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Author Topic: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands  (Read 10628 times)

ghYHZ

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Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« on: September 13, 2015, 03:15:26 PM »

I’ve always thought of Islands as neat places to visit....especially if the road trip involves a ferry crossing and all the better if it’s two ferries each way!

And for me......close to home is the Magdalen Islands....or Iles de la Madeleine. An archipelago of six main islands linked by dunes and sandbars....stretching 80 km in the middle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The islands are a part of Quebec but the inhabitants are mostly Acadian (same ancestry as Louisiana’s Cajuns) ......and the culture, food and scenery make for a great trip!

http://www.tourismeilesdelamadeleine.com/en/

Map......

http://tinyurl.com/MagdalenIslandsMap

Here’s a shot of the southern end of the islands reflecting in the morning sun I took from an Air Canada flight.



I left home taking Nova Scotia’s TCH104.....then TCH106 for the 55 minute drive to Caribou where I boarded Northumberland Ferries ‘Holiday Island’ over to Prince Edward Island. This is a former CNR Ferry that was transferred here when the Confederation Bridge opened 1997.  It’s a very functional double-decker but looking more like a parking lot that floated out to sea.









After the 75 minute crossing I had another 55 minute drive to Souris PEI (sounds like Surry). I knew the routes I was taking (4 & 2)....but others were faced with this congested looking overhead sign to make a quick decision in heavy ferry traffic leaving the terminal.



PEI Route 2 ends at the access road to the C.T.M.A. (Cooperative de Transports Maritime et Aerien) Ferry Terminal where I had a short wait for the ‘Madeleine’ and the 2 pm crossing. 


http://www.traversierctma.ca/en/











« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 03:21:21 PM by ghYHZ »
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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2015, 03:16:11 PM »



The 5 hour afternoon crossing was a bit wet and foggy with an arrival in Cap-aux-Meules at 7pm.





The rain cleared overnight.....giving way to sun the next morning for a couple of days touring the islands.



I stopped into the ‘Info Touristique’ to pick up a map and guidebook.  QC199 is the main road linking the Islands across the dunes and stretching 85km from Havre Aubert in the south to Grande-Entree in the north.





In Havre Aubert the highway ends at the public wharf.  A section of road has been relocated due to severe cliff erosion.









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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2015, 03:16:53 PM »





And more erosion and a slight detour on the road from the lighthouse



Driving back Cap-aux-Meules on the Dune connecting with Ile du Havre Aubert.

















« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 03:22:11 PM by ghYHZ »
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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2015, 03:17:37 PM »

Heading north, a new bridge connects Cap-aux-Meules with Havre-aux-Maisons where the airport is located.











.....then continuing north on the Dune du Nord to the end of QC199 at the wharf in Grande-Entree. Here a Roundabout is under construction.   















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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2015, 03:19:08 PM »









There are some beautiful white sandy beaches where the water temperatures in late August reach the 70s.....especially in the lagoons along the dunes and sandbars.   



 Then back south to the main island of Cap-aux-Meules








« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 03:55:17 PM by ghYHZ »
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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2015, 03:20:03 PM »

Power for the Islands is supplied by Hydro Quebec’s six 11,000 kw diesel generators. Tours are offered but I missed the last one of the day. 





Saturday evening it was time to head for ‘Gare Maritime’ in Cap aux Meules  (Grindstone Harbour) and  the 8pm crossing back to PEI. The ‘Madeleine’ can be seen approaching the harbour with Ile d’Entree in the background























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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2015, 03:20:35 PM »

Arrival back in Souris was at 1am. I then drove down to the Nova Scotia ferry....threw the sleeping bag in the back seat and slept until the first crossing a 6:30am that had me home at 9 on Sunday morning. 



Leaving the Caribou Ferry Terminal on TCH106....I noticed this sign uses a NS106 Shield.....not Trans Canada 106.




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1995hoo

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2015, 03:29:13 PM »

Would that style of Nova Scotia shield even be appropriate north of the roundabout at Pictou? I recall the road not being up to the standard on which that marker is normally used, whereas south of the roundabout it certainly was.

Nice pictures, BTW. I've seen the islands from the air on the subsonic routing back from Heathrow (the supersonic routing stayed off Nova Scotia to the east due to the sonic boom), but I doubt I'll ever get to visit. We've kicked around the idea of a golf vacation on PEI, but the ferry trip out to the islands would not interest my wife.
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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2015, 04:03:17 PM »

Would that style of Nova Scotia shield even be appropriate north of the roundabout at Pictou? I recall the road not being up to the standard on which that marker is normally used, whereas south of the roundabout it certainly was.

