If you are interested in calm paddling, and cultural exploration on Prince Edward Island’s north shore then Rustico Bay is a great destination for you. Located in the heart of PEI National Park, the Rustico area is one of the most visited places in the province, and for good reason. The coastline here along the Gulf of St. Lawrence is made up of stunning red sandstone cliffs and white sandy beaches. It also boasts the warmest water north of the Carolinas!
Rustico bay is divided into two arms, north and south, and cradle the towns of north and south Rustico. To the south the bay is fed by the Wheatley River and it offers many tranquil places to explore and relax. In the north the bay is fed by the river Clyde. It is also very scenic, but is home to more boat traffic than the south arm. Paddling on the bay itself offers lots of scenery and tons of things to see. The water here is almost always calm and warm, and it is a great place for swimming and snorkeling.
The Rustico area was settled by the Acadians in the 1700’s, and still has a strong French connection today. The Farmer’s Bank in south Rustico is a great place to learn about the rich history of the area. Even the surnames of the local people reflect the number of people of Acadian decent living here.
Rustico also has a very rich fishing history. People have been fishing here for hundreds of years and today Rustico is one of Canada’s most famous ports for Blue Mussels and Blue fin Tuna. Both arms of the bay are dotted with mussel farms (PEI produces 80% of Canada’s mussels) and for several weeks each year you watch the tuna boats come in with their giant catches. There is also a very strong lobster fishery in the area, and during the summer many companies offer deep sea fishing charters.
My favorite part of paddling in Rustico Bay is the birdlife. Several large sandbars throughout the bay are home to thousand of birds, and on any given day you may see Bald Eagles, Osprey, Cormorants, Plovers, Sandpipers, Merlins, Terns, and several species of Ducks and Gulls. Whether or not you are a birder you can’t help but appreciate the sheer numbers and diversity of the area.
For the most part, Rustico Bay is a safe route that can be enjoyed by paddlers of any skill level. Two areas of concern however are the boat channel at North Rustico and the rip currents that are sometimes produced by the outgoing tides. One way to make sure your paddle is a safe one is to book a guide through Outside Expeditions in North Rustico. OE can be reached at www.getoutside.com
From Charlottetown take Route 6 to the Rustico area. Proceed down Harbourview drive (on your right) and launch at road's end or at the beach. It's a great site for year-round paddling.
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Posted By: smburt
- Tue Oct 23 21:15:11 UTC 2007
UpsideAn easy to access half day paddle. Really nice cliffs to paddle beside, and would be very pretty, very early in the morning at magic hour. DownsideCan't think of any, except that there are even nicer regions to paddle about. Commentyou can paddle quite a ways going north, and that puts you into the Cavendish national park where there are beautiful beaches and easy landings.