Saturday, June 14, 2014

Adventures on PEI: Taking the Ferry

Even when you live in a place as amazing as Prince Edward Island, it is possible to take the place you live for granted. I have found that I need to be intentional about exploring new places with my young children. I am making it a goal this summer to go out at least once every two weeks and visit some of the local attractions, both old favourites and new-to-us discoveries.

When I was about twelve years old, in the days before the Confederation Bridge connected PEI to the mainland, my family came on vacation from Ontario to PEI. The ferry was the only way you could get here back then. But I hadn't taken the ferry since.

Someone from our local homeschool group arranged a (free!) tour on the ferry at Wood Islands this week. This ferry connects PEI to Pictou, Nova Scotia. The trip takes about 75 minutes each way. If you were to drive on with a car, the trip would cost you $69 (about $20 more than taking the bridge to New Brunswick). But the regular price for walking on is only $18, with children 12 and under free. Not bad for an afternoon of fun.

Before we boarded, the boys were excited to watch the front of the ferry open up to let the trucks and cars out.

Then we got on and waited for our tour to begin. Meanwhile, the ferry began to move.

As soon as the ferry was well underway, our guide took us up to the bridge. SA was fascinated with all the screens and instruments, and I was pleased to see that he wasn't afraid to ask questions. JJ was the most excited to sit in the captain's chair, and MM just loved the windows right at his level that allowed him to see the water below.

After about an hour, we went down to the deck. We were nearing Nova Scotia.

The front of the boat opened up again. We stayed on the ferry and didn't set foot in Nova Scotia. There wasn't much we could have seen on foot, I think. Some other day, if we have more time, we may try getting off and taking a later ferry home...perhaps there are some geocaches to find on the other side...or maybe a nice place for a picnic? While we waited to leave again, we got in line at Cows and got some ice cream. We were lucky. It was the first day of the season that they were open on the ferry!

On the way back to PEI, we spent more time on the deck. At some point I decided I wanted to switch to the other deck (the one facing PEI), and when we went inside to walk there, the boys discovered toys! Not what we came for, but for them, it was all part of a fun experience.

I got them outside on deck again in time to see PEI as we approached.

All together, the trip took about three hours. We all had a lovely time, and hope to do it again some day!