Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cruising down the Saint Lawrence (Part 2) Bonaventure Island and PEI

Gannets on Bonaventure Island
Continuing down the Saint Lawrence after a stop at Métis-sur-Mer, we arrived at Gaspé for a visit to Forillon National Park. There were options for walks of various lengths and degrees of difficulty, or time in the town for a walkabout; the National Park walks were through forested hills and there were wildlife sightings along the way, including a glimpse of a black bear, and there were lots of great photo opportunities. 
Ocean Endeavour through Percé Rock

From here it was on to Percé, where we boarded the Zodiacs for a closer look at the famous Percé rock and the northern gannet colony on Bonaventure Island. The island is roughly circular in shape and measures a little over four square kilometres, and is one of the world's most accessible bird sanctuaries. In addition to nearly 50,000 gannets, the island is also a nesting site for seabirds like common murres, black guillemots, razorbills and a few puffins.

Trying traditional quillwork, Lennox Island
Returning to the Ocean Endeavour, we set off for our next stop, Prince Edward Island. Sometimes called the Garden of the Gulf, the island was known as Epekwitk (translated as "Cradled on the Waves") to the Mi'kmaq people who lived here before the Europeans arrived. Two main options were offered for shore excursions from our stop in Summerside: a visit to the North Shore with its Anne of Green Gables history, from the books of L. M. Montgomery, and Prince Edward Island National Park; or a visit to the Lennox Island First Nation where we visited the local school and were greeted by elders of the community to learn about its history, then had an opportunity to observe traditional crafts like porcupine quillwork. There was time for a little exploring in Summerside when we returned to the dock, and a shuttle service that provided transportation to points of interest around town. Leaving Summerside, we were treated to an unusual view of the Confederation Bridge during dinner. 

Headed for the Confederation Bridge

 Adventure Canada's Mighty St. Lawrence cruise has been named by National Geographic as one of its “50 Tours of a Lifetime".

Next: on to Cape Breton Island.

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