Posted yesterday at 11:30am.
The Magdalene, built in Ireland in 1981, has operated between Souris and Cap au Mule since 1997. After 24 years of service, the vessel was dismantled and replaced with a 2018 ferry purchased from Spanish shipping company Navira Armas. baptized in Magdalene IIIt reached the islands on March 23, 2021. Less polluting and less energy consuming, acquired by the federal government for CTMA, the Madelinien cooperative that has provided shipping service to the Magdalen Islands since 1944.
Madelinot’s crew went to get Magdalene II In the Canary Islands in the midst of a pandemic. The 30 crew members stayed there for weeks to check on him at the dry dock and tame him! The crossing of the Canary Islands to Cap-aux-Meules lasted 11 days, with a stop in Bermuda for supplies. This made it possible to test the boat out at sea, with waves up to 6 meters and winds up to 60 knots (111 km/h), and to ensure that the boat was “stable and efficient,” according to the ship’s captain in controls during delivery, Steve LeBlanc, Valmont Arsenault and Luc Leblanc.
“It’s a much easier boat to maneuver although it’s bigger,” says Captain Bernard Langford, who has been driving it for a year. But the basis is the same. We designed it before we bought it. We worked on a simulator in Quebec to learn how to fly it. »
The Magdalene II It can accommodate 300 vehicles and 1,500 passengers per crossing instead of 190 vehicles and 770 passengers Magdalene. With a length of 139 meters, it is 15 meters longer than Magdalene. It’s longer than its berth in Cap-aux-Meules! It is also stronger than Magdalene. The transit now takes less than five hours, although it takes longer to load vehicles and passengers due to the larger capacity.
The interior of the boat, which employs about sixty people, is decorated to the taste of the day. The spaces are bright thanks to the spacious windows. A mezzanine, on the upper floor, gives a great view through a large window. Four lounges, two in the front, two in the back, provide entertainment (with four programs broadcast on screens: sports, news, kids, and movies) or comfort in reclining seats.
There are 32 private cabins, each with a bathroom and 4 beds. You have to pay extra $40 per cabin. Two others, larger, are intended for people with reduced mobility.
Three dining areas are offered. Le Café, where you can sample local Madelinot products (smoked fish, lobsters, island cheese). The pub, which offers a ‘mini-menu on the go’. and the restaurant, which offers a daily menu with meat and fish, hot meals such as pork tenderloin with Pied-de-vent cheese sauce, seafood penne, or sandwiches and salads. An entertainment area for young children, with game units, and a corner for teenagers to enjoy their video games. There is a souvenir shop and kennel for the peaceful crossing of cats and dogs.
One improvement over the old ferry is to have access to four outer decks, instead of two, to enjoy the view stretching out from the deck chair or sip a drink at a table. “Last summer we had musicians on the terrace,” says Captain Langford.
We visited the wheelhouse and its navigation equipment. Everything is electronic: control of the two engines, fuel consumption (3000 liters per hour), propellers, rudder system, radars, graphs, an anemometer to measure wind speed. There is even a small statue of the Virgin Mary in the command post!
“She is the patroness of Spanish sailors,” says Captain Langford, pointing to cloves of garlic hanging from the ceiling on Spanish ships to bring good luck. Bernard Langford has been at CTMA since 1995. We feel he is very attached to his job, which is not his only profession. When he’s not sailing, he raises bulls in Havre or Maison! “Yes, I am also a farmer! He laughs.
If you want to take advantage of his sailing skills, know that in high season, departure from Souris is at 2 pm. That’s from Cap-aux-Meules at 8 a.m. We can not plan to take Magdalene II at the last minute. Either way, this is risky. The Ile de la Madeleine destination is still very popular this year. It is also out of season. At the end of last September, it was Magdalene II Received 600 passengers in one day. Next summer, many departing flights are already full. So remember to book your tickets as soon as possible…
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