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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Kayaking Around Charlottetown Bay

Today was forecast to be our warmest and calmest day - 76F and winds of only 4-8 mph, so we chose today to do our kayak.  We started at our campground, the Cornwall-Charlottetown KOA, and paddled a little over 6 miles along the shore of West River, out into Charlottetown Harbor, up into North River, with a little turn into McEwen Creek before turning around and coming back to camp:

The red sandstone of Prince Edward Island makes beautiful red sand beaches, and we had no trouble getting into the water:

That's our Jeep and the campground in the background as Kathy put out into West River:

To our surprise, the dominant wildlife in the early part of our paddle was jellyfish, and they were abundant:

The shoreline varied from farmland, to what looked like perhaps the original shore of what PEI looked to the early settlers, to large vacation homes and cottages:

Where West River empties into Charlottetown Harbor, we found a flat spit of red sand, with the roots of an old tree, where we stopped for a sip and a rest:

Rounding York Point up into North River, we spotted some recreational boaters, including this boat set up for oystering:

Across North River, we spotted Brighton Light, with Victoria Park and Charlottetown behind it:

On our shore, there were some cute little cottages --

-- and some older farms, beautiful in their own way, but, more importantly, a great blue heron in the foreground, intent on collecting some little fish from the shallow waters in McEwen Creek:

We beached our kayaks at McEwen Creek to have lunch, stretch our legs and look around this beautiful, rich estuarial environment:

The great blue heron that we spotted before we landed flew away as we approached, leaving only his tracks as evidence of his presence before us:

One fellow would not cede his territory to us.  This duck clearly seemed to be in the early vanguard of his kind.  It looked like he had found and staked out the prime nesting site on the small spit of land we were lunching on, and he refused to surrender it to us, even if it meant his life.  We figured he had designs on presenting this prime real estate to an eligible female for nesting purposes:

Out in North River, some people were oystering:

Several properties had boat ramps down to the water.  Some had docks.  Others had isolated stairs and one could imagine they might tie up small boats nearby:

Looking south, we could see the entrance to Charlottetown Harbor, past Rocky Point on the right, where we had visited Port-la-Joye/Fort Amherst National Historic Site.  Last night, from our campsite we watched a huge cruise ship leave Charlottetown Harbor through this narrows as it headed out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, bound for its next port-of-call:

We returned to the sandy spit near York Point where we had first rested, only to find that two other swimmers had taken our spot.  These seals were sunning themselves on the sand, but they started making for the water when they saw us approaching, so we weren't able to get very close to them:

Even so, the younger seal, curious about us, felt safe enough once he was in the water to circle us, about 50 yards away, to find out what sort of wildlife we were:

We rested again for a bit and then headed upwind, into the waves, on a dead course back to our campground.  It was a very hard, physical paddle for over a mile.  Here, Kathy gamely tackles the waves with the red cliffs and forests of PEI behind her:

Whew!  Tired but victorious, we put ashore on the beach by our campground, happy with an afternoon's paddle and all of the wildlife we discovered on our adventure:

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