The Power of the Wind

Trip Start Aug 13, 2009
Trip End Oct 15, 2009

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Where I stayed
Chantelle's House

Flag of Canada  , Prince Edward Island,
Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 19, 2009

We arose Saturday AM to learn that our fellow B&Ber’s were also from Red Deer - Rod & Lorraine M. - retired teachers who have bought rental properties in Charlottetown. Once again, a lively conversation over a delicious French toast breakfast served by our calm, pleasant hostess.

It was a rainy day, but we we’re not letting that dampen our enthusiasm. We drove over to West Point of PEI where we were awed by the amazing wind farm that has been constructed there. While sitting on the road side, admiring this incredible way of capturing free energy, a local farmer pulled up beside us, stopping right in the middle of the highway. He was wondering if we were lost and needing assistance. When we explained what we were doing, he turned off his vehicle and willingly answered any questions we had. Another vehicle drove up behind him, but he simply sat there and declared “oh, they’ll figure out what to do” - gotta love that attitude!!! He was a local farmer who has several windmills located on his land - the power company having negotiated leases with the local landowners. As we drove away, it was interesting to note that the windmills (over 50 in total we were told) suddenly all stopped moving - we speculated the reason, but no conclusions. These windmills are huge structures and the total capital investment on this farm alone is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. There are also two other farms on the island producing a good percentage of PEI’s power needs.

While at West Point, we also toured the West Point Lighthouse Museum. We were able to ascend to the very top of the lighthouse where we got a panoramic view of the shore-line of Northumberland Strait. It was our first sighting of the amazing sand dunes that are so renowned in PEI. The view out from the top was amazing as there was a very strong wind blowing and immense waves moving in from the open ocean.

Along our route, we observed many yards filled with pumpkins for sale - orange and white and very cheap. We also saw the famous PEI potatoes being harvested from the deep red soil. (Brought to mind that awful song - “Bud the Spud from PEI“)

We had to stop in to see Victoria By the Sea on the way home- a very small and pretty community along the south shore - because we had heard there was a ‘Chocolate Festival’ going on - can’t think of a better festival to attend. We learned that Victoria is a tourist village that boasts a population of 60 in the winter months expanding to about 200 come tourist season. The Island Chocolate factory is situated in this community and they had organized the festival. I am guessing that the cool, wet weather adversely affected the attendance numbers. There were not a lot of people and many of the local artisans had their shops closed for the day so it didn’t have a real ‘festival’ atmosphere. We did attend a chocolate lecture in the local theatre hall - delivered by one of the young owners of Island Chocolate company . He explained the growing and harvesting of the cocoa bean and then went on to describe the making of chocolate. In his presentation, it became apparent that he goes to Ecuador on an annual basis to work with a group of local cacao farmers to help them develop their cacao business. It sounded a lot like the Guatemalan coffee farmers that I was privileged to meet in 2003 when I visited Guatamala. All in all, an interesting and somewhat provocative lecture; he also brought up the exploitation of local farmland by corporate oil companies (Canadian included) and showed some slides highlighting ugly pools of oil and waste left untreated to slowly leach into the jungle soil.

While we were in the chocolate store making our purchases, we noticed a young man wearing a katimavik shirt. We just had to speak to him. It turns out that he participated in the program 2 years ago. He is from BC but had been slowly working his way across the country as he was going to be WOOFing in PEI for the winter. A delightful young man, he charmed us with us gentle spirit and warm smile. After we left, we wished we had taken him out for coffee and a bite; I sensed that his finances were minimal.

On our return to Charlottetown, we headed downtown and had supper at Mavor’s. As we walked the streets of the downtown area looking for a restaurant, we ran into another Red Deer couple (attend Sunnybrook UC).

We then found the theatre as we had tickets for Anne of Green Gables (when in PEI, you’ve got to attend this). We were amused as we sat down in our seats when the two women sitting next to us said, “we recognize you from ‘somewhere along the way’”. After discussion, we concluded that it must have been at the Titanic exhibit in the Geo Centre in St. John’s, Nfl. (Fancy that). Enjoyed the performance.

Found ‘home’ with minimal difficulties and fell to sleep quickly - another busy day. This vacationing is hard work J




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