Le P’tit Gravier, shuttle boat to Île aux MarinsIf you arrived in Saint-Pierre on the ferry from Fortune, you saw a small island portside as you sailed into the harbor. You noticed its white church and several colorful houses and you decided, right there and then, to visit Île aux Marins!
As you prepared your trip, you read all the comments from other visitors and they all said the same thing: visiting Île aux Marins is a must! Yes, everyone agrees on that point!Good news! The island is easily accessible thanks to a small shuttle boat service and its very welcoming crew.
Ladies and Gentlemen let us introduce you to: Le P’tit Gravier, the boat that sails from Saint-Pierre to Île aux Marins, every day from May 15 to October 15. The boat leaves from a wharf in the center of town in Saint-Pierre, Place du Général de Gaulle in fact, right in front of the tourism information office.
The trip, a mere 10 minutes, is short, too short, even for those who do not particularly like being at sea. It offers a quick cruise through the harbor. Comfortably seated on the deck, you will enjoy the sun and the delightful view. Being on the water allows you to fully appreciate the sheltered position of the harbor, the main reason why our ancestors chose to settle here, in what used to be, long ago, a seasonal fishing station.
Keep your camera handy! As you leave Saint-Pierre, you will sail by the two brand new ferries, Suroît and Nordet, that sail to Fortune in Newfoundland and to Miquelon; then you will pass by the shore where French flags fly in the breeze. Next it will be Le Square Joffre, a public park worthy of a visit when you come back. Recently renovated, it is a nice quiet spot and smack in the middle of it is the memorial to all who perished at sea. A few seconds later, the red and white lighthouse of la Pointe aux Canons, the iconic landmark of Saint-Pierre will come in full view.If you are in luck, you may even pass by a Zigotos dory. The dory used to be the local traditional fishing boat (and the means of transportation to Île aux Marins!) Today a local group, Les Zigotos, have brought the dories back for rowing and fishing expeditions. Their activities are open to all, make sure to ask about it!
You have just left a few buoys and a jetty behind, and there right in front of you is Île aux Marins.
While Captain Filou and the crew bring the boat alongside the wharf, have a look at the crystal clear water: urchins, periwinkles and other shellfish are clearly visible on the ocean floor.
And then, you set foot on Pieds Rouges soil. Pieds Rouges (red feet) is the name given to the inhabitants of Île aux Marins, whether old timers or summer residents; for today… so are you!
Take your time discovering the island. Visit the museums, walk about enjoying the peace and quiet of the place. You will feel as if you have, for a while, stepped out of time. Take time to find out how the shuttle boat got her name. The special atmosphere of the island and the unspoiled ocean air will stay with you long after the boat brings you back to Saint-Pierre and, no doubt, to a scrumptious dinner.Practical information: