For a lot of North Islanders the Labour Day weekend is the last chance to squeeze out the last drops of summer before the school year starts. Many people travel down-Island to camp or pick up the last of the school supplies; others head out to one of the great campsites on the North Island.
I was sick.
Well, not really— I was a little under the weather, but my better half was definitely battling a virus. That put me on throat lozenge, hot tea and bath-running duty. Evidently, I run a mean bath, since by Monday she was feeling a lot perkier, and just in time too.
We had friends, the Trillmichs from Germany, in Port Hardy on a whistle-stop visit. They had just came in on the ferry the night before and had just half the day before they had to hit the road. We decided to take Anne, Angelika and Andreas out to Thomas Point beach.
For those who haven’t been there, the beach is accessible from the Airport Inn parking lot via a trail. If I remember correctly there are a few options but just pick one and keep going downhill— that’s where they keep the water. There is also a graded road on your left as you approach the airport. There is a sign that says ‘authorized personnel only’, but airport staff tell me that the public are free to use it to access the beach.
The beach itself is rocky, with driftwood strewn along it, and comes with a pretty fantastic view. Of course, you are right beside the airport so the occasional plane taking off does remind you where you are. In fairness though, it’s hardly Heathrow, and seeing a plane appear over the treeline is actually a pretty neat sight.
With Storey’s Beach being so close, and with easier access and sand underfoot, it tends to get a lot more visitors. Which meant that we had the whole beach to ourselves. We took a leisurely stroll down the beach, sun shining, catching up with our German friends and snapping a few pics. I’m not sure how long we walked, but, if I had to guess, I would say that it was about as long as it would take for a German man to realize that the cold beer he was carrying was starting to get warm.
After a while, reminiscing and making future plans on our own private slice of coastline, we headed back to Hardy and to the Quarterdeck for a delicious spot of lunch, with the swaying masts as a backdrop. “I didn’t realize Port Hardy was so beautiful,” said Anne. “Last time we were here we just drove through and thought ‘meh’, but it’s really pretty here.” She’s right. North Islanders are spoiled. I can’t imagine anywhere else where, on a holiday weekend with the sun shining, you could drive for ten minutes and get to such a beautiful stretch of coastline and have it all to yourself.
“Glücklich,” as my German friends would say. Lucky indeed.