Wednesday, September 7, 2011

 

ISLAND OF THE ADVENTURE

Given the number of idled and idling shipyards and boat building enterprises along the eastern Canadian shore, one might pause to ponder why a previous Government of New Brunswick chose a Florida company to build its car ferry to the Island of Grand Manan.

Lest I digress; President Barack Obama's summer tour of several midwestern American jurisdictions was virtually derailed because he chose to travel in a state-of-the-art private coach manufactured in Quebec.

As for the Florida manufactured 400 passenger / 82 car, sixty-eight million dollar ferry "Grand Manan Adventure": No one doubts that it too is a state-of-the-art vessel. In fact it's precisely its onboard technology which has kept it tied-up at port for much of its short life. The ship was already several months behind schedule when it was delivered in August (Because it failed initial sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico) and it had operated for just 3 days before the bow thrusters failed on August 15.

The "Grand Manan Adventure" is going back into dry-dock in Florida later this week.

All of the hoopla surrounding the misadventures of the "Adventure" has
eclipsed what should have been a record setting tourism season for this island community sandwiched in the Bay of Fundy between the United-States and Canada. The "Bay of Fundy" itself is on the short list of finalists for the 21st Century's choice of the "Seven-Wonders of the Modern World" which will be announced early next year.

And...the well read international magazine "Reader's Digest" surprised islanders this past spring by naming Grand Manan third in its list of "World's Seven Best Small Islands."
(Ferry Dock / Not exactly as shown)

Grand Manan has long been known for its picturesque cliff faces, postcard perfect lighthouses, fresh seafoods and quaint villages. In the "Reader's Digest" poll it was ranked behind Santorini (Greece), and Key West, Florida. The locals, surely along with New Brunswick tourism officials, had hoped that having the island community on the international radar of the magazine's readers could enhance the economic outlook for the area, including much of southwestern mainland New Brunwick.

In nearby St. Andrews-By-The-Sea, the future of the Algonquin Hotel, since 1889 the historic mainstay of the once thriving resort community, is unclear as its operator, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, has told the government that it's pulling-out in December.

While it's good to have others recognize what a terrific destination the Fundy Coast of New Brunswick really is...if travellers can hardly get there; they are most likely to choose more hospital destinations.

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