As a child staying with my grandparents’ at their home in Maddox Cove, Newfoundland, I was aware of the sea. Granda earned his living from the sea. He was acutely aware of her tides, the moon phases and the weather. He could read the look of the water and sky. While I played at the beach, my child’s view of the sea was limited, though I loved the sound and smell of her.
Later in my life, I moved to central Newfoundland with my husband where we lived for over thirty years. I could not have been farther from the sea on that island. Now, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island we are near the sea again. However near is not the same as living on the shoreline. Our recent week at a beach house in Launching brought me back to those days in Maddox Cove.
In Launching, the tide controlled in which direction and how far one could walk on the beach. We were there leading up to the new moon, when the difference in water levels at high and low tide is the greatest. High tide meant the sea was mere centimeters from the base of the steps down to the beach.
Low tide allowed us to walk for kilometers and collect shells and seafood from the beach if we were so inclined. The beach expanded far into the bay and the water wasn’t very deep. We could collect scallops, dig for clams, such as soft shell and razor clams.
There are small crabs as well though too small for eating.
At low tide there are oysters along the beach but this area is leased to local fishers and it is illegal to collect oysters here. Along the shoreline, marker buoys are out of water at low tide.
This bay is separated from the Northumberland Strait by a sand spit.
The Northumberland Strait is beyond the grass in the center of the photo.
There is a river which empties into the bay to the north. The sound of waves crashing was absent, merely a gentle lap of water along the shoreline at high tide. The air was fresh and clean. The smell of the sea was noticeable along the shoreline.
We watched the ebb and flow of the water in anticipation of low and high tide. The six hour rhythm from tide to tide quickly became a part of life there.
I understand now Granda.