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Wednesday 17 October 2007

Life's a Beach?

After having practically a heat wave at Thanksgiving the weather has since returned to more seasonal fall temperatures. This means we've broken down and are actually turning on the furnace - even during the day - not just in the evenings when we are being couch potatoes. That was when it hit me that summer really was over. What alarmed me about that though was that I hadn't been swimming even once! This is the first time in my life (and I'm no spring chicken) this has ever happened.
So what did happen? Why didn't I go swimming this year?
We hit the road shortly after summer arrived. Our first main stop was the historic old city of Quebec. It was hot. Really hot. A swim would have felt good after climbing all those hills and steps around the old city. Above right: Staircase at the Rue du Petit-Chaplain)
But where do you swim in this busy city on the edge of the St. Lawrence River? As you can see from this picture (left) I wasn't even bright enough to wear shorts all the time let alone something more appropriate for swimming. But diving off this dock with ferries and other boats nearby would not have been safe. And we were too busy touring the city, sampling the food, and shooting to look for public beaches or even a pool in our hotel. After Quebec City we headed off to New Brunswick's Kouchibouguac National Park. There we would take the boardwalk across the lagoon to Kelly's Beach and the dunes on the Barrier Islands in the Atlantic (below). Ron did go in swimming, but I found the wind too strong and cool for me to swim let alone to expose much skin and risk a sand blasting. From Kouch we moved on to Inverness, Nova Scotia. Yes, that's another beach on the Atlantic and we've even swam there before. But this time both the water and the air were still too cool for even Ron to swim, although we did have to wade across a small cold stream to get this picture below. Further North we would camp in Cape Breton Highlands National Park on a cliff overlooking a rugged beach like this one below: Still, it's not a good spot for a dip. Newfoundland being an island means it is of course surrounded by water. However it is in the North Atlantic, its beaches are mostly rugged, and although the weather is sometimes warm or even hot it is almost always windy. The thought of swimming didn't really cross our minds once we were beyond the lovely sand beach at J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park. Since photographing the Endangered piping plover is one of our pet projects (we are practically plover stalkers) we spent a day at the park checking the beach for nesting plovers. We didn't find any though, perhaps because we could barely open our eyes against the sand-blasting wind. If we had found some would we really want to take out a camera and big lens and risk giving it a sanding? Probably not. Later, when the wind finally died down enough to get this picture below it was much too chilly to even contemplate swimming. Besides when the light is good we are supposed to be shooting right? So we would photograph many rugged beaches in Newfoundland:
Right: Cape Ray, Newfoundland ->
Above and Below: Green Gardens, Gros Morne National Park, NL
<- class="750495913-17102007" span="">The Arches Provincial Park, Newfoundland Sometimes the problem wasn't just that the landscape was rugged, but that there were icebergs and bergy bits nearby. That would make any swimming more like a polar bear dip.
Below: Icebergs and bergy bits off the shore of Straitsview, near L'Anse aux Meadows, NL
In Labrador there were many potential beautiful swimming spots like these below:
Above & Below: Port Hope Simpson, Labrador, NL
Above: Near Cartwright, Labrador, NL
But they didn't entice us to swim because we were already wearing what Ron calls "Labrador Evening wear". (See image right)
But even if there hadn't been any bugs, to swim in water with icebergs like this one below:
would really require a nice layer of blubber like this minke whale below. On our way home we stopped along the Bay of Fundy to shoot the huge flocks of shorebirds that gather on the Bay's shores on their way south. I must admit taking a mud bath was tempting! But only Ron's sandals really got to test it out.
Once we were back in our home town there were still plenty of warm days when a swim would have been nice. We live near a nice looking long beach along the Scarborough Bluffs (below) and will occasionally even eat a picnic lunch there. But swim? No. Unfortunately out of the 10 Toronto beaches it is one of the two that still regularly close because of high bacterial counts. Perhaps the erosion of the clay bluffs cause silting into the water and is contributing to the problem.
I hear that the weather over the next few days is supposed to be around 20C, or "beach weather" as Ron would call it. So what do you think? Should I find a nice lake somewhere and take the plunge just to break this non-swimming record? I just might - but first let me go find my wet suit.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading about your non-swimming adventures, Lori. And Ron's photos are breathtakingly beautiful.

18 October 2007 at 07:59  
Blogger Beck said...

It was great seeing you tonight, Lori! And this was another beautiful post - wow.

18 October 2007 at 21:33  
Blogger WendyDarling said...

Absolutely breathtaking photos!!

22 October 2007 at 00:29  

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