Yes....constructed to the same standard both north and south of the roundabout at Pictou. Here's an older post with photos on the north end near the ferry terminal:

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=4336.msg95093#msg95093
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oscar

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2015, 04:05:58 PM »

Awesome photos! Good to see several of the bluffs which are my favorite geological feature of the Iles (though the long, curved sandy beaches, which you visited at a much better time of the summer than I did, aren't bad either).
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2015, 04:59:44 PM »

Thanks for posting these photos.  It seems like an interesting place to visit.
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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2015, 06:22:49 PM »

Thanks for posting these photos.  It seems like an interesting place to visit.

+1 for me. I've wanted to go east of Quebec city and see NB, NS, PEI and NF, but I haven't yet. Next year will hopefully be northern Ontario for me though.

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2015, 08:56:03 PM »

A few questions/comments:

- What time of year did you take this trip?

- What was the typical speed limit along QC 199?

- Noticed a traffic signal next to a church in one of the photos.  Can't imagine there's a lot of need for signals.
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oscar

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2015, 09:25:59 PM »

Jumping in ahead of ghYHZ, from my own 2013 visit to the islands:

Speed limits up to 90 km/h, though that's only between towns.

I was surprised to see the photo of the traffic light in front of the church, because traffic lights are mostly scarce and unnecessary -- IIRC, not even one at the ferry terminal entrance, which gets congested after ferry arrivals and before departures. Betcha the one at the church is the only one in the islands, and is mainly for Sunday morning rush hour.
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xcellntbuy

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2015, 09:33:26 PM »

Absolutely wonderful photos. :clap:
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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2015, 03:58:18 AM »

A few questions/comments:

- What time of year did you take this trip?

- What was the typical speed limit along QC 199?

- Noticed a traffic signal next to a church in one of the photos.  Can't imagine there's a lot of need for signals.


- Two weeks ago….Aug 27, 28, 29, 30.

- 90 as Oscar said and 50 through town.

- Those at the Church were always showing green every time I passed, so yes…..probably just a Sunday morning thing but I did note at least two other sets of signals along Chemin Principal in Cap-aux-Meules. 
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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2015, 12:15:25 PM »

Upon further review, the signal at the church appears to be a pedestrian crossing signal and not for a side road.
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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2015, 09:41:20 PM »

I've wanted to visit Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine for a while now.  Not sure when I'll get out there though.  I plan to go through PEI on my trip to the Halifax meet next year, but the ferry to Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine is quite expensive... it makes the PEI crossings look like a bargain!
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1995hoo

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2015, 10:37:35 PM »

I've wanted to visit Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine for a while now.  Not sure when I'll get out there though.  I plan to go through PEI on my trip to the Halifax meet next year, but the ferry to Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine is quite expensive... it makes the PEI crossings look like a bargain!

You could always look into flying out for a day or two if you don't mind detouring to Bathurst. There's a local airline that flies between Bathurst and Havre-Aubert. I didn't price it out, so I don't know how the money part would work out, but it's got to be faster than the ferry. (I know you've said you dislike flying because of the TSA. I don't know whether Canadian airport security is less obnoxious. The last time I flew out of Vancouver the security personnel were far more polite and professional than the TSA, although I suspect it still wouldn't be up your alley.)
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oscar

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2015, 10:56:37 PM »

I've wanted to visit Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine for a while now.  Not sure when I'll get out there though.  I plan to go through PEI on my trip to the Halifax meet next year, but the ferry to Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine is quite expensive... it makes the PEI crossings look like a bargain!

Yes. The other thing is, if you go to the Iles when only once-a-day ferry service is available in each direction (as with my trip in June 2013), you'll want to spend two nights in the Iles to allow a full day for exploring, instead of leaving the morning after your evening arrival. And if you go late enough in the summer for twice-a-day ferry service, you probably should still spend at least two nights, since that's when it'll be warm enough to plan some beach time.

ghYHZ, how expensive are the lodgings in the high season? I don't recall it being horribly expensive in early summer at the Château Madelinot, which was reasonably nice and has a restaurant, but not the only option.

You could always look into flying out for a day or two if you don't mind detouring to Bathurst. There's a local airline that flies between Bathurst and Havre-Aubert. I didn't price it out, so I don't know how the money part would work out, but it's got to be faster than the ferry. (I know you've said you dislike flying because of the TSA. I don't know whether Canadian airport security is less obnoxious. The last time I flew out of Vancouver the security personnel were far more polite and professional than the TSA, although I suspect it still wouldn't be up your alley.)

