Our initial plans, back in Quebec City, were to go to Iles-de-la-Madeleine, a 89-hour trip. After our experience with many long days and nights, we decided to forgo the islands and follow the coast of New Brunswick with a couple of stays on Prince-Edward Island.
On the chart, there's a cautionary message: "Owing to changing conditions, range lights and buoys may be changed to indicate the best channels. Should not attempt to enter without local knowledge ....". Well ... beware! Some buoys on the chartplotter are not at the real location and vice versa. Example, we planned on entering Miramich through a channel following the buoys we could see. At a certain point, Frank suddenly turned around when he noticed that we were in less than 6 feet of water - the chartplotter showed 8 feet. It was the end of the afternoon, we were looking forward to happy hour once anchored. Instead we decided on another channel and anchorage arriving 3 hours later. The silver lining of this experience was the opportunity I had to see the weather forecast and determine that our anchorage had to be secure for 36 hours as a big storm was going through our area the following day. We didn't want to travel in a storm.
So after 2 long travel days, we had a quiet day snugged in at Miramichi, Bay of Wine - so appropriate! LOL! I baked some muffins for another long day tomorrow. Daniele attempted fishing dinner (we had ribs as Plan B). We played cards - Richard lost so he did the dishes.
The challenge of this Strait is tidal currents coming from both sides of PEI. It makes voyage planning complex and uncertain due to our lack of local knowledge and experience. In the Strait so far (we're now August 17 in Summerside), we've had a few long (15-17 hours) days due to currents, waves and winds. We've spent our days reading, playing cards and laughing a lot. What a joy to have Daniele and Richard with us. They're the perfect crew: They help a lot, don't complain and we enjoy good conversations and laughs.
From Miramichi, we encountered more than 100 buoys identifying the location of crab/lobster cages, more than 50 fishing boats. We kept a lookout to avoid sailing over these buoys. Our trip looked like an obstacle course. Once we got to Summerside, we were told that the fishermen would have been happy to give us a few lobsters if we approached their boat and asked. Darn! We missed our opportunity .... for now.
We're staying in Summerside for 3 nights due to weather. We shoud be in Charlottetown on Friday. Summerside marina is ok. The pump out is not working; the facilities are acceptable; the restaurant is awesome; and the staff is friendly and helpful. One of the long-established wealthy families of Summerside - the Holman's - gave their historic and spacious (they had 10 kids) house to the city. It is now an ice cream parlor, for us the best so far. The ice cream is handcrafted and made of local, natural ingredients. The list of flavors changes every day! Heaven!