susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The windswept Iles de la Madeleine

are a a fishhook in the middle of the massive Gulf of St Lawrence - red earth humps covered in lumpy green blankets, threaded together with long yellow sand dunes and lagoons where heron fish for hours. Houses are scattered all over, randomly, as if a giant child spilled his rainbow jelly beans. And the winds blow all the time, only the strength varies, so the sky by the water is filled with butterflies as kite surfers take flight.

This sounds like a tour brochure - but truly they're beautiful. This next bit is a bit rough - sorry!

From the harbour of Cap aux Meules, packed with stern-to laid up lobster boats, we left on Monday afternoon, heading for the only main island not attached to the rest - the Ile d'Entree. Alone geographically, it's also alone as the only English speaking island. It's all a matter of history. But I digress a bit here and go back to the joined up islands ....

The main group speak French - descendants of old Acadians, and I was surprised to find most of the people I spoke to spoke little or more than not no English. and the accent varied from tiny island to tiny island. One main road runs from one end to the other - the Chemin Principal - and about 13000 p0eople overall live here, but many thousands more visit in the summer. We'd been lent a car (thanks Roger and Louise), and drove instead of sailing to Havre Aubert at the southernmost tip of the chain. Here is tourist heaven! Rows of tiny gray painted beach hut boutiques sell souvenirs to the nose-to-tail tourists in and out of their cars. I bought a stained glass seagull - glass - how practical! - on a boat, in a suitcase, on a plane ...

But as I said - On Monday we went through a very heavy sea mist - not quite fog - to the fishhook's bait - the Ile d'Entree, which we passed in the dark on our way from Cap Breton. Only about 100 people live here and tripper boats deliver and collect hikers out to bag The Big Hill. I had a stroll as far as a beach with a broken down car on it ...

Then over night from Tuesday afternoon towards Prince Edward Island.


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