Some of the best places to go paddling on P.E.I.
From Malpeque Bay to Fortune River, here are some favourites of avid paddlers
As an island, P.E.I. lends itself to water sports of all kinds in the summer — including kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding.
We asked avid paddlers to share their favourite spots.
James Manning, the lead paddle guide at The Paddle Shack in Summerside, P.E.I., suggests paddling on the section of the West River right beside Bonshaw Provincial Park (also known as the Bonshaw River in that spot).
"The reasons for this are the sheltered water, diverse nature including bald eagles, blue heron (king fisher), tons of rabbits, foxes, and other land animals that you can see," he said in an email.
He recommends paddling at high tide.
"You are able to go further upstream into more richly inhabited environments," he said.
Chad Dingwell of Paddles on Fortune River in Fortune Bridge, P.E.I., says Fortune River is his "favourite spot, hands down."
"It's eight kilometres long, with the southern part exposed to rolling hills, cottages, and farms. The northern part is treed on both sides providing shelter and views of the wildlife in the area," he said in an email.
"This winding river is a tidal river, so the water is slow moving and makes it easy and calm for all paddlers."
Kenneth Sanderson, who has been working as a guide at Outside Expeditions for eight years, says his favourite paddle starts at the beach in North Rustico, P.E.I., and heads west along the cliffs toward Cavendish.
"It offers excellent shelter from ... prevailing winds (south/southwest). On calm clear days you can spot lobster and crabs just a few feet under your kayak [or stand up paddle board]," he said in an email.
He said this spot is best suited to intermediate paddlers — and that the area gets dangerous surf at times, so paddlers should check conditions before they go.
"Also many easy places to launch from along North Rustico Beach, if you are looking to avoid the chaos of the North Rustico Harbour," he added.
Anne Murray, owner of Malpeque Bay Kayak Tours and a kayaker of 45 years, recommends Malpeque Bay — but also offers this caution.
"Malpeque Bay is compared to a lion sleeping. You never know when the lion will wake up and roar. The roar is the waves and the white teeth are the whitecaps on the water," said Murray in an email. "We can never underestimate the ocean."
She said the highlight of the trip is circumnavigating Ram Island — which she said also offers relief to paddlers, as the water surrounding it is quite shallow, meaning they can stand up and walk if they capsize.
She added that Ram Island is "busy as a tourism site for birds in summer but it is endorsed in nature at it's best."
"Someone whispers, 'There's an eagle.' The challenge is to see how close we can paddle up to one of those raptors," she wrote.
"Gulls are nesting in the fields, double breasted cormorants are perched on the trees breeding their youth, blue herons are frozen in the water, getting ready to snap up a crab, cliff swallows are flying in and out of their nests feeding their babies and other waterfowl are lingering for food or basking in the sun."