored Doucet House which was built in 1768.  Some of the wood in the house tested back to that time.  It is an example of the Acadian style of building.

We dined at Carr's on five pounds of mussels before returning to the ship.  The view of the bay and the house across from it was magnificent.  We had a wonderful day.

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