North Point

I was up for the sunrise this morning. The day started out as a beautiful, warm day, clear sky and the Gulf was as calm as a mill pond. After taking in the sunrise, I went back to bed. Nothing around here opens until 9:30. After failing to discover any new fundamental insights into my great grandfather, Thomas Brennan, I decided to return to the Genealogical Center to see of they could locate an obituary on my two times great grandfather, John Brennan. I reasoned that if his son, my great great uncle, John P Brennan, installed such a magnificent monument, he may have run an obituary, just to let everyone know that it has him that installed the stone.

No luck. No Obituary. I thrashed through mostly of the same information, but did find a census from 1881. Thomas was on the census, and his age was listed as 29 years old. That would be cause for celebration; except for the naturalization paperwork he filled out that indicated he arrived in the US in 1880. The 1900 census indicates that census indicated that he arrived in 1878. Apparently back then they were allowed to ask if you were a citizen or not. Of course, there may have been a minimum waiting time, even back then, and you needed to be able to vote so you could get a job, so you needed to be a citizen. Possibly he fudged the truth to get the job. Oh, 19th century problems. Seems we don’t have any of those problems today.

While I was at the genealogical center, a man came and knocked on the door to inquire who owned the RV parked outside. Seems that he was moving a house and was concerned that he might hit the RV. Would I be kind enough to move it? We had a big laugh about the possibility of a house hitting my RV. I explained that all my friends would never believe that it was the house that hit it, and not the other way around.  I moved the RV and found a lilac bush in full bloom. It smelled beautiful. Louise was certainly with me then.

I left the center, pulled over down the road at a section of beach, had a little lunch, and headed off, along the coast, to North Point. I initially thought about going to see the bottle houses and the Cajun Cultural center, but they’re south near Summerside, so I’ll visit them tomorrow. It was off to North Point and a nice picturesque drive.

North Point is filled with a collection of wind turbines. They have a visitor’s center, restaurant and gift shop there. The utility is pretty slick. They charge $4.00 Canadian so you can be informed about the benefits of wind power. The display filled four rooms, and was relatively interesting, but the information presented was directly from the annual financial prospectus distributed to shareholders. There was some information about North Point, the lighthouse and how the lighthouse has been moved several times because of erosion. Smart people here. They build wooden light houses, not the big masonry ones in the United States. They’re much easier to move. I was a still a little miffed that they got me for the four bucks. Tough managers here.

They tout a stone reef as an attraction. I walked along the cliffs that make up North Point and decided that I’d walk out as far as I could to the reef. The tide was coming in, but there was only a couple of inches of water over the section closest to land. There was something laying on the above water portion of the reef. I thought that it was possibly a seal. Wrong, two abandoned lobster pots. It turns out that the ‘rock reef’, the only one in America, is a tidal bar made of cobbles. Great public relations. They got me out on walking on that reef.

I’m used to salt water teeming with life. Crabs, anenomies, a multitude of seaweed, sea urchins, small fish, shrimps, crabs, etc. The water he was unnaturally clear. There were only three or four species of seaweed, and they were few and far between. I saw some really small invertebrates, they looked like shrimp that were an eight of an inch long, if that. There were two crabs, both under 4”.  I’m not sure what’s going on ecologically, but the sea looked pretty barren. Maybe I was just in the wrong spot.

One of the things I wanted to eat in PEI was some oysters. They are reputed to be the best anywhere, and if you’re going to travel, you should experience. I love to have oysters with a good martini. The restaurant at the interpretative center served oysters and had a bar. The tip off should have been the fact that the bartender, a lovely young college age woman, didn’t know how to make a martini. She gave it her best, but she admitted that her bartending consisted of pouring beer and wine and an occasional vodka tonic. I could really taste the vermouth; I couldn’t taste or smell the gin. There were olives in it.  The oysters were the perfect size. I think that when you eat an oyster, you should be mystically transported to the ocean with crashing waves, have the smell of the sea mist in your nose, and the salty taste of the sea on your tongue.  It didn’t happen. My friend Malcolm, who lives on the eastern shore, raises his own oysters. They are served fresh from the water, and are brilliant. They need Malcolm in PEI.

I was undecided about what to see next, so I decided to return to Tignish. I wanted to take another look at that monument marking my great great grandfather and grandmother’s grave. After traveling around PEI, it’s apparent that everyone appears to be happy and industrious, they take care of what they have; there are no houses needing repair, unpainted, cars filling the property, like I’ve seen elsewhere. The big but is, no one here seems to be rolling in the dough. They all seem comfortable, but no one seems rich. Farming, fishing and lumbering keeps you busy through all the seasons, but doesn’t seem to put gold doubloons in your pockets. My great great uncle must have done really well, and loved his father very much to erect such a monument.

I travel with more tools that I really need and stuff I think is important, not that I really need that either. After at least 118 years, there was lichen growing on the monument. I tried cleaning it off with my hand the fist day there, ineffectually. I had some 3M style scrubbing pads, So, I cleaned the memorial. Someone has been paying attention to it over the years, as on the upper portion of the monument, someone had laid down a very precise seam of silicone to prevent water entering a crack. The upper cross, with IHS carved into it has a crack. I’ll contact a distant cousin on that. I never met the man or woman, never heard a story about him, never knew who he was, heck, I didn’t really know his name until the day or two before. He’s family, and family matters. It looked good. I wish I knew something more about him, other than he farmed and raised a family.

I returned to the campsite, the sunset was beautiful, dinner was grilled chicken and leftover French fries. There was a couple from Vermont camping next to me, and when I made my fire, they came over; we had a couple of drinks, talked and watched the night enshroud us.

Great day. One to be repeated, if you could.