Well, it’s been windy and we’ve had no problem going to bed early after a day on the water. The kiting has been great 8 of the last nine. It isn’t the warm temperatures we expected–it has ranged from 59 (F) to 69 (F), and when you are on the water in the wind and it’s cloudy, you can get a bit cool. The 8.5 Kite and the 10 have been the go to sizes.
More about the islands…
The Magdalene Islands are 84 miles offshore from Prince Edward Island—a five hour ferry ride. Our crossing was drizzling and foggy. We landed about 6:30 PM. We didn’t know what to expect when we got off the ferry and onto the island. The main town, Caps des Meules, has all the amenities—restaurants, an IGA, shops, fish markets, etc. We headed south and passed the obvious sailing site about 5 miles from town and found our cottage about 5 miles from there. The cottage is in Bassin a small group of houses. There are bays everywhere, beaches everywhere and small settlements all over.
The Maggies are a group of islands that are connected by causeways and bridges. The islands sweep in an arc from northeast to southwest. The terrain is surprisingly hilly, with many shorelines a sheer cliff to the ocean. The soil is very red. There are few trees, although where we are is the largest ‘bois’—mostly evergreens and low shrubs. Blueberry season is here and you can see lots of folks who park along the road and go in to pick berries. No wind forecast for tomorrow, so that’s an option. The main roads are paves, but there are lots of connecting roads that are dirt and some well defined snowmobile trails that are rideable with our cross bikes. Today is Saturday and there’s a farmer’s market in town. Yesterday before kiting, we drove to the north end of the island to check out the other popular kiting spot and to go to the cheese farm. We took the scenic route (they’re mostly all scenic!) back.
In the busier restaurants, most folks speak both French and English, but in the smaller ones you find while driving along, it’s only French. There are many small ‘restos’ on the islands.
The kiting and windsurfing spot is fabulous. First of all, unlike other places, we have seen more windsurfer than kiters. The Havre au Basque is where we sail. There is a parking lot with grass and the windsurfer park north of the kiters. The water is clear, warm and knee deep for a good long ways from shore. The shore curves so that if the wind is anywhere from South, West or North it is onshore or side onshore—perfect. So far we’ve been here four days. The first day was too windy to kite, so we windsurfed and the last three days have been great for kiting. Paula has been on the 8.5 m kite for two days and the 11.5 yesterday. Butch rode the 10 m kite for two days. Our friends Doug and Sue are sharing the cottage with us. We ran into Brett and Mary on Thursday. Doug has been taking lessons (in LaVentana when they came to visit and again in Padre) and took two lessons with Brett up here. Yesterday afternoon the planets aligned and Doug was off and kiting!! They brought their dog, Hank. He’s a friendly, well behaved, fun lab who loves the water and travels well.
Our cottage is rustic (we know when the wind is blowing because the windows rattle!), but convenient to everything and we have the ocean out our front windows and green hay fields out the back. Hank loves to run in the back field behind the cottage.
The folks who live here year round must be pretty rugged. There are no large trees and a lot of the houses are exposed to the weather. It’s remarkable how many really small houses there are here—we don’t know if they are just summer rentals or if small houses are just easier to keep warm in the winter. There are snowmobile trails and cross country ski trails, so there must be enough snow for those activities. A lot of houses have their oil tank outside, so oil must be the primary method of heating. Some places have firewood, but it must have to come over on the ferry.
We’ve taken some video with the GoPro, but now have to get better at getting really close to the camera!! Butch had his first go at poitrine—aka heart attack on a plate!! Lots of fish and interesting choices on the restaurants—like a seal burger!