Everybody needs to see Prince Edward Island. It’s nice to grow up here, a teenage girl at the gift shop in Cavendish, PEI, told me. In between, you have to leave to explore. But, I’d come back.
The 75-minute ferry ride over from Caribou, Nova Scotia to Wood Islands, PEI was a dream. To think this all happened by fluke! This morning when I left the airbnb where I was staying, I had my GPS set for 3.5 hours, no tolls, to PEI (but then changed to tolls to lessen the distance). Ninety minutes in my journey, I see a booth, and behind it, a ferry dock. If my eyes could have paved a road across the sea, it would have, the way I stared in total bewilderment. How did this happen? Ed, the booth guy came out to explain after I parked on the side of his booth. I requested his time, so as not to block the other drivers behind me. I needed more than a speedy, tell-me-what-to-do-now speech. I needed Ed to lay out my options clearly, so that I could logically make a good decision:
The GPS will always take you to the ferry because it’s the shorter route, so that’s what happened. Now, if you were to drive back to Truro, that’ll take you an hour. From there to the bridge, another hour. You’d get to Charlottetown about 3 o’clock this afternoon. Whereas, if you wait here for an hour and a half for the ferry. The ferry leaves here at 1pm. It’ll take you 75 minutes to get across. From there, an hour to Charlottetown. So, you’re pretty much looking at the same amount of time. You know you don’t pay to get on. You pay when you’re coming back. What does that mean? So what if I don’t come back. You don’t pay. You only pay when you’re getting out of PEI. Wow. Why is that? Well, the government of Canada has come to an arrangement where they subsidize part of the cost. You can pay $78 by ferry when you’re coming back, or you pay $48 by bridge. So, right now, it depends on what method you feel like taking. Drive or take the ferry. The answer was clear. Ferry it is! It was only 11:30 am when I arrived, but by the time Ed and I ended our talk, 15 minutes had flown by. There is a small cafe across the parking lot, you can grab something to eat while you wait. Park your car in lane 10 right at the front. Thanks Ed.
By 12:30, not even an hour after I finished speaking with Ed, the loud speakers were beckoning drivers to get back into their vehicles, to prepare for the ferry. In synchronized fashion, the vehicles followed the instructions of the man in front. We parked, and climbed up the deck. I went all the way up to the top of the deck, so that I could get a better view. There was a bit of wind, but every once in a while the sun came from behind the clouds. The sea was glistening. Unlike at Peggy’s cove, the sea was calm and controlled. The tiny rippling waves reflected the colour of the grey puffy clouds above. The sun was playful on my face, making my layers of clothes extra warm. The ferry was moving swiftly across the water. All of this was an experience I’d never had before. I wonder if I could spot a shark in these waters?
How can I explain how peacefully content I was? How sanguine I felt about this decision, to see PEI, travel around Canada, to just live my dream. The only thought I had now is how could I keep doing this, instead of having to go back to work? Thanks to my GPS, I didn’t have to drive across the Confederation bridge, though I’m sure that would have been a different kind of extraordinary. I wanted more of this experience, and I couldn’t wait to see what PEI was going to be like.
In an organized fashion, the speaker beckoned everyone to their vehicles again, as the boat was preparing to dock. The time flew by so quickly. Then, once again, the vehicles drove down the ramp in perfect order, not a car out of line.
In PEI, I had two activities scheduled: A tour of Anne of Green Gables, and a City Tour. I already booked an airbnb to spend the night on a farmhouse, or was it a house on a farm? Well either way, it looked like an ordinary house on the airbnb website. After a long day already, all I wanted was to drive to my accommodations, and stay there, instead of rushing into things. After leaving the boat, there was a feeling of this stripping away of my schedules, plans, and expectations. By the time I started driving in PEI, all I desired was to be in the presence of the moment; taking in one candy-like, Alice-in-Wonderland experience moment by moment. Every second, something new captured my attention. The running layers of trees of different shades of colours, the bed of red blanket covering the soil, the bright green grass that spread for miles, the fresh blue sky making itself so visible, that the cotton like clouds had to bundle themselves elsewhere. I was in paradise, and I didn’t want the experience to end.