A Scaled Back PEI Ferry Service

Holiday Island

How exactly did anyone not see the possibility of this happening? 

The much-depended on ferry service connecting Caribou Nova Scotia to Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island is going to be somewhat scaled back for the remainder of the 2016 sailing season. During the busy tourism season, the service is dependent on two ships being completely operation. The MV Confederation is now dealing with extra sailings to keep up with the demand. The MV Holiday Island remains in a Quebec drydock, burdened with problems. Problems which will keep her from returning to the Northumberland Strait this 2016 summer season.

In 2012, I wrote a story about the second M.V. Abegweit, scrapped at Alang India in 2004. Like the Holiday Island, the Abby was a ship that sailed on the other PEI Ferry route from Borden Prince Edward Island to Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick. There was only a ten year age difference between the Abby and the Holiday Island.

The Confederation Bridge remains the most vital link to Prince Edward Island. The ferry service remains equally important. When sailing season commences, people expect it to be there. Successive governments have lobbied hard to keep it going. Now, elected officials and citizens as rightfully asking for a backup plan. It is probable that there would be no possible way financially to have three ferries running the remaining service line. Maybe people thought the demand in the summer would not be as high.

I still have fond memories of multiple ferries running both routes when there was only the one way off the Island. One would leave dock, then another would come in. Then another. I cannot count the number of times a ferry would have to hold position while they awaited clearance to dock. Another one had to leave to clear the roadway.

abby 1982

Gone but not forgotten, the MV Abegweit (1982)

One cannot help wonder again why the Holiday Island was kept in favour of the Abegweit? Given the ship’s age, how could no one possibly see this coming? The Holiday Island might have been a ship that could have been more easily sold. Her sister ship MV Vacationland eventually did sell. At last report, Vacationland was being refitted for rock and sand transportation along the St. Lawrence River. The Abegweit was a reliable ship sold and scrapped far too young. It could have aged significantly better than the Holiday Island, and still been in service today.   





One thought on “A Scaled Back PEI Ferry Service

  1. I carried many of the same thoughts as you on this, however… as nice as the second Abby was, it was too big for this route. Also the service closes late December-May so the icebreaking capabilities were not needed. I’ve been on a few crossings from November thru December and your lucky to see 20 cars/trucks on it. Once peak season is done its mostly just for the truck companies and a few cars. Also the Vacationland was sold and started its transformation but that has been cancelled and now it is moored outside Quebec City in very rough shape, will probably never see it sail again.

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