No matter where you go on the islands, you will see fishing boats either plying their trade, tied up at dock or rotting away in a field! While we were at Belle-Anse, the boats were very active in the waters below us, moving in to throw lobster traps over the side. We are now in peak season and the Madeleines are rich lobster fishing grounds. Even...more
After disembarking from the ferry, if you turn left at the main highway and keep driving straight ahead for a few miles you will hit the coast again at the small village of L'Etang du Nord. Here, you will be greeted by a very impressive monument to the fishermen of the islands. 'Les Pecheurs' was created by Roger Langevin in 1990 and its creative...more
Just outside the community of Fatima, are located the impressive red sandstone cliffs of Belle-Anse (Nice Cove). As with most of the cliffs on the Islands, the land is quite unstable so exercise caution when enjoying the views! I grabbed some of these rocks at one of the beaches and you can literally crumble the rock with your bare hands. As you...more
We decided to check Cap-aux-Meules out for a place to eat on our first night in town. It turned out that we picked a good spot - practically beside where the ferry terminal exodus is located! Although there are a few outside tables with umbrellas, we really found the interior decor of this place to be quite appealing. The main attraction was the...more
A&W is a Canadian fast-food chain, and its food seems to be a slight cut above the rest! On our trips up and down the entire chain of islands, we only saw two fast-food places and they were beside each other in Cap-aux-Meules. Both are Canadian traditions, the A&W and a Tim Horton's doughnut shop (although they also serve very good meals). On our...more
La Patio is a fancy-looking restaurant, with the glassed-in eating area, etc., located next-door to the Auberge Madeli. We went there for our first breakfast on the Islands, after travelling up and down the streets and not seeing anything else (we had missed the A&W which is set back off the street). I do not really have a favourite. We each...more
Due to their islolated location, the Madeleines were plagued by transportation problems for many years - affecting the livelihood of the inhabitants due to shortages of oil, gas and other products required by the fishing industry. As a result, in the winter of 1944 a group of islanders got together to form the "Cooperative of Maritime and Air...more
The map shows the location of the islands off Canada's east coast, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Also shown are the two passenger ferry routes - the blue 2-day voyage from Montreal on the 'Vacancier' and the red 5-hour voyage from PEI on the 'Madeleine'. The islands also have an airport for commercial flights. Shipping gets a little tough in the...more
Once you arrive on the Iles de la Madeleine, you will be greeted by a very good highway system, allowing for easy transportation from one end of the chain to the other. Although we were only on the islands for 3 full days, we ended up putting 500 km on our car just meandering around. We never felt like we had to rush anywhere because it does not...more
As experienced during our trip to Newfoundland in 2001, we noticed that the local vegetation was dominated by the ever-present force of the wind. Barely sticking up out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, no tree along the coast dares to raise itself up too high on penalty of having its top blown off! 'Tuckamore' was the term used in Newfoundland to describe wind-knarled vegetation such as this example at Belle-Anse. Also notice the slant on the bushes on the horizon!
During our brief 3-days on the Islands, we did not have the chance to take a boat ride out to Ile D'Entree, located not too far off the main port of Cap-aux-Meules. This small island of 130 souls, mainly of Scots and Irish descent live a separate existance from the rest of the islands. During the summer months there is a ferry for pedestrians and cyclists, but air transport is the only option during the winter. The island's high point of Big Hill, at 530 feet, is the highest elevation above sea level in the whole of the Madeleines. While leaving on the ferry, we were talking to a group of naturalists from Ontario who had been out for a hike the day before. They totally enjoyed the experience of hiking in the green treeless valleys of the hills, and, from the ferry we could see horses running free in the mountain valleys. It looks like a place well worth a visit if you get a chance!
While observing the main harbour at Cap-aux-Meules, I noticed an impressive looking steel-hulled 3-masted sailboat at anchor. It turns out that the 'Sedna IV' is at rest in its home port. This 51-metre, 394 ton vessel started her life in 1957 when built in Hamburg, Germany as a North Sea fishing trawler. She was completely rebuilt in 1992 and now...more
After driving south from our final day excursion to parts of the northern islands, we stopped in Cap-aux-Mueles to climb a steep set of stairs to a great lookout over the harbour. At anchor in the harbour was the CTMA cruise ship 'Vacancier' which does a 2-day trip from Montreal. She then stays anchored for 3-days while the passengers do their...more