I am sure I am feeling the same way as most Canadians or people who live in the Northern Hemisphere, in a place where the inevitable white stuff is soon to grace us with its presence… where did the Summer go?
I feel like it was just warm enough to go into the ocean – scratch that, it was just warm enough to attempt to go into the ocean. It was a hot Summer this year, and we tried to get to the beach as much as we could, as most of you can relate – once it gets to a degree where wearing shorts or Summer dresses only adds a light layer of goosebumps, you stay outside as much as you can, you try really hard not to complain that it’s too hot when the humidex reach 40 degrees and above, because soon it will be 40 degrees below.
Both myself and my partner have never lived close to the ocean; where I spent most my life there is one or two lakes that everyone in the province migrates to on the super hot days or you go rafting down a river, which by the end of the Summer can be a wee bit infested. So the idea of being able to drive for 20 minutes in any direction and have a choice of bodies of water – not to mention the lake that is a 5 minute walk from our place, has been a very exciting concept. Like everywhere, everyone has a preference and a recommendation of beaches.
So as a newbie to Canada’s Ocean Playground, what have I learnt…
Rainbow Haven – Has a great size beach, but also in the Summer everyone from the HRM seems to make an appearance there. Whether it be because of the convenience, the fact that there are washrooms and change rooms, the gorgeous women or all of the above. It also seems to be a young beach, a great way to stay motivated to go to the gym, but also can cause mild anxiety when you need to take off your top layer and concealing your lovely mummy tummy or dad bod.
Conrads Beach – A favourite of ours, sure you might have to walk a KM or two because there is enough parking for five cars in the parking lot, and also you are peeing the bushes – but only in a certain area because there is a endangered species of bird that nests in the tall grasses. However once you get there, there always seems to be enough space for all the families to spread out – with all their things, the waves there are fantastic for body surfing, the water seems to heat up nicely throughout the day (again I remind you it is the Atlantic ocean), and for entertainment, it is a great place to watch the mating rituals of young millennials.
Lawrencetown Beach – Single ladies/gay men, I would recommend this beach or the smaller inlet between Conrads and Lawrencetown. It is full of windsurfers or surfer surfers, mostly men from what I could tell and while I don’t think it would be a great place for swimming because of the, well the wind and the waves (we also went on a chilly day), Cillian loved watching the action, as I am sure you would too.
On a side note, windsurfing does not get enough recognition for it’s difficulty – I say this purely from a spectators point of view, as I know that sport would be the death of me if I attempted it.
Crystal Crescent Beach – There are three beaches in the one area and each looks as though you are starring out in into the Mediterranean. The white sands, the crystal turquoise ocean, the French Summer exchange students with their figure flattering bathing suits, the rumour that the third beach is a la nu, and then you go in and it’s is mother friggin cold! The beach itself is great for when you have a wee human because you can walk in – there isn’t a big drop-off and no rocky bottom, however the temperature means no wee person can go in for long. You yourself either grow a pair and just dive in or admire it from afar because walking in is pure torture, but as all Canadians say – once you’re in it’s not that bad… because you have gone numb and may have the beginning stages of frost bite.
Queenstown – We only did a quick stop by here after a recommended hike, which meant we had to cut through hillbilly country to get to the beach. Driving wise it is close to the HRM, but it is one of the smaller beaches and unfortunately this year was closed for part of the Summer due to storm damage and then bacteria. The cottages and area around it are beautiful to walk through – we discovered this when we needed to find an alternate route to get back to our car, after deciding we didn’t need to reenact our version of The Hills Have Eyes by trying to get back on the original hiking trail.
Martinique Beach – This beach is the last that we made it to this year and only went once, it is the furthest away and it took a whole hour to get there, however the last 15 minutes of the drive is absolutely stunning. It makes you question your life choices, how you can live this far out and somehow make a living. There are two beaches, a smaller one which seems to be where the surfers tend to go and a larger one for swimming. Like Conrads beach the body surfing is amazing, like Crystal Crescent its doesn’t have a drop-off or a rocky bottom. Whether it was the time of year we went or the location of the beach, the water was extremely warm. You don’t get that initial shock as each new portion of your torso submerges, you know the one where you lose your breath and are in pain at the same time. It took all Summer but I managed to go for a swim and put my head under. The parking seems a bit chaotic, although we did get rockstar parking that day and be aware you are not alone, you are sharing the parking space with blood sucking creatures.
As we made peace with the fact that this might be the last of the ocean dips until next Summer – although my partner is convinced he is going to do the Polar Bear swim this Winter, we have already started a list of beaches we didn’t manage to get to. While I am going to miss our weekend excursions and Cillian who thankfully loves the ocean might go into splish splash withdrawal, I am more than happy to not have to lug a sun tent (we weren’t sure if Cillian took after his Irish roots or his tanned roots), two bags – one for clothes & towels and one for food, beach toys, a blanket, and a toddler. I am also excited to not find random sand in our apartment – it doesn’t matter how many times you clean it, that stuff gets everywhere and at this rate I might find the last of it before next beach season.