Salt Water in my Blood

April 01, 2013  •  5 Comments

There is no location in Nova Scotia that is more than 56 KM from the ocean*.  The ocean is as important a part of Nova Scotia's culture as any one thing I can think of.  As important as the fiddle, a cup of tea, and the Acadian flag.

I could write a book about water and the ocean, not just a blog post - but I have decided to share just a few of my thoughts with you this month.

While I am tempted to write about the importance of conserving water, water as a life force for all living things, the lack of clean water in many countries, and my fear of my beloved Nova Scotia coastline being submerged under water because of global warming - this post is not about that.  I want to celebrate water, and its importance to the culture of Nova Scotia.  I celebrate the Atlantic Ocean as a beautiful landscape, a habitat for marine life, a place of recreation, and a place for Atlantic Canadians to make a living.

Nova Scotia is Canada's Ocean Playground.  It is home to the highest tides in the world.  The export value of fish in Nova Scotia is close to one billion dollars*.  Plus, as well as our beautiful Atlantic Ocean, there are over 5400 lakes in Nova Scotia*.  All of these things are worth celebrating.

I snapped this photo over the side of a boat during a whale watch tour off the coast of Brier Island. It is one of the photos in my collection that I find most calming.

I grew up a stone's throw from the ocean.  I have too many wonderful memories to count of being in a boat with my dad; fishing for mackerel, rowing in Charlos Cove Harbour, and enjoying day trips to nearby islands for beachcombing adventures.

I believe that my father had salt water in his blood.  I believe I do too. My father was born beside the ocean,played beside the ocean as a child, made a living on the ocean as an adult (working on oil carriers around the world and as a Merchant Marine during WWII). He spent his retirement enjoying every bit of life that is to be enjoyed beside the ocean, and I know he missed the ocean dearly when he wasn't able to look out the window and see it during the last months of his life.

Most of the above paragraph could be written about so many Nova Scotians.  I want to write this post in honour of each of them, in honour of my dad, and in honour of all men and women who currently make a living on the ocean.  I also want to write this post in honour of the 5 young fishermen who died on the Miss Alley this past February.  While watching the news coverage of their search, and then their memorials, those young men represented to me all the men and women who have lost their lives at sea; doing what they love and know best.  Doing what they need to do to provide for their families, and while doing so, contributing not only to an important aquaculture industry but to a culture of Maritime living.  While watching the news footage with a broken heart, I couldn't help but be thankful for my father's long and safe life.

The photo below was taken in my dad's beloved Charlos Cove, where after he passed away his ashes were scattered upon his wishes, to remain a part of the sea.

 

*Quoted statistics were sourced from the following sites: Wikipedia and Trade Team Nova Scotia


Comments

5.Clark MacKay(non-registered)
Amanda I really related to your thoughts and especially to the photo of the gentle waves, the one you said that you found so calming. It brought a special memory to my mind. While I was working as a site superintendent at a hotel on the Halifax waterfront, I happened to be walking along the concrete walkway one especially warm early summer morning. The sea had that undulating quality similar to the one in your photo and I was struck by the thought of how via this same water that was presently before me I was in turn connected to places near and far over the entire world. I do not know how to explain why this seemed so dramatic at the time but I felt at that moment this awesome feeling of connection to everything and everywhere else on the planet. Thank you for reviving that memory and keep the inspiring blogs coming.
4.Theresa Harris(non-registered)
Amanda, what wonderful thoughts you have. As I read your blog it reminded me of my childhood, going fishing with my Dad and then taking the row boat out for a row on a Sunday afternoon, often ending up on "The Island" looking for sea shells which had to be white. Dad would then turn them into various crafts, light houses, boxes for precious jewels, whatever took his fancy. These he sold to tourist traveling through the province (mostly at Sherbrooke Village). It past the winter months and kept him busy while Mom made her rugs, mittens and quilts. I miss looking out at the ocean and remembering those days, they seem so simple and stress free compared to life's challenges. Thank You reminding me of what we should never forget, no matter what happens!
3.Brenda Richard(non-registered)
Hi Amanda..Loved your blog....I deal with Alzheimer's on a day to day bases..it is sad ..very sad..to see someone have their physical ability and not their mental capacity...also love your pictures...I sure do love livining in Charlos Cove ..and waking up to the salt water/air!.. hope all is well ..
2.Darlene(non-registered)
Wow! When I was home this weekend, I got up and kneeled on the couch and stared at the sun coming up over the water. One of my favorite things to do when I go home :) This blog just put all the thoughts that go through my head when I do this in total prespective. There is no way of thinking about Dad without thinking about the ocean. Thanks, as emotional as it was to read,I loved it!
1.Anne Murphy(non-registered)
I needed my kleenex tissue for this post. I often have a deep yearning for the feel of the salt water spray on my face and the tangy scent of the water as you walk along a beach. I can't imagine anyone growing up beside the sea, and then moving away, not sharing this particular yearning. I am happy that you dedicated your blog post to the salt water that surrounds us. I would also like to express my sympathy to those who have lost loved ones as a result of the recent tradgedy. Gordie Sampson, a Nova Scotia songwriter has written a song, "Davey Jones" which I feel accurately describes both the lure of the sea, what it offers, but also the perils associated with making one's living from fishing. Thanks, Amanda- this afforded the opportunity for a good reflection this morning.
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