When people ask me why I live on the North Coast I usually boast about the mountains, ocean views and the endless outdoor fun you can have, but never have I thought to include a beach in that list.
Until this past weekend.
Before moving to Prince Rupert, I’d travelled on and off around the world. Much of that time was spent looking for the ideal beach. For my generation, Alex Garland’s The Beach, published in 1996, etched a permanent ink blot in many traveller’s mental to-do list.
Then Leo DiCaprio, as the protagonist Richard, made it come to life on the big screen and I was determined to find my own.
I remember my parents telling me after watching Hollywood’s rendition of The Beach that it reminded them of life in Tasu on Haida Gwaii in the early ‘80s. I’m not going to lie, when I found out I was moving to Prince Rupert, I hoped it had a similar vibe.
I heard a rumour a while ago that there is a sandy beach nearby — but like most treasures on the North Coast you have to work for it. With clear skies this past weekend, my partner and I decided to take the kayaks out to explore.
We started from the boat launch in Port Edward, paddled past the many ‘No LNG’ signs on Lelu Island, and waved to fish harvesters and sport anglers alike as they passed by. Harbour porpoises breached near our kayaks, and the water was so clear we could see the sea floor, or Flora Bank, all the way from Lelu to Kitson Island, where a recently cancelled LNG project planned to build a one-kilometre bridge.
After an hour of paddling, we found a sandy beach.
It was small, and still faced the industrial coastline of Ridley Island. But through a path to the other side we found paradise.
Too good to be true, we returned the next day for more beach and found other families there saying the same thing, that they had found paradise. For some, they had been there before but it had been years, too long. For others, it was their first time.
For me, it reminded me of why I live here. It’s the kind of paradise that isn’t necessarily where you go, but how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something — much like how Richard felt in the book.