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Published: July 13th 2013
"Unforgettable, that's what you are
Unforgettable, though near or far"
Nat "King" Cole got us off to a velvet start today as we headed out of Halifax for Prince Edward Island.
First, a note about Halifax that I left out yesterday. On December 6, 1917, an ammunition ship blew up in Halifax harbor after colliding at slow speed with another ship. THe collision started a fire and the ship drifted out of control to the area of Pier 6, then exploded with the force of about 2400 metric tons of TNT, the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons ( the "Little Boy" bomb dropped on Hiroshima was give a yield of about 16,000 tons of TNT, while the "Fat Man" dropped Nagasaki yielded about 21,000 tons). The effect, occurring immediately next to the shore, was catastrophic. About 2000 people were killed, and the entire Richmond District was leveled. Pieces of gear from the munitions ship weighing 517 kilograms were found about 3 kilometers from the blast site. Boston immediately sent a great deal of aid, and close relationships between the two cities remain in effect today.
Halifax, we re-traced our route back to Amherst and then north to Prince Edward Island. Prince Edward Island is quite different from the other places we have been in the maritime provinces. It consists of rolling hills, and is largely fringed with wonderful sand beaches with guardian dunes. This probably results from the fact that PEI is really just a giant sand and gravel deposit from the glacial age, compacted into sandstone in areas. The island was originally connected to the mainland, but the rising waters that resulted as the ice caps melted, and the recoil rising of the island as the weight of the glaciers was removed, resulted in it being an island with hills and valleys. Potato farming and tourism are the principal industries, and the north side inlets are carpeted with strings of mussel lines growing the famous PEI mussels. We saw scores of people headed to the beaches with the usual beach paraphernalia, and the scene frankly looked about as it would in South Carolina.
In addition to seeing the beaches and dunes, our goal was to see the Green Gables site. Anne of Green Gables
was published by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908, and
immediately became a best-seller. It has since been translated into at least 17 languages, and led to a succession of other books by the same author, all but one set on PEI. It has sold over 50 million copies, and is still widely read by an audience that now probably consists mostly of young girls. The current site is on the location where the original book was set, but the original house was lost and the currently building is a replica, but with furnishings original to the period. The site preserves the Haunted Woods and Lovers' Lane, both of which can be hiked.
After our visit, we made our way to Charlottetown and went to a local public where we ate very definitely not-heart-healthy and drank not-liver-healthy quantities of local beer. We are spending the night in an historic inn operating as a bed and breakfast.
Tomorrow: long day as we go through the Cape Breton Headlands and on to Sydney NS where the next day we will board the ferry for Newfoundland.
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