Prince Edward Island has the friendliest and kindest people you’ll ever come across. At least, that’s what we experienced.
Not sure if it is caused by the red soil; the sea air or if it is just the way they are(I suspect it’s just the way they are), but darn it, the people of the Island are the friendliest group of folks you’d ever met.
Yup, they are…..
- friendly; accommodating; engaging
- humble and down to earth;
- they love the Island;
- they love to tell you about their PEI lifestyle;
- they love to tell you why they love the Island;
- they really love it if you ask questions about why they love their Island home;
- they really, really love to hear why you now have fallen in love with the Island;
- they treat you like a cousin coming for a visit
Over the past several weeks or so, this entry has changed and gone in more directions than one of our national political parties trying to win us over during a federal election.
My first go at it was simply a story about how we found a buoy washed up on the beach on Boughton Island and what boat it was from; it was good… but not terribly compelling or thought-provoking. Then it took the proverbial “fork in the road” of being all of the first bit, but also about Prince Edward Island having the friendliest people you will ever meet.
We’ve all gone on vacation and looked at buildings and seen spectacular scenery and felt that’s what our vacation was all about. For Lynn and myself though, the real memories are the people we’ve met who live and work there.
So, this last change I think is the best one, because it entails all of the above which lays the pathway to the real story; a story that takes us for a journey into the lives of people if only for a brief moment in time.
So, let’s set up a bit of background.
Our Charlottetown “walk on” tour guide Ian, was one of the friendliest guys we’ve ever met. Lynn refers to him as “my first PEI friend.” Now, if any of Lynn’s PEI online friends happen to be reading this, please do not take offence. There is more than enough love to go around.
I knew we were in the “land of the friendliest people on Earth” when we drove through a construction zone on our first day in PEI and the signal/flag gal working the sign “smiled and waved”; sort of like we were old friends as we crept by in our car. I swear, if we were going any slower I’m sure she would have asked us to stop by for lunch. ok… that may be an exaggeration. lol
This friendly vibe isn’t just in person, but on social media as well. It’s alive everywhere on the Island.
Lynn joined a Facebook group called “We Love Prince Edward Island” and boy, do they ever (love the Island I mean). She figured by joining up, that perhaps she might get a couple of questions answered about the Island or perhaps get some ideas of places that Islander’s like to “show off” to visitors.
And thus started the invitations. Most went something like this, “I see you’re thinking about going to see ……. My house is only about 7 minutes away let me know when you arrive… we’d love to meet you.” Some of the responses were, “I see you’re into photography, me too. If you’re in……… we should try to meet down by the harbour at dusk for some awesome sunset shots.”
Yup, a darn friendly bunch. Not to forget the ones we met in restaurants, on the street… or wherever.
So, what does this have to do with……..this?
In a previous post I mentioned that when I found this, I said to Lynn, “wouldn’t it be neat to find out which boat it came from.”
Lynn posted the above picture on the FB group she joined and it wasn’t long before she got back a response. The first response was sort of short and to the point, “It came from my Dad’s lobster fishing boat the “Now N Then.”
We actually needed to post it a second time, because, by the time I had gotten around to blogging about it, I had forgotten where it came from. So, Lynn reposted it again.
This time around, however, brought the kind of responses we all love to hear about.
Lynn made a connection with a young woman from the Island by the name of Krystle Fitzpatrick, who replied that the buoy came off a lobster boat called the “Now N Then” owned by her father Paul. That he fishes out of a small location called “Launching Harbour”, PEI.
Like a flash of lightning at night during a summer thunderstorm, it dawned on me that perhaps the buoy represented something else. Maybe the buoy was really a small window into a family from Prince Edward Island and the father who owns and works the lobster boat “Now N Then.”
After a couple of further exchanges back and forth between Lynn and Krystle, she thought it wonderful to share some information with us about her dad, fishing, her family and their life on the island.
You see, one thing that I’ve discovered over the years is regardless of where you travel in Canada or anywhere really, is that people are much the same as you and me.
So, Krystal, her dad and their family aren’t much different in many aspects than your family or any other family you would meet or know. A hardworking, devoted family who are deeply rooted in the area they live and the lifestyle it entails.
When Krystle was fishing with her dad the day after she saw Lynn’s Facebook post, she mentioned to him that some people had found buoy intact. He joked that “I’m surprised it’s intact, but I guess we’ll have to go a long way to get it back.
“The “Now N Then” is owned by a gentleman by the name of Paul Fitzpatrick. According to his daughter, he’s been fishing for over 45 years.
I don’t know much about commercial fishing in the Maritimes and PEI specifically, other than what I might of read at some point or seen on television. One thing I do know is that it can be a challenging profession from a number of perspectives though.
Maybe because of that, being a commercial fisherman is something that one just “has to do.” It is part of who you are; deeply embedded in the soul of your being.
Source: Krystle Fitzpatrick
Krystle’s father is a 2nd generation lobster fisherman. The fleet originally was owned by her grandfather and Paul eventually inherited it.
Paul hit the water, so to speak when he was 13 and became captain when he was around 16. He grew up on a farm that revolved around fishing and farming. In fact, after he married and settled down, that’s exactly the tradition he kept going….farming and fishing.
Paul and his wife have been married 25 years and have fished together all that time.
These days Krystle fishes with her dad and mum on the “Now N Then.”
In the family, there are 7 kids(4 girls, 3 boys)
Paul and his wife live in the original Fitzpatrick homestead in Woodville Mills which he inherited from his grandparents. When he isn’t on the water fishing, he does carpentry work along with a little hobby farming tending to his cattle and turkeys.
When I started to write this, I was envisioning a story that would be almost a “television special” in size and scope.
But what I ended up with was something far better. I got to find out a little bit about a family. A family who carries on the tradition of their grandparents. A family with ties to lobster fishing and the sea that go back a generation or two. A father for the best part of 45 years has gone out on a boat to do something he loves.
What drew me to the story beyond finding out more about the buoy, is that Paul, his life and his family are much the same as you and I. And in some weird way, there is comfort in that. I kind of get the sense that if they found out we were back to vacation on the Island, that the invite to come to visit and have coffee wouldn’t be far behind.
Going on vacation and seeing the sights of someplace new is always exciting. But, in reality, they’re just sights though. I think for us, part of the memories are the conversations and friendships we made with people from the island.
Yup, those people from PEI are a friendly bunch and lucky for us that they are. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t have met Ian or now Paul Fitzpatrick and his family.
Yup, someone I’ve never even met or talked too said, “come back and visit during lobster season and I’ll take you out for a day of lobster fishing on the “Now N Then.”
With an invitation for that kind of day, who could resist?
Thanks, Krystle for giving Lynn and I a little glimpse into the life of your dad and family. We appreciate your kindness and willingness to share.
Now, we just need to get the planning started to be in PEI next year during lobster season!