The ferry is about five hours each way.

Airport security in Canada is definitely less rude than in the U.S. And sometimes you don't even have to go through security, especially if the flight is a turboprop rather than a jet (even my cross-Nunavut jet flights were blessedly TSA-free). But flying to the Iles, you'd probably need to rent a car there to get around at a reasonable pace.
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Pete from Boston

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2015, 07:21:09 AM »


I've wanted to visit Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine for a while now.  Not sure when I'll get out there though.  I plan to go through PEI on my trip to the Halifax meet next year, but the ferry to Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine is quite expensive... it makes the PEI crossings look like a bargain!

Yes. The other thing is, if you go to the Iles when only once-a-day ferry service is available in each direction (as with my trip in June 2013), you'll want to spend two nights in the Iles to allow a full day for exploring, instead of leaving the morning after your evening arrival. And if you go late enough in the summer for twice-a-day ferry service, you probably should still spend at least two nights, since that's when it'll be warm enough to plan some beach time.

ghYHZ, how expensive are the lodgings in the high season? I don't recall it being horribly expensive in early summer at the Château Madelinot, which was reasonably nice and has a restaurant, but not the only option.

You could always look into flying out for a day or two if you don't mind detouring to Bathurst. There's a local airline that flies between Bathurst and Havre-Aubert. I didn't price it out, so I don't know how the money part would work out, but it's got to be faster than the ferry. (I know you've said you dislike flying because of the TSA. I don't know whether Canadian airport security is less obnoxious. The last time I flew out of Vancouver the security personnel were far more polite and professional than the TSA, although I suspect it still wouldn't be up your alley.)

The ferry is about five hours each way.

Airport security in Canada is definitely less rude than in the U.S. And sometimes you don't even have to go through security, especially if the flight is a turboprop rather than a jet (even my cross-Nunavut jet flights were blessedly TSA-free). But flying to the Iles, you'd probably need to rent a car there to get around at a reasonable pace.

I know folks who got around there comfortably by bike, so there's always that option.  Seems like manageable distances.
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oscar

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2015, 08:15:37 AM »

But flying to the Iles, you'd probably need to rent a car there to get around at a reasonable pace.

I know folks who got around there comfortably by bike, so there's always that option.  Seems like manageable distances.

About 85 km from one end of QC 199 to the other.
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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2015, 11:36:01 AM »

I've wanted to visit Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine for a while now.  Not sure when I'll get out there though.  I plan to go through PEI on my trip to the Halifax meet next year, but the ferry to Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine is quite expensive... it makes the PEI crossings look like a bargain!

Cross over to PEI on the ferry than come back on the bridge…..it’s cheaper. The ferry is free going over and to return on the bridge….$45. The other way.... would be free on the bridge but $75 to return on the ferry.

The Magdalen ferry rate is comparable to other ferries in Canada for a similar distance. I paid $150 each way but if I had waited 2 weeks to the the start of the low season which happens to be today…..it drops to $100 each way.
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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2015, 11:37:45 AM »

I've wanted to visit Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine for a while now.  Not sure when I'll get out there though.  I plan to go through PEI on my trip to the Halifax meet next year, but the ferry to Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine is quite expensive... it makes the PEI crossings look like a bargain!

You could always look into flying out for a day or two if you don't mind detouring to Bathurst. There's a local airline that flies between Bathurst and Havre-Aubert. I didn't price it out, so I don't know how the money part would work out, but it's got to be faster than the ferry. (I know you've said you dislike flying because of the TSA. I don't know whether Canadian airport security is less obnoxious. The last time I flew out of Vancouver the security personnel were far more polite and professional than the TSA, although I suspect it still wouldn't be up your alley.)

There is also Pescan Aviation flying between Bonaventure,Quebec (on the Gaspe Peninsula) and the Magdalens. About a 50 minute flight.
 
https://www.pascan.com/en/

My encounters with airport security here: CATSA, have always been professional. But like any organization….there’s always some bad apples too.

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ghYHZ

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Re: Road Trip to the Magdalen Islands
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2015, 11:41:53 AM »


ghYHZ, how expensive are the lodgings in the high season? I don't recall it being horribly expensive in early summer at the Château Madelinot, which was reasonably nice and has a restaurant, but not the only option.


I paid $131 + tax at the Hotel Madelinot (very nice….clean, basic hotel) but I see the low-season rate has now dropped to $111.

PS….aren’t you all getting a nice little 25% discount now anyway? :)
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