It takes just a little over half an hour to row from the Charlottetown waterfront to the remains of the ferry wharf at Rocky Point. The ferry service was the last of the three serving the town, crossing the three rivers giving access to the interior parts of the province and making it easy to get to Charlottetown. Ferries ran from Charlottetown to Southport across the Hillsborough, to York Point across the Yorke or North River and to Rocky Point across the West or Eliott. The first to disappear was the route to Southport which was no longer needed after the building of the Hillsborough rail bridge in 1903. The ferry to York Point was discontinued some years later but the Rocky Point Ferry was a regular route until the early 1960s when the West River Causeway was built providing access to those along the south shore. In winter the route ran across the harbour which was “bushed” to show the route. As late as the 1950s the winter ice road was part of the transportation system of the province.
The Google Earth view makes it seem as if the wharf could still be in operation but the view from sea level dispels the notion quickly and effectively. The road to the shore is still maintained and the shore next to the wharf provides an easy boat launch for the oyster rakers.
In recent years the pilings have become isolated from the shore and have been taken over by the flocks of cormorants which rest here on their excursions from the nesting area on Governor’s Island. The cormorants are easily spooked and it is difficult to get too close before they lift en masse. Judging from the noise made by Terns as I was rowing by some of the pilings may be used by the smaller birds for nest areas.
This is the second site for the wharf as it was originally slightly to the west of the current rows of pilings. The former wharf is shown on the charts and has a ghostly presence on the aerial view. The dredged channel is still evident and the pilings do offer some shelter for Canceaux Cove to the west and in summer it is frequently used as a picnic and swimming anchorage. Canceaux Cove and nearby Canceaux Point and Canceaux buoy are named for HMS Canceaux which was used by Capt. Samuel Holland in his survey of the Island of Saint John in 1764-1765. During the winter the ship was laid up in this cove.
Today the ferry slip where the Fairview II docked on a regular basis is nothing but a jumble of pilings and steel tie bars. The roadway has completely eroded and at high tide the pilings seem to stand alone. When the water recedes there is still some of the rock rubble which formed the roadway visible but the wharf is clearly beyond saving. Soon it will disappear completely as have the other wharves from the ferry service, visible only as rock piles at low tide and as images on charts and aerial photos.