10.1 mi / 8.95 mph / 697 ft. climbing
Home: Red Point Provincial Park Campground
Our alarm was set for 5:20am, our earliest waking in forever. There is only one ferry per day returning Magdalen Islands tourists to Prince Edward Island, and it leaves at 8am. Crawling out of the tent, we saw the nearly-full moon setting over the water, and we rode the three miles to the ferry before the sun had breached the horizon.
So although riding in the dark this day had more to do with human-created timetables than it did with Earth’s position in its orbit around the sun, it was certainly an early-autumn reminder of our time last winter when the hours of available light became the limiting factor in what we could accomplish in a day. While we never hit a point in the summer where the light became a limiting factor to our sleep, it came close, and I hadn’t realized how blissfully ignored daylight-duration had become as a factor in planning our days.
Rushing to make sure we didn’t miss the ferry check-in time, we made a wrong turn (the ferry exit road apparently isn’t also the ferry entrance road!), so I left Rett at the midway point of the loading line, and raced back out and around to the actual entrance booths. Even though that put me past the official hour-ahead check-in time, they didn’t give me any grief, and even let me cut across to meet up again with Rett and line up for boarding.
We secured our bikes and climbed the many flights up to the passenger decks, only to find a long line already in place for the not-yet-opened breakfast restaurant. Apparently we weren’t the only passengers who found a 7am arrival time incompatible with a normal breakfast routine! Luckily, our desire to secure seats with power outlets sent us racing up to another level, where we found the line-free coffee bar open, with some muffins to snarf down with our brew. Phew! At first I thought that the busier feel vs. our last transit might have been due to the sitting-here-all-night status of the boat vs. the arrival-departure turnaround it does at PEI, but it turned out that there were simply a lot more people. Including three other cyclists, vs. the zero we had last time.
As we got underway, and experienced the islands again in a wide-angle view as we drew away from them, it drove home how this offshoot was definitely worth our time and money. The Magdalen Islands are not without comparisons, but they bring to mind something like the Greek Isles, or volcanic archipelagos in the South Pacific, not “Canada”. I had never even heard of them until I’d started plotting out our travel to Prince Edward Island. The fact that they are so unexpected in this place, stout non-conformists living in distant isolation, makes me glad that I got even this brief opportunity to get to know them.
The 5+ hour transit back to PEI was mostly-uneventful, but then the big surprise when we started the short ride to Red Point Provincial Park was how windy it was. I had been paying so much attention to the winds on the Magdalen Islands that I had completely neglected to check the forecast back on PEI, so I hadn’t at all been expecting these winds stronger than anything we felt on the Magdalens. They were coming at 18 mph from the north, so mostly a crosswind as we headed east, but they forced Rett into working hard for the 6.6 mile ride, and the struggle made her as unhappy as the unexpectedness of it did.
Now into the PEI offseason, we were able to easily reserve a Friday-night oceanfront campsite at the Provincial Park, so that was a nice luxury. But everything is such a pain in the wind, which did very little dying-out overnight. I had to guy-out the tent for the first time since Baja, adding trip-hazards. Every single thing you take out needs to be secured in place so that it doesn’t blow away. Cooking takes longer with the wind redirecting the flame, even with the windscreen in place.
One compensation, that was even more unexpected than the wind, was the full, pumpkin-orange moon that rose out of the clouds above the sea. It came up so fast out of the clouds that I couldn’t even get my camera in time to get the best views, but simply witnessing that movement was a big part of the magic.