Sunday, August 8, 2010

EP Road Trip #1: Melmerby Beach

The EP Road Trip is a new feature I decided to add to Terra Nova, since I recently just completed my first one. An EP Road Trip follows the same guidelines as an EP Bike Trip - longer than 50 km away from Halifax, with a specific goal in mind - except it is taken in a motorized vehicle containing two or more people (you won't find any single passenger car journeys here).

This first ever EP Road Trip was the result of a decision by some of the members of my church's young adults group to go to a beach on the Northumberland Shore. The Northumberland Strait is famous for having the warmest sea water in Canada.

We piled five people into a tiny compact Chevrolet (probably an Aveo), and headed up the Veterans Memorial Highway - Highway 102 - to Truro, where we turned east on to the Trans-Canada Highway 104, and continued on to Melmerby Beach Provincial Park. It's just past New Glasgow, on highway 289 if you're following along on Google Maps.

Despite the beautiful weather, this normally popular beach was relatively empty when we arrived. It started to fill up later in the afternoon though, and by the time we left it finally started to look like a real beach.

I was initially sceptical about the warmest water claim, because of my less than pleasurable experience in the ice-cold waters of Crystal Crescent Beach. However, true to its billing, the waters of the Northumberland Strait are exceptionally pleasant. Depending on which mini-current happened to be flowing past my legs at any given moment, the temperature of the water could even feel warmer than that of the air (especially with the breeze). I've had less pleasurable swims in indoor swimming pools, which are usually kept relatively cold for the competition swimmers.

While the water may be warm, it is also salty. Up until this day, my childhood beach swimming experience had been one of swimming in the fresh water lakes of Alberta exclusively. The salt-water of the ocean though is so disgusting, that when some of it splashed up into my mouth off of a wave, the taste nearly gave me an upset stomach. Don't worry though, I ate two large chocolate chip cookies, a samosa, two bananas, a peach, a bagel, a chicken sub, three peach muffins, and two large pieces of pizza to settle it down.

(I touched up this photo to look like something you might find in an old book of photographs of Nova Scotia.)

(Sand castle enjoying the sun.)

(Speaking of sand castles, how about this sand mountain I made with its own road that leads in to itself, via a moat that kind of looks like a road? It was my first attempt to make an M.C. Echer-esque structure. I think I may need some more practice.)

(Good view of a great beach. Is that Superman in the air over there...?)

(Oh, no, never mind, it's just a killer whale. My mistake.)

(It's always better to be safe than sorry, I agree, but I'm not too certain Melmerby Beach with its half-metre tall "waves" is going to see any surfers who need to be rescued any time soon. I suppose the life guard might use one of them as a floatation device on which to paddle out to a would be victim.)

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