ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

An Icy Winter Crossing to Prince Edward Island

Updated on December 18, 2016
juneaukid profile image

Richard F. Fleck is author of two dozen books, his latest being Desert Rims to Mountains High and Thoreau & Muir Among the Native Americans.

Winter Crossing to Prince Edward Island

Arriving Ferryboat at Prince Edward Island
Arriving Ferryboat at Prince Edward Island | Source
Icy Crossing to Prince Edward Island
Icy Crossing to Prince Edward Island | Source
Anderson Farm in Winter
Anderson Farm in Winter | Source

A Winter Crossing to Prince Edward Island

Just a few days earlier (a half century ago), I was taking notes in a French literature class at Rutgers, but today I rode a bus past the Canadian border into the province of New Brunswick with its sweeping forests of black spruce and balsam fir. Though it was springtime in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in New Brunswick, Canada patches of crusty snow lined the highway at the edge of the woods.

It felt good to be in Micmac country whose legends abound in forest ogres like Jenu ready to jump into a peaceful camp of Indian hunters hundreds of years ago. Here the air was fresh with the scent of balsam fir far northeast of industrial New Jersey with its oil refineries and linoleum factories more than scenting the air. The bus raced past occasional white farm houses on a bit of cleared land bearing future crops of potatoes.

Staring out the bus window, I was getting anxious to arrive at Mocton, New Brunswick where I would take a shuttle to the ferry terminal and board a ship bound for Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. But, wait a minute, I was in for a big surprise at Moncton in the midst of a wintry March--the tidal bore of the Petitcodiac River. Since I had more than an hour in Moncton, I ambled over to the shoreline of the Petitcodiac. Within a few moments I heard an earth-shattering noise and could not believe my eyes. A huge brown bulging wave crashed upstream from the Bay of Fundy, known for its gigantic tides of over thirty-five feet. This bore moved with such force against the river's current that it heaved blocks of ice to the shore like the Micmac legendary giant Glooscap himself. How quickly it moved. Thick pan ice proved to be no match for this tidal bore. Crunch, crash, smash and bash--the ice piled up along the shore as Glooscap moved northwestward and upstream for miles on end, only to reform itself when the tide in the bay became low. Then the bore would flow in reverse downstream along with the strong current.of the Petitcodiac River.

John Muir once wrote that the world was not created in just six days, Nature's force is still at work in the glacial valleys of Alaska. Here, the Pewtitcodiac River knows no rest.

Before I knew it, time had come for me to catch the shuttle to the ferryboat, and at sundown (see digital image) I boarded the ship surrounded with three-feet of strangling ice; yet in New Jersey the forsythia bushes were already in bloom to punctuate a Rutgers spring break. No forsythia here, just hungry sea gulls mewing and laughing as they flew behind the ferryboat beginning its heroic journey through ice.

Since I was just as hungry as the sea gulls, I quickly entered the cafeteria to get some hot food and a steaming cup of coffee. As I ate my dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, I couldn't help but notice a dignified, white-haired elderly lady nervously sipping her tea as the ship ground and creaked its way through thick ice that rattled the ship as though it were being attacked by a giant squid. Each time the ship rattled, she quickly put down her teacup into its saucer only to have it rattle along with everything else.

"Not to worry," I said to her. "We'll be there in an hour's time."

"But such an hour!" she exclaimed.

By the time we did arrive just outside of Charlottetown, it had become dark and windy with the ferryboat lights reflected on the ice. The distinct odor of coal smoke filled the air with each home's chimney contributing its fair share. It was good to enter my cozy hotel room overlooking the harbor lights way out on Prince Edward Island where I would contact a friend of a friend to visit his snowy farm the next day in Morrell.

His wife served a marvelous meal of baked ham with roasted potatoes along with homemade mustard relish full of whole pickles and cocktail onions. Mr. Anderson invited me to return in the late summer, before school stated again, to work, along with his youngest son Thane, on the farm harvesting potatoes out of the bright red soil of a warm and sunny Prince Edward Island. I knew that I would return.

The captain announced over the PA that we would soon be flying over Newfoundland and that we should be landing at sunrise in the rugged little country of Iceland.

Note: Readers interested in knowing more about Micmac legends and stories should see the book Six Micmac Stories, Edited by Ruth Holmes Whitehead. Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 1992. Canadians call Prince Edward Island "Spud Island" because of its famous, tasty potatoes.

Prince Edward Island is the setting of the famous novel Anne of the Green Gables.

Prince Edward Island

Icebound Seas

Have you ever crossed icebound seas in a ship?

See results

© 2012 Richard Francis Fleck


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • juneaukid profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      We've been to Iceland and back as the series is now in 7 parts.

    • juneaukid profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thanks very much cam8510. We'll be flying to Iceland next week but wanted to place before Iceland memories of Maritime Canada

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Hartford, CT

      I enjoyed this very much. I traveled in Newfoundland and nova Scotia with my family and rode the tidal bore on the shubenacady (sp) river. We also visited Iceland and loved every minute of our days there. Thanks for bringing back some special memories.